Time to take a slower lane?

From the September 2012 edition of Agriculture Today: Beyond the kitchen table – A Column by Sonia Muir, Rural Women’s Network

Do you feel like life is out of control or you’re biting off more than you can chew?

I recently read we should aim to spend eight hours a day working on something that makes us proud, eight to play with those who bring meaning to our lives and eight to rest and rejuvenate.

Nice goal but who has enough time to play eight hours, let alone sleep?

Well, we have the same amount of time as the neighbour and the Queen… it is just a matter of how you choose to use it.

Anyone struggling to meet housing and caring or family responsibilities may be forced to work longer hours but for most of us it is a matter of rethinking priorities.

Hugh Mackay’s wonderful recent essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Time is there for the taking” described the commonly heard term “time poor” – our lives get out of control when we bite off more than we can chew.

He reminded us there are just as many minutes in an hour as there always were, as many hours in a day, as many days in a week and that people actually choose – as they always have – how to use the time available to them.

It started me musing.

In September I drove 20 hours to and from St George in south west Queensland to the Qld Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s conference.

A long drive but I decided to embrace the time by listening to two fabulous talking books from the local library and caught up with friends Rebel and Michael for a slow cooked chicken dinner in Lightning Ridge.

In St George I met some amazing rural women, one who drove 400 kilometres to be there, half of it over dirt on which she passed no other vehicles and had no mobile coverage.

It was a big trip for so many of us but after a weekend of inspiration, learning and insight I know we found it time well spent.

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the faster time seems to go.

Another change to the way we approach time is through technology.

How many families sit in front of TV to have dinner while catching up on Twitter or Facebook?

Hugh Mackay talks about a growing elastic concept of time where we try to cram more into our days, especially with access to the unsleeping internet.

Hands up who doesn’t have a smart phone, tablet or computer?

Some people stay linked in every waking minute.

Some teenagers even sleep with their mobile under their pillow.

Are we becoming slaves to our toys, trying to fill every minute of time?

I challenge you to go a day or even a week without your toy and see what happens.

You may find you can gain some time back and move into the slow lane to reflect and take time out.

I recall saying in my August column that social media platforms are providing a very democratic and dynamic way for people with like interests to have meaningful global conversations like never before… so in relation to time it’s really a question of balance.

“The length of our lives might vary, but, for as long as we are here, time is the one and only thing we are all given in identical daily allowances,” is Hugh Mackay’s reminder.

About nswrwn

NSW Rural Women’s Network is a government program working in innovative ways to promote leadership and action on rural women’s issues. The RWN team is dedicated to connecting and exchanging information with women and stakeholders in rural, regional and remote communities.
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