Sewing Meditations, Week 6: Time

Before I get started on this week’s meditation I thought I should just mention  – I promise I do still sew!! In fact, I have been in such a sewing frenzy this past week or two that I haven’t wanted to stop to photograph or blog my projects. But, today I did a BIG photoshoot of several finished garments, so be on the lookout for several new project posts in the next few days! So sorry it’s been so long!

And now on to my thoughts for this week. In my previous meditation posts, I’ve talked a lot about different types of resources. Fabric is an obvious resource, and even our bodies can be thought of as another resource – both need good stewardship to be used and enjoyed wisely. Today, I want to focus on a third type of resource – time.

Time is such a funny thing – when we don’t have any to spare, we hoard every unscheduled moment we get, and then when we have ample time to spare, we end up wasting it. The past eight or so months have been especially revealing to me about how I value and use my time, so I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned.

As many of you know, this summer I moved from Boston, where I had a full-time job that kept me intensely busy to San Francisco, where I’ve been piecing together part-time work and generally find myself with a lot of time on my hands. Ever since my senior year of college, I’ve managed to keep myself in an almost constant state of overworked busy-ness – the year after grad school I had seven jobs! – so this sudden shift was quite a shock to my system. I had gotten so used to packing every spare moment with as many activities as possible that this sudden influx of free time left me feeling useless and worthless. The fact that I was no longer running around like crazy doing a zillion things made me feel somehow less important, and I felt horribly guilty about having so much time, especially when I have many close friends who still need several jobs just to get by.

I talked in previous posts about addictions, and I think that I was addicted to being busy and overworked. And I think a lot of us are. We value ourselves by what we produce or how hard we work, forgetting that we have value simply by being us. I have lived a lot of my life with the curious notion that I could somehow “earn” love through what I do, and that people who are extremely proficient at a skill or that possess an unusual amount of natural talented are somehow “worth more” as people. When you put it down on paper like that it sounds crazy, but I have a feeling I’m not the only person who thinks that way. I’ve seen a lot of articles floating around the internet about addictions to being busy or overscheduled, so I must not be the only one!

And this addiction to busy-ness has certainly affected my sewing in a big way. Last year, when I was “addicted to sewing”, I also derived a lot of my feeling of self-worth from the fact that I was over-working myself. I had to keep producing in a feverish frenzy to feel good about myself. This year, my life is much more in balance, and so even though I have the time, I sew fewer things. Now that time is not such a treasured commodity, I’m not desperate for every spare morsel of it. I have finally found time to breathe. I know that this will probably not last forever – I will probably have jobs (or children!) in the future that keep me very busy – but for now, I am learning to enjoy my time, and discover that I can be loved for who I am, and not what I do.

How about you? How do you balance your time? Do you have a demanding full-time job? If so, what do you do to stay mentally and emotionally healthy? Have you ever been addicted to busy-ness?

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2 thoughts on “Sewing Meditations, Week 6: Time

  1. Balancing time (and energy, that’s an even more important one for me!) stays difficult. One thing that did help me was a decision almost 2 year ago to only work 4 days a week instead of 5. I lost some income but it made my life much better because I suddenly had an extra day to do things that make me happy. I really do love my job, but I found out that I can lose that love when all I do is work. I need time to do other stuff, like sewing, reading books, meeting friends and sometimes simply doing nothing. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to working 5 days a week.

  2. Wow, 7 jobs? And I thought I was crazy during the years where I had 3 part-time jobs at the same time! The time-balancing act is something I’m currently working on myself, as I’m transitioning from the mindset of multiple part-time jobs to just teaching my music lessons and otherwise staying home. I’ve been staying busy, since I’m using the extra time I have now from not picking up my seasonal retail job to prepare for the baby we’re due to have in June, but it’s also very easy for me to waste a lot of time, and then I feel guilty about the things I didn’t get done. I feel most accomplished on the days when I get at least one task done in every main category in my head (practicing music, cleaning/house stuff, creative hobby, allowing myself down time), but I’m not sure how that will work once I have to add “survival of tiny human” to the mix. It’ll be an interesting experiment for sure.

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