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Time Isn’t Money. It’s Much More.

So, as promised, today’s a two-for-one day! Before I dive into the second topic, I want to say a bit about why I decided to join the challenge in the first place. It actually wasn’t a complicated decision; I saw something about it on Instagram, thought to myself ‘that would be cool’, and signed up. It was one of the simpler decisions I’ve made in the past week, and I’m glad to be a part of something that gets my creative juices flowing.

So, without further ado, the second topic of the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words is: Share about a resource/s you have or use

As your typical American Millennial from a middle-class suburb, I got lucky. I had the right opportunities at the right times with the right passport and ended up in the right places. To say I didn’t work hard for all I have in my life would be a discredit to all the elbow grease I put in over the years, but I certainly didn’t have to work as hard as others to get where I am. But the resource that I’ve come to see as my most valuable is something that everyone technically has the same of, though it seems the poor have more and the rich have less.

That resource is time.

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As a kid I had a bedtime, a time to start school, a time to be home before mom came looking for me (which you did not want). I spent time with my friends, time on the computer, time daydreaming about N*SYNC, and time with family. As I grew older I split my time between high school and a part time job, hanging out with friends, and shopping. College saw time disappear and suddenly I couldn’t consume enough iced coffee from Creekside Cafe and even the all-nighters I spent writing 10-page papers didn’t seem to be long enough. And, as if time couldn’t go any faster, I was starting out at the sea of parents and friends as I waltzed across the stage to collect my diploma. And then, well, then I’m not sure what happened, but 24 hours just didn’t seem like enough to have the kind of life I wanted.

Work. Home. Family. Friends. Bed. Repeat. I couldn’t stay out too late on weekdays, I could never wake up as early as my alarm clock implored, the weekends seemed to pass in three breaths, and somehow Decembers and Junes were speeding by. My friends were getting married, I was getting married, and then I found myself pregnant, and knew it was time to slow down.

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The funny thing about having kids is that you have the perfect idea of how to do absolutely everything. And then the baby comes and somehow all your perfect ideas turn into theories that never quite work out as planned. I was in over my head, and time seemed to stop. Feed, burp, sleep, change, play, repeat. You’d think it would fly by all too quickly, but somehow in the moment, it felt like a lifetime. I wasn’t sure the first 2 weeks were going to ever pass, let alone the 8 month mark, which is when everyone told me it got better. I spent countless hours in the room, door closed, hoping nobody wanted to hold the baby, because I couldn’t let anyone hold the baby, crying, rocking, feeding, sleeping.

Of course, if you’ve been down the dark road of Postpartum Depression, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It may not have looked the same, but it all feels the same; cold, lonely, and never ending. Instasize_0928135723.jpg

When I decided to quit my teaching job to stay at home with the baby, I knew that there would be days when my world was so small – 25 pounds and 29 inches small – but what I didn’t expect were all the moments that would take my breath away, and make me so happy to have all 24 hours to spend with my son. By quitting my job I gave myself the gift of time with this tiny human, and I haven’t missed out on a single moment. All the first babbles and movements, the crawls and the steps, the problem solving and the cat attacking; I’ve been here for it all. Sometimes when I think about the future, about Adam going off to school, I stop to hold him close just a few seconds longer, or smell his head just a few more times, because I know one day time will speed up again, and I’ll miss these moments where he and I are suspended in the giddiness of our own little world.

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Time is our most valuable resource because no matter how much money or fame we acquire, we can never get more of it. It’s something that we need to invest wisely because time well spent can mean the difference between a good life and a great life, and more time with loved ones is never guaranteed.

Check me out on Instagram @mama.fil

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Treasure yo’self

So I signed up for this awesome writing challenge, and totally got behind yesterday, as usual when hubby’s home and we fill our day with billions of things before the weekend is over. Anyway, here’s the first post, and lucky you! You’ll be getting another one in just a bit 🙂

Write Tribe Festival of Words #6, Day One: Write about a treasure you have

Treasure: noun, a very valuable object.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop. Online, in-store, catalogue, outlets, malls, boutiques, you name it. If there’s an establishment that sells items, I’m there. And – like most people pre-marriage and pre-kids – I’ve spent an (un)fair share of my time shopping til I drop.

Those who know me also know that I love to travel. Making up my mind to spend the weekend in Istanbul or Amsterdam on a Thursday used to be normal for me. The places I’ve been able to see, the adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve met are all memories that will last a lifetime.

Knowing these two things, many people would guess that the treasure I would write about would be a killer purse, or my favorite shoes, or the passport that’s gotten me into so many countries, While I treasure all of those things, there is something far more valuable to me than anything I could ever own. It’s something I lived a long time without, something I didn’t think existed for many people, and something I had resigned myself to not having, yet still chased relentlessly.

That something is happiness. I know, I know, how cliche. But, it cliches did become so for a reason, and that reason is usually because they stand as true.

For many years, I believed happiness to be something that was just around the corner, waiting, watching, lurking, dancing around with the word IF. If I just did something that made my dad proud, if I just turned in an awesome assignment that impressed my teacher, if I just made friends with the popular group in school, if I just played it cool and made it seem like I didn’t care too much, if I could just wait a little bit longer so the situation could get better, then I would be happy. I thought it took work, sacrifice, patience, willpower. And I thought that if I could just distract myself from the reality of now – like with shopping and traveling – I would be able to ride the wave of despair until I arrived at the shore of happiness.

Except, the shore never came. I was neck-deep in the water, drowning, looking for a way out, any tiny sliver of land that didn’t seem to exist.

I wasn’t wrong about what it took to achieve happiness, I just wasn’t applying those tools in the right context. I didn’t like my life, I didn’t like the circumstances, and I didn’t want to wait to anymore. I decided that to blow things up by choice would be better than to allow life to pass me by and be unhappy with the outcome. At least if I was making any decision – even the wrong ones – I would have the opportunity to be unhappy by choice, my choice. And so I did. And the weirdest thing happened. The unintended consequence of shaking up my world was that I became happy.

Once I couldn’t blame anyone and anything else for my situation, I had to work that much harder to live with my choices. I chose to wake up in a foreign country, teach, travel, meet new people, and make decisions that I had to live with. Once the reality was my own, something that I had created, I couldn’t escape it anymore, but I didn’t want to either.

As humans we all fall into the trap of letting be what already is; we are naturally disinclined to change, and appreciate the status quo, even when it doesn’t serve us, because it’s comfortable, and who likes to be uncomfortable? Comfort is safe and warm, and can wrap you up in its steadiness, but comfort doesn’t necessary equal happy, and if you’re not making moves to make sure that you’re living a happy life, then what are you doing? We believe ourselves to be stuck in situations because of obligations – financial, familial, career – but often times, if we really sit with ourselves and strip away the excuses, there’s no reason for us to continue down a path that makes us miserable. If you value money, accolades, material things, expensive trips, you will always be stuck in a cycle trying to maintain those things, sometimes even at the expense of your personal relationships, and almost always at the expense of your happiness.

For now happiness is something that I feel every day, even if only in glimpses. In my son’s smile, in the way the cat curls up into my lap and purrs, in my 10th cup of coffee (kiddingggggg) (kind of), in the way my husband relaxes when he walks through the door at night. And, while I don’t carry all the details in my mind of those long days without it, I will always remember what it felt like to yearn for something that seemed to be so abundant in the world, yet so absent in my life. So, with that, I treasure each moment of happiness I feel, no matter how small, and I seek to make choices that lead me down the path of finding more each day.

Do something today that will make happy even tomorrow, something that your future self will be proud of.