Article by Lindsey Agness
One of the comments I hear most often from my midlife friends and clients is that they want more ‘time for me’. What does that really mean? It means time to ourselves, to do whatever we want without having to worry about anything else, such as money or family responsibilities. This might mean shopping, a day at a spa, lunch or dinner with friends, or just plain chilling out. As midlife women it can be challenging to extricate ourselves from the daily grind to really enjoy the moment.
This Attitude is all about time. Do you embrace time as your friend or your enemy? Are you someone who often says, ‘I don’t have time for that’? If you are someone who experiences time as a scarce commodity that there is never enough of, then you are creating a completely different personal reality from someone who perceives that they have all the time in the world. Your world is likely to be much more stressful. Maybe you have even experienced some of the symptoms of stress such as breathlessness, panic attacks and high blood pressure. Deepak Chopra, the world-famous Indian medical doctor and author, wrote of an Indian master, who explained his remarkably youthful appearance thus: ‘Most people spend their lives either in the past or the future, but my life is supremely concentrated in the present.’ This is because those who live in the past often suffer from guilt and those who worry about the future often suffer from anxiety. Yet, if you live in the now you can focus on enjoying the moment, whatever you are doing. This has a more relaxing impact on the body.
Using your time wisely
So what does this mean for you? We are only on this planet for a relatively short time, so it’s important to use time as wisely as possible. Stop making excuses! You can create more ‘time for you’ whenever and wherever you choose. Take control of time before it takes control of you. Truly make the most of every moment, and play it at 100 per cent. At midlife, we are halfway through our lives – maybe more than halfway for some. Therefore, let’s use time as if every day is our best day. Too many people come to a point in their lives when they regret not doing what they really wanted to do. Remember that the experience you have always wanted to have may not be a possibility for you tomorrow. I recently took my mother to have her first manicure at the age of 77. That’s a long time to wait to be pampered. Make sure that you do not put yourself in a similar situation. Think about what you more of in your life. How can you create time for those things? What does taking ‘time for me’ really mean for you?
When life is concentrated in the present, it is most real, because the past and future are not impinging upon it. Only now exists. If you can free yourself from the guilt of the past or anxiety about the future a space is opened for a completely new experience – the moment of now. The next exercise is designed to give you an experience of now that is very likely to be outside of your normal ‘time-controlled’ way of being. It sets up an enjoyment of each moment that is likely to be much more intense and enjoyable, and at the same time, more calming than you normally experience.
Exercise 7: Living in the now
Choose a day when you are not pursuing your normal activities – maybe at the weekend or when you are away on holiday. Remove your watch and focus on putting all of your attention in the now. Enjoy every moment. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do – it may be time with the kids, friends or your partner. Equally, you may choose to spend time on your own. Whatever you decide, the important thing is to give that activity, person or people your full attention. Play at 100 per cent. Take your awareness into the region of timelessness.
Notice how you experienced time in that situation. How did you feel? What happened? One of my NLP practitioner students did this exercise and found that it helped her to des-stress when she was back in ‘normal work’ situations as she was focusing less on the negative feelings of not doing something well in the past or the future. She focused on doing everything in the moment to the best of her ability. She became much calmer after practising this approach.
We have developed poor habits regarding use of our time
By mid-life, we have often created many poor habits around the use of our time. We have allowed ourselves to be stretched in far too many directions with little or no time left for ourselves. Use the following check-list to set yourself some new goals around the use of your time. Enjoy!
• Challenge your personal perception of time. Start focusing on having enough time to do what you want as opposed to never having enough time. Life will immediately become less stressful! Live in the now rather than in the past or the future. Stop wasting your energy ‘too late’ on the past or worrying ‘too early’ about the future
• Do what is important rather than what you perceive to be urgent by setting ‘real’ as opposed to artificial priorities
• Create more time for what you want to do….mid-life is an important time to re-evaluate how you utilise time for you
Lyndsey is offering a special price to Fabafterfifty readers for her 2012 Age with Attitude programme. Make 2012 your best year yet!