Reflections on Death and Life

Recently I read an article about the importance of “me” time in everyone’s life. I also read an article about the importance of silence. I’ve been doing a lot of heavy thinking lately. I had a friend die suddenly about two weeks ago, and let’s face it when shocking events take place in our life it makes us look more closely at how we’re living.

I had a conversation with a co-worker at work about how I like to lock myself in the bathroom, take a bath, and read a book. This co-worker could not believe it, and it became the butt of all her jokes in regards to me. She’s probably reading this blog right now. But it griped me. Not because I don’t think I deserve the me-time (I do, and so do you), but because there is this perception in the United States that people don’t need, don’t deserve, or simply don’t have time for me-time. Well, this my friend, is a mistake, or even a travesty. Everyone needs alone time. Everyone needs me time. Everyone needs time to recharge. It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mother of three like me, a single parent, a non-parent, a man or woman. It’s simply a biological necessity. It’s as essential to humans as touch and love, but it’s something that we do not make time for in our chaotic world.

We’re constantly bombarded by information: cell phones, people, activities, kids. And because of that, sometimes we forget that we are connected human beings. When we feel overwhelmed or tired the best thing we can do for ourselves is stop and reflect. Stop and enjoy a little bit of solitude. Look for the inner peace that can keep us going.

Since my friend died I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we live. Our family lives are dictated by schedules and technology. I sit on the couch in the evening, and my kids stare at a television or their own handheld gadget. I write in the morning or at night, making the computer one of the main gadgets in my life. But we’re missing out on a huge part of human connection. As a mother, I want my children to remember that I took time to play UNO with them. I want them to remember that I laughed with them…and cried with them. I want them to remember my presence in their life, not that I was always staring at my phone, my computer, or that I was too busy to spend time with them.

The way I can best be there for my children is to be there for myself. I know that I don’t have a traditional family life. My husband works from home, so he’s capable of making dinner and picking up the kids, dealing with homework and doing most of the “traditional” housewife jobs. Since my job is away from home, I come home and get to be the “fun” parent, traditionally assigned to the “Dad” role. My husband and I both value our alone time, our rest and recoup time, as a time that we can sort out our feelings on life and come back to our children more well-prepared to handle them and all their idiosyncrasies.

As I process the emotions regarding my friend’s life and death, and help his wife—one of my good friends—find her new normal, I need my silence. I need the time in the evening when I lie in bed and try to figure it all out. Some people can put all their faith in God. But in times like this questions arise. Silence helps me sort through those tough questions. My alone time helps me come to terms with decisions I’ve made in the past and what decisions I need to make in the future. We all have a finite time on this earth, and we don’t know when our time is up. I want to live my life the best way possible and leave an impression on my children that I was there for them, because we never know when our time is up.

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Time

There’s never enough, is there? Time is like a thief. That’s a quote someone wrote, isn’t it? But time can be a gift too. I look at my first hour of every day as a gift. The kids are sleeping. The house is silent. The dog lies snoozing at my feet. I listen to music, and I type. Or I read. Or I go for a walk while the sun rises. The minutes slip by, and I make the most of each one. I put words on sheets, and I weave a story.

I love when 6:30 rolls around, and the noises of the day begin to fill up the house.
A small child will sneak down the stairs, and tip-toe up to my chair, then throw their arms around my neck, greeting me as I greeted the day earlier.

We can make the most of our time, if we try. Some days, I’m not so productive. I procrastinate. I watch Netflix. But, I always use the time in the morning for myself. And I love that I set away this chunk of precious minutes to spend on myself. It’s hard to come by alone time when you have three children.

I use the time to write novels. To edit. To complain about writing novels and editing. I use the time to pour over Facebook photos and to catch up on commenting on the A to Z Blogs (these days).

Time isn’t like a thief if you use it wisely. Sure, we all will grow old and die, but it’s what we do with our time today that’s the most important. Use it wisely.