Limited Time and Beauty Everywhere

Today

I was asked for one thing that brought me pleasure today. Without hesitation I proclaimed, “the beauty of autumn leaves.” If memory is reliable I don’t recall so much colour  at this time of year. Each morning this week I walked the same loop in my neighbourhood and was deliriously overjoyed with what I saw. Because the time is getting short to enjoy this beauty, I chose to make it my priority even if it meant being late for other things.  I also knew that I couldn’t count on those leaves being there tomorrow. And the other things would get done.

The seasons are now a priority for me because I can realistically see that the number I have left are shrinking. So, I blame (credit) Oliver Burkeman for neglecting my “work” and getting outdoors.

Here is an excerpt from his book, which inspired me:

“…(in speaking about purchasing something) if something feels like a priority now, it’s virtually impossible to coolly assess whether it will still feel that way in a week or a month. And so we naturally err on the side of spending—then feel bad later when there’s nothing left over to save.

The same logic…applies to time. If you try to find time for your most valued activities by first dealing with all the other important demands on your time, in the hope that there’ll be some left over at the end, you’ll be disappointed. So if a certain activity really matters to you—a creative project, say, though it could just as easily be nurturing a relationship, or activism in the service of some cause—the only way to be sure it will happen is to do some of it today, no matter how little, and no matter how many other genuinely big rocks may be begging for your attention.

After years of trying and failing to make time for her illustration work, by taming her to-do list and shuffling her schedule, Jessica Abel saw that her only viable option was to claim time instead—to just start drawing, for an hour or two, every day, and to accept the consequences, even if those included neglecting other activities she sincerely valued. ‘If you don’t save a bit of your time for you, now, out of every week,’ as she puts it, ‘there is no moment in the future when you’ll magically be done with everything and have loads of free time.’

This is the same insight embodied in two venerable pieces of time management advice: to work on your most important project for the first hour of each day, and to protect your time by scheduling “meetings” with yourself, marking them in your calendar so that other commitments can’t intrude. Thinking in terms of “paying yourself first” transforms these one-off tips into a philosophy of life, at the core of which lies this simple insight: if you plan to spend some of your four thousand weeks doing what matters most to you, then at some point you’re just going to have to start doing it.”

Priorities

And that is exactly what I started on Nov 1st. Walking every morning and appreciating the beauty in my neighbourhood is a priority. There is never  time left over.

What is a priority of yours that you don’t make time for? When once again I made a realistic and heartfelt plan of my priorities I also discovered that I have more to do than can be done. This becomes a form of radical acceptance where I realized I can’t possibly do everything I want to do. So what more needs to come off my list? And along with that is the simple truth that there will be  things left over at my departure. As I look at the bookcase facing my computer I see the many books that will be unread. Yet, I will always have too many books. This is part of my blueprint.

And the challenge of picking and choosing may be something like “is it as important as my books? Or, is it as important as being outside enjoying the beauty of nature and moving my body? Is it as important as being with my friends and family?”  Priorities change as we live a long time. Our awareness of time changes. Creative endeavors loom much larger in my life now than they did 20 years ago. I am so curious about this end zone. And I want to make time for it.

I also want to show you a few photos of my walk this morning, in gratitude for the pleasure they gave me. It is the variety that takes my breath away, on a morning in November in the Glebe.

Notes

And I am grateful to all of you who stop by here each week. It feels a bit like a conversation  with kind and delayed responses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 replies
  1. Jean
    Jean says:

    I am working on it,my friend, not too successful this week but i am thinking of accepting consequences ,maybe i will get it begore 4,100 weeks.🤗or very soon….

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Good luck Jean. We can all use a little of that. Wishing you a day where you take the time for one of those special things you want to do.

      Reply
  2. Pat Scanlan
    Pat Scanlan says:

    Trudy, as I age I am finding that the universe is gifting me in very unexpected and wonderful ways. Finding Forest Bathing and then our group of wonderful people has been heart and soul filling not to mention mind expanding. I feel like your writing today was written directly to me – exactly what I needed to hear.
    Almost like getting permission to do what I want to do first. So easy to have that to do list which seems to take priority of sitting and writing a poem or doing some art project. My time is limited – all our time is limited and it is so important to put self and happiness and joy first. The dust will wait patiently; when I think of all the particles of wondrous people passed I believe they need a nice resting spot for a bit.
    Thank you Trudy. I am so happy you are here in my life. Pat

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Pat for this thoughtful comment.I appreciate hearing your thoughts. I know you are new to my blog and it was kind of you to subscribe. PS I did write it just for you. haha

      Reply
  3. Judy Bernstein
    Judy Bernstein says:

    Perfect. Such gorgeous photos. I am constantly, even now, when I am totally in charge of my time, doing my shoulds before my wants. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Good morning Judy. It’s crazy isn’t it. We are programmed to be “productive.” That’s ok as long as we know that what is “productive” changes over the years.Sometimes it is a long, slow stroll through the last days of beautiful trees. Hope you enjoy all that beauty today. Warmly, trudy

      Reply
  4. Wendy Kurchak
    Wendy Kurchak says:

    Dear Trudy,
    I wonder how many seasons I myself have left? And I wonder, still, what are my priorities and the things that bring me joy?

    I am taking to heart the advice not to put off the things that bring me happiness until the drudgery is completed.

    I enjoy mopping the floor, I detest vacuuming…so I will mop, and leave the vacuuming the small area rugs until I’m going to have company over…in the rest of the hours
    I’m going to draw, paint, read fiction, enjoy others’ brilliant poetry, and do Forest Bathing.

    This is my plan for my seasons,weeks, and days left.
    Developing my end game, for however long I have…scary, sad ,but exciting too.
    Thanks for sharing your glorious photos!
    Warmly
    Wendy

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Good morning Wendy. Thank you for your reflection. It is inspiring to us all and I love your new plan! Enjoy every moment of it. Best wishes, Trudy

      Reply
  5. Janice
    Janice says:

    What an inspiration you are dear Trudy, such truth and such beauty. Thank you for sharing your precious trees with me. Time to go for a walk now 🙂 xoxox

    Reply
  6. Carol Ingells
    Carol Ingells says:

    Hello, Trudy dear. Thank you for this blog. I especially appreciate the lovely photographs. Because of not walking well, my freedom is very limited, though at times Robert and I drive to a beautiful spot and walk around. As I’m sure you know, there is a great deal of beauty here in NM, though not the kind I’m used to. Unlike you and unlike my earlier days, I have very little calling to me, so my challenge is to get motivated in these precious days. Thanks for your inspiration!
    Love,
    Carol

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Carol. I suggest you recall some things that you loved doing when you were a kid. Or things you wished you could do when you were too, too busy and had no time. And I see you as a writer. You have many important things to say. Why not pick up your pen. Big hugs and encouragement to you. Trudy

      Reply
  7. gottfried
    gottfried says:

    Well, Trudy, you did it again! But besides this truly important wisdom message, your art photography is exquisite, thank you for both!
    G

    Reply
  8. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    Hello

    My first time here. I see your name on FB when Gregg Krech posts and I’ve been meaning to google you. Was reading this in bed last night and my kindle is hard to navigate and was unable to comment, I’m at the desktop . Your photos are wonderful and I am grateful for your post.
    Most important project for the first hour of each day, would be me. I meditate as soon as my feet hit the floor then write an intention followed by a gratitude.

    Looking forward to your next post.
    K~

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Kathryn: thanks so much for this lovely surprise. Welcome to my weekly blog. I appreciate your thoughtful words and your first hour sounds perfect. Richard Leider, a pioneer in the purpose movement (I only recently learned there is such a thing) calls his first hour the “golden hour.” And he reserves it for himself, to do a variation of what you do. With appreciation and best wishes, Trudy

      Reply
  9. yoshie
    yoshie says:

    I enjoy gorgeous autumn colors. Beautiful! I cannot wait to see how leaves and mountains will be in several days here. You pick important truth from many things and share it with us. I appreciate very much. In order to do my wants I should do my shoulds, dusting off and tidying up at the same time. I am coming near to my mid-night, but still I will live fully and enjoy. Yoshie

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you for your kind comment dear Yoshie. Make sure you take time for your important “wants.” Those beautiful leaves won’t wait for you. You may need to abandon your dusting in the next few days in order to enjoy the beauty of nature.Truth is, I saw not a spec of dust when I was in Japan. You are an inspiration to me. Many thanks, Trudy

      Reply
  10. Pat Fream
    Pat Fream says:

    This is such a wise and perfectly-timed insight Trudy. I have a lifelong habit of getting the chores out of the way first – a feeling of needing to earn my delights. With your enlightened nudge, I will reframe this. Thank you! And your fall photos are simply divine!

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Pat. It is my experience that my obligations will get done. What doesn’t get done because there is no time left over are the other delightful personal challenges and dreams like learning to draw, or strum the guitar or a myriad of personal tugs to try this or that. May you take all the time you need to follow your heart. Warmest wishes always, trudy

      Reply

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