The Difference is Time

Image By cogdogblog – Alan Levine

School started a while ago without me and I have had a lot of people ask me what the biggest difference between teaching/working and what I am doing now and I simply say “TIME.”

I think that the following quote by J.R.R. Tolkien says it better than I ever could.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

I have put this quote in my “Think About It” block that is above all of my posts, to remind me whenever I look at my blog that it is up to me to decide what to do with the time that is given to me and hopefully that it causes you who read this blog to stop and reflect for a moment about how you decide to use your time.

Are there limits to what we may choose to do with our time – of course there are. Society restricts some choices and our ability to pay sets other limits that are just as real or more real than societies’ rules, but within those limits, we have a great deal of freedom to decide what we will do with our time or even change what we do with our time. I have found that you can do more with your time than you realize, if and when you decide to make changes.

Back in June I decided after months of smaller decisions, not to return to teaching in the public school this year.  I wanted to explore life beyond the protective bubble of of being employed and having my time under other’s control for the most part. I needed to slow my life down, look at things from a different perspective and to be in more control of the time that has been given me.

Has my perspective changed? Yes, I no longer consider time my enemy, before there was never enough to do everything that I wanted or needed to get done in my life between personal and employment needs. Now that is much less a problem, I have time to focus on things that I want to do or learn and have the time to try new things or simply sit and think, instead of always trying to do more at a faster and faster pace with more real or artificial pressure on me.

Looking back even from this short amount of time, I can see the frentic pace of my life over the past several years and the toll it was taking upon me. I was was trying to pack an extra 20-30 hours of work into a 40 hour work week, almost every week school was in session and put in a regular week on most so-called school breaks, my supposed vacations, instead of relaxing and enjoying the time-off. I can see with 20/20 hindsight that working at that pace and to meet those artificial expectations, was working myself towards an early grave and causing health problems that were the result of the stress that was put upon us or that we put upon ourselves. I am not very different from many of you am I?

The reality is that I am starting to decide what I will do with the time that I have been given. Yes, there are still external pressures on how I use my time, but they are much less than before and I have the ability to chose how much those external pressures affect me for the most part.

In the end the choice to have more control of my time, became more important than the money that I was earning for that time. The ability to decide how to use my time is resulting in my health improving, actually slowing down and living more simply and I am finally starting to do things that I never had time for in the past. All good things.

So to me the biggest difference between the life that I am beginning to enjoy now and the one I led prior to June is TIME, there may be several other things involved i.e. stress, money, working with others and the gamut that being a teacher/worker involves, but when it comes down to it, life is about time and how you decide to use it.

How will you decide to use the time you have been given?

Think about it, I did.