I dislike the phrase "I don't have time for...".
We all experience exactly the same number of hours per day. Every person on this planet. The people that designed Apple's new watch have the same number of hours as the mom who stays home with four kids and the attorney that never sees her kids and the twenty-something with a dream who can't seem to get her tush off the sofa to get started.
That's not to say that life doesn't happen to us and that some of life's happenings don't cause disruption to our plans and activities. Just because I disagree categorically with the phrase "I don't have time for," doesn't mean that I believe that we can all do everything we want whenever we want.
I read a profile recently on a local author who is enjoying much success with her children's books, even though she does not have kids. When queried about her choice to not be a parent in spite of her obvious delight in children, she said, "We can have anything we want, but not everything we want." Is that true? On an instinctive level, I agree with her. The truth is that the choice to parent is a commitment of a significant amount of time in the ensuing twenty or so years. But I don't believe that the choice to be a parent negates positive professional opportunities, and in fact, parenting motivates me to be more effective with time and choices. Regardless, I still appreciate her eyes-wide-open take on her own life and on the the realities of how we use our time.
I feel the heavy breathing of time down my neck at the moment, and have been thinking a lot about that. The rhythm of my household is shaped by my husband's unusual work circumstances and sometimes I engage in a little pity party about what feels like the resulting restrictions on my life. The schedule challenges we have mean that sometimes I can carve out as much as thirty hours a week to pursue my goals, but at other times it is as few as ten or twenty.
I field a lot of questions about what I do while my husband is out of the country for four weeks at a time. I defend the amount of time my toddler spends at day care even though I'm not "working". Interestingly, I am also often advised that I should get a babysitter and go out more, even though I already use forty hours of child care a week. People are also surprised that I spend all of this time alone without a TV, as if a TV is good company.
Mostly, while my husband works his unusual schedule, I am also pursuing my dream, of working for myself and of trying to generate income from my creative ideas. I knit and sew and illustrate and work on this website. When I'm lucky, I can do those things and also exercise and maybe even cook a little bit.
If I had a TV, it is possible that I would lose several or more hours per week. If I went out at night, I would lose both time with my son and creative time, while spending even more money on child care. My twenty or thirty weekly work hours are only possible because I work through his weekend naps and my weekday lunches. I don't go out at night, and I am willing to wake up early to start the day before my son wakes up. I don't use time for Facebook, TV, movies, or other activities that I find unsatisfying. Every minute and every hour is a choice. Of course I want to see more people, be more social, engage in more cultural happenings around me. But I don't want that more than I want to pursue these ideas brewing in my mind.
I don't have time to be creative, I make time to be creative.