Valuing My Time
Pulling the handle down on the old-fashioned paper cutter, I laughed out loud as the little recipe card fell into the stack of others just like it. I was visiting my old friend and roommate of two years while stationed in Korea in the Army. Here we were at her kitchen table in Dallas, preparing the recipe cards to be stuffed into the envelopes containing bridal shower invitations for her daughter. I laughed because there was no way 32 years prior to that, I could have seen this day coming. I don’t think either of us ever really gave any thought to the possibility that we would go from the young 20-something-year-old girls we were – to the mothers, mothers-in-law, and grandmothers we would become! Or that when we did, we would still be friends! I hadn’t seen Donna since I left Korea in 1987. But aside from a short few years of having lost touch, we had pretty much remained friends over all these years. Marriages, children, career changes, and several moves – we managed to be in touch through most of it, even if only every now and then. Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? 30 years had passed since I last saw Donna – and even though so much had changed, our friendship hadn’t really at all. We could still go from laughing out loud at something absurd, to sharing tears over the loss of her daughter….. or my daughter…… in just a few short minutes. Sitting on the back porch of Donna’s home, putzing around the kitchen to throw a dinner together, or cutting recipe cards for her daughter’s bridal shower, was just like hanging out in our room in Yong San. “How was your trip?” I’ve been asked so many times since returning just a few weeks ago. It was good. It was really, really good. It was good to see that even though much TIME has passed, our friendship had not changed. It was good to talk together about what TIME has taught us – that how much of it we spend together is no reflection on how much we value our friendship. It was good to examine how I spend my TIME back home – not only who I spend it with, but what I spend it doing. It was good to ponder how to spend TIME in the future doing things of value, rather than wasting it doing things that DON’T matter. It was good to spend TIME laughing. It was good to spend TIME sharing the past – the good TIMES AND the not-so-good ones. It was good to talk about future TIMES, and future plans, and future dreams….. The older I get, the more I value TIME, and the more I want to spend it doing things that have value. I have wasted ENOUGH of it….. While I’m tempted to say I have wasted time on social media – I have to point out that if not for social media several years ago, Donna and I may have otherwise lost touch for good. And so is the case for many long-time friends from my Army days! However, I have certainly wasted a good amount of TIME that I can never recover being angry, being unforgiving, worrying, being frustrated, holding grudges, and feeling obligated to give away my time toward activities, emotions, and other things and circumstances that have no value and are not worthy of my TIME. I’m about to turn 50-something. I can’t remember. (Or, maybe I’m just purposefully losing track of TIME!) It sure seems like the older I get, the less I realize I actually know. TIME sure has sure had a way of teaching me that….. And it certainly has a way of helping us sort out just how to spend it. If we actually knew how much of it we had left, would we spend it the same? I don’t think so. And I also think those things I’ve wasted my time doing (being angry, unforgiving, worrying, being frustrated, holding grudges, etc., would be the first things I would give UP spending time on!) Thanks for the visit, Donna. I hope I get to see you again soon…. Thanks for all the long talks, the giggles, the tears, the memories, but most of all, the TIME!