My friend was in the middle of telling me about the homemade birthday gift she made for her husband. She poured hours of her time into it. She let her creativity shine through. Every beautiful little detail mattered. And she wanted to share the joy of her surprise with me.
But the whole time she spoke, I didn’t think about her.
I thought about me.
And how many things I have on my to-do list.
“I don’t have time for that,” I blurted out.
I saw the hurt in her eyes. She didn’t know what to say.
I realized at that moment how selfish that phrase is. All the negative messages it conveyed to my friend.
Those words told her I wasn’t really listening to her. I wasn’t thinking about her project. I wasn’t trying to understand her love for her husband.
Those words told her I was thinking about myself. All the things I have to do.
Those words told her I’m too busy for this. I don’t have time for you and your project.
But it’s not really about time, is it?
Because we all have the same amount of time. Twenty-four hours every day. Seven days every week.
We all have to-do lists. The things we need to do. The things we want to do. The things we make time for.
And we all have not-to-do lists. The things we don’t need to do right away. The things we don’t want to do. The things we decide aren’t worth making time for.
We all have the same amount of time.
My friend chose to set aside time specially devoted to crafting her gift. The time didn’t appear out of thin air. She carved that timeout of her already busy day by putting other things on her not-to-do list. She let her laundry pile up a little. She made boxed dinners for a few nights. She turned off her phone to eliminate distractions.
She chose what to do and what not to do.
It made me think about all the things I choose to do in a given day.
I choose to sit down and sip my tea in the morning. I choose to sweep the floor after lunch. I choose to watch a show on Netflix with my husband.
But I don’t have time for that. I really don’t.
While I relax with my morning tea, my exercise mat sits rolled up in the living room corner. While I sweep the floor after lunch, my kids follow the motions of my broom, begging me to read them books. While I watch Netflix with my husband, the dinner dishes wait piled up in the sink.
I only have time for the things I choose to do.
I don’t have time for infinitely many other things that I choose not to do.
And it’s not my friend’s problem. In fact, it’s not a problem at all. And if I resent not being able to create a beautiful homemade gift for my husband’s birthday, maybe I should change the things I make time for. Maybe, instead of complaining about it, I should rearrange my schedule.
I can choose to stay off Facebook for a day. I can choose to leave the laundry till tomorrow. I can choose to stay up an hour late or get up an hour early.
I can choose to do the things I really want to do.
Because we all have the same amount of time.
We all have “time for that.”
We have 24 hours every day.
We have seven days every week.
Let’s stop complaining about the way we choose to spend our time.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.