Why I had no time to write this post and why that’s a lie.

Time to Write Lao Tzu1. By the end of this post, you’ll have had the chance to view your time and your priorities in a different light, which could be life changing, if this perspective affects you the way it has me. I want you to know that up front. Because I know you’re busy.

2. By the end of this post, you’ll also know a couple of very important, personal things about me, that I haven’t shared with my pentozen.com readers. This is a new site, and the blog has gone through transformation over the past few months… I’ve been authentic, but lately, I haven’t shared much. There’s a reason for that and I’m about to tell you.

The universe has been a real wench with me about the topic of time lately, and busyness, and business. So much so, that I had a couple of other, more “useful” posts for you in the last few weeks, but as we see here, I didn’t write them (yet), and now I’m writing this one instead. Let’s give you some background.

I am always too busy.

So busy. Never caught up and never happy with my state of being because I never feel accomplished enough and I always feel behind, even though I am extremely productive with a vital role in a close family, a couple of businesses and always a new one in the works, a home, community, friends, hobbies, dreams and oh yeah–health… trying for wellness inside and out… So. Want to shut me up as bad as I do?

Honestly, I am Zenny. At heart.

Yet time never seems on my side, no matter how much I enjoy singing along with Mick about it.

Good thing I have a freakishly high, naturally renewing, internal energy source. (We suspect the keyboarding motion might be the secret to the recharging.)

And then my mom died. About six weeks ago at the time of this writing.

Time isn’t on anyone’s side.

My mom was a six-year ovarian cancer survivor. She had been struggling with her bowel and her back pain lately, but she was still active on chemo, and only 71 years old. We weren’t thinking death was near. Things changed suddenly after Christmas. Her body became too weak for all its suffering. Then, the decision to start hospice, to offer what we all thought would be months of relief, turned out to be a couple of weeks of rapid decline.

She died peacefully, eventually, but honestly, the trip to that point was very rough on all of us. We’re taking it pretty hard. Especially my dad. They were married 53 years. He’ll never be the same… and I suppose, neither will I.

I’m not keeping the same kinds of lists… they’re more scattered. I have extra To-Dos now, planning for the second memorial (they live in two states) and writing the thank-yous, going through clothes and pictures… Crying.

Crying takes time, but that’s not something you put on your list. Nor any other number of distractions. You don’t count all the conversations you need to have to feel better as “To-Dos.” You have to make time for them, though. I still need to do stuff for my job(s) and I still need to take care of myself, too. But I’m having trouble putting things in the right order.

Today, I finally figured out why.

I don’t want to do unimportant things.

Not since my mom. Because I saw the concentration of “time” in her unexpected final days.

Many things were painful to us, her loved ones, who would survive her, that she could not “do” because she was dying. We cried so much about this. She had just gotten new counter tops, and barely had time to enjoy them. She never even saw the flat screen TV she picked out. It was on layaway, then she went in the hospital, then to hospice. We picked it up with my dad in time for Super Bowl. She asked how it looked… in fact, she didn’t see Super Bowl, but she asked who won the game. She already had a far away look in her eyes by then.

There are countless examples. The clothes she didn’t care about or wear. Her make up or hats. She wasn’t watching cooking shows, or doing crosswords…As these things lost their importance in her days, it hurt us, because we felt ourselves losing her. But I see now: These are things we bring into our lives to occupy us. They are how we spend our time. We were losing her, but not because she stopped spending time caring about all that stuff. It didn’t matter.

Here’s what did matter, when all else was falling away, and time was increasingly short for my mom: how beautiful it was outside. The breeze, the birds, the trees. She wanted those screen doors open.

Us. Her family. Our voices, holding her hand, swabbing her lips, wiping her brow, rubbing her feet and neck. My dad–just the sound of his shoes or him clearing his throat would make her stir, even in her deepest sleep.

And finally, there was how she just needed to calm down. In fact, that was her last request.

Time is a created thing.

I will be sharing my mom’s last request with everyone who will listen, any time I can, for the rest of my life. It took some time, but I was able to help her calm down, with medication and personal attention, and for that I will be ever grateful. 

I thought the events surrounding my mom’s death set me back with time, and that’s why I’ve been so “behind.” But somehow, I woke this morning remembering how selective my mom became with her time in the end. You could say she was at her most vulnerable, as far as time goes, because she was running out of it. But no, she literally was making the most powerful choices with her time, wasn’t she? The idea of NOW is crystal clear in the end.

Mostly, our time appears to land around what we claim to need and want. Ideally, this would be done based on what we decide is most important to us. I agree with the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu: time is a created thing. And so, if I’ve been busy with business things, or growing into other things, well then look at me. I’m a frisky gal with many interests! Watch this blog space soon for useful topics to prove it.

If I have a problem with this busy state of being–and if you have issues with time as I have had–maybe you can relate: perhaps we can say I’ve been priorizationally challenged.

What I have learned, thanks to my beautiful mother and her graceful strength and conscious exit from this Earth, is that your priorities sort themselves out quite simply when you run out of time.

But you don’t have to wait for that to happen. Life is for the living. Just remember, ultimately, time itself takes you nowhere, except to your own quest for calm.

It’s always now. Spend it on what’s important to you. I’m going to get a VA or something I swear. ;-)

Want to chat about this? Please comment! I’d love to connect with you more on writing, too–subscribe to post updates or get my CopyMaster eBook (free) at right. Peace~Faith

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14 Responses to Why I had no time to write this post and why that’s a lie.

  1. Gillian April 2, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Wow. Powerful post Faith. It behooves us all to take measure of our time and ensure that it is well spent. I do my best and hope that, at the end, I will have few regrets. I am so sorry about your mum; I wish your family healing but I know that grief takes its own, sweet time.

    • Faith Watson April 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      Gillian, thank you for your healing thoughts. I imagine you will be one of the people with few regrets–and I hope to join you in that endeavor my friend!

  2. poetdonald April 2, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    Faith, I had an interesting situation (interesting after it was over) a couple of weeks ago that tested my priority system – which btw is my weekly Fizzle Progress Log………..

    I was sick and totally lost two days. At the end of the week, every item on the list was complete ~ legitimately.

    My Progress Log is much shorter than my To Do list. It contains “only” my most important tasks for the week.

    I schedule a week at a time, and don’t schedule the tasks for a specific day unless there is an absolute deadline, or one day that is really suited to perform that task. Each morning I review the list to decide what item(s) I will do that day, and make sure I have time to complete all the tasks during the week.

    The flexibility works really well for me. I really rebell against planning my exact schedule for the week, and the flexibility is really helpful if I get sick, or is a friend wants an eBook proofread.

    • Faith Watson April 3, 2014 at 7:11 am #

      Donald, you have such a great point here: when we allow some space around our tasks, accomplishing them is an authentic pleasure instead of a frantic race. As for me, I myself, will never be prone to move slow, be bored, or not have my next move. That is just my way. A trait can be both a gift and a curse. So I like the idea of the Progress Log as a … ummm, progress log? (Hah, wordmsith heal thyself! I never noticed!)

      How thrilling it is to make progress in important areas; how much reward there is in remembering that I ENJOY what I’m doing when I’m doing my best, and not losing myself in judgments or worries about other “shoulds.” You’re right though, in some ways it feels rebellious. Yet, I know for certain there is little better than being available for a friend! So guess who will be getting back to her own Progress Log, with this in mind, today? Thank you Donald!

  3. Lisa April 3, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Ciao Faith – thank you for this powerful share. I remember when my mom was dying. My sister and I stayed with her for 6 months – we were more fortunate than you in that sense. We had time to say goodbye, for closure AND for some good laughs. I remember being in a store with mom and she suddenly said, “Now THERE’S a book I need to have!” What book mom? ” A HUNDRED THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE” was the title. I said, “that’s not funny mom” and she responded, “I thought it was funny!” And really, it WAS! Our mothers taught us lots about life didn’t they? Especially, how to exit gracefully…a big hug to you!

    • Faith Watson April 3, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      Lisa, I love your sweet storytelling. I hope you will write more about your experiences with your mother and sister, so others can share in this universal feeling–especially during this stage I’m in. They say it’s the grieving process, or as my girlfriend said I’m “in mourning… do they say that anymore?” I told her they should. I understand why people used to wear black for months, the armbands, houses with curtains drawn: it showed these people need some time, careful with them, they might cry or say something weird. The week after my mom died I got a call from a charity I once gave to. Do I just say no? No. I tell them I’m only giving to Ovarian Cancer right now b/c my mom just died of it. The pace and reach of daily life has accelerated and expanded for us over past generations. However we don’t heal any faster, or miss people any less,

      And now, as a person who works alone in a home office and hasn’t met the people I “talk” to most of the day, or my clients for that matter… well, telling a story like this “out loud” to anyone who will read it, is different, too. Most of my contacts each day wouldn’t know I’m in mourning if I didn’t write it. And yet losing my loved one has affected me and my ability to provide what I have said I would.

      The cloud is clearing, I’m feeling much better — actually, better than ever — and I think it’s because of processing what I’ve learned. I credit my mom’s legacy. She didn’t mean to teach me all this but it turned out to be her greatest work.

  4. Michele April 3, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    Faith, thank you for sharing some of your most heart felt feelings. Powerful and ture words you always do write. I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. It saddens me how much hurt you have and your family are going through. I beleive you will find some good out of all this. You have shed a light on my favorite excuse ” no time, too busy”!! We dont last forever and as Gillian said I hope I have few regrets.
    My best to you Faith

    • Faith Watson April 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

      Michele, thank you so very much for your sympathies and for reaching out with your comments. It means the world to me to know you read my words — and that you will be another person who makes the most of her time. Enjoy and take good care!

  5. Diane Miller April 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    It is a scary thing that I have yet to go through, losing my mother. I wish we had more time – (that time thing again!) now. We live so far apart and life gets in the way. Your story was very touching and powerful. I thank you for sharing and I do know a bit of how you feel. I lost my sister in January of this year. She passed quite unexpectedly. That’s how life is sometimes. Time ends unexpectedly…don’t wait to do what you feel is important! Make the call or the trip or the whatever!
    Lao Tzu was correct in his belief that if you say you don’t have time, you are really saying you don’t want to make the time. You make time for what is important to you. We all do! Thank you again for sharing this very sad part of your life with us.

    • Faith Watson April 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Diane, I want to thank you for reading and for sharing with me as well. I must say, I had no idea what I’d feel like–I was never afraid of losing my parents. I didn’t expect to feel this way at all, I’ve always felt centered and prepared on the topic. Oh well… You are so right–sometimes life takes us by surprise, but it’s just how it is. The idea about living now, and not waiting, seems so right. Each day, I’m trying to do what is most important to me. I’m redefining what that is–it used to be finish this job or pay the bills, but heck I do those anyway. Now what is most important is get fresh air, do yoga, call a friend, pay a visit, make pasta. :-)

  6. Bradley Charbonneau May 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    There is nothing more important than time. Money can’t buy it, science can’t recreate it and we just have it, use it and hopefully enjoy it.

    Thanks for this post, Faith. My parents are getting older (quickly, it seems) and I AM actually taking the time to enjoy every moment with them. It takes some effort to stop and smell the flowers, it takes time to make the most of your time, but we can do it.

    I also think–as I know you do too–that writing about this helps to solidify it in time and that stops time or at least takes a snapshot of it so that we can come back to these moments in the future and not forget or lose the past times.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Faith Watson May 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Bradley, you’re one of the best people I’ve “met” lately, at staying true to what matters and just being an all around good, centered person. I have suspected that working in vapor (online) tends to make it easier for people to forget how to be solid in 3-D. Not so you, maybe you’re right, it’s the writing (from the heart, not the marketing kind) that helps crystallize our moments so we can cherish them.

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