I spend a huge amount of my day sitting around and waiting. Waiting for my son to leave for school in the morning, then waiting for my husband to come to breakfast, waiting for my son to come back from school, waiting for work to start, waiting for students, waiting for phone calls, waiting for the time that I finally have time for myself, waiting for that miraculous space in my head that will enable me to make art at last, waiting for the weekend, waiting for Monday, waiting for my life to pass by.
Waiting for the time I lose weight, waiting for the time I suddenly get a grip on my life, waiting for the night so I can get some sleep – the list goes on and on.
And while I’m waiting I’m sitting in front of the computer, reading blogs, checking e-mail, reading and writing on ravelry, checking twitter. I sit there and tell myself that later I’ll surely do something productive, finish writing that knitting pattern, play the piano, sing a bit, finish sewing that skirt, edit that story. And then the next student comes, and I teach, and part of me waits for the lesson to be over, and then comes the time I’ve been looking forward for hours, the one hour of glorious free time that I have all to myself, and I’m all set to do, whatever, one of the things that are so important to me, only first I’ll check e-mail, and twitter, and ravelry, and then I have to go to the bathroom, and then I get hungry, and then there are only ten minutes left, and there’ll be another glorious opportunity, two hours later anyway.
It’s not that I don’t get things done at all. It’s just that a lot of my time and energy goes into the internet equivalent of watching soap operas. And all the time I fool myself, I list the things that I achieve, and it sounds mightily impressive until you see me sitting here on this chair all day long, looking into my monitor.
“I don’t have time for that.” I say. And I’m right in a way but in a different way this is like my son telling me that he has no time to pick up his room because he has to watch his favorite show on TV. Because there are only 30 minutes in an afternoon, aren’t there?
So for quite some time now I have been fighting this feeling that I’m just waiting until my life is over. Until my husband is dead, or my son has moved out, or something. It’s like I’m waiting for some magical transformation of my life, and then, at that point, I will emerge from all the waiting with my life suddenly just the way I’ve always imagined it.
I started to meet with a bunch of other women who meet every other week to help each other reach their creative goals. The last time I went there I told them that it’s not the time that I lack. It can’t be because I have two hours each day to waste on the internet. And one of them said, “Only two hours? But weren’t you the one who put a timer on her router?” Yep. That was me. The timer cuts me off from the internet between 10 pm and 8 am. I also disabled the wireless so I have to be near the ethernet cable to go on-line. Still, that leaves me with a lot of hours to spend sitting in front of the monitor, doing nothing productive.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet, and e-mail, and ravelry in particular but the question is how I feel after a day of checking in with my imagenary screen-friends, when I haven’t sung or played, or written, or picked up my bedroom.
So each day I try again, I kick myself in the butt, pick up after myself, exercise, do something productive on the computer, tear myself away from the screen to live my life here, in the moment, right where I am. I turn the computer off, I pull the ethernet cable out, I carry my laptop to the kitchen where I can’t connect to anything but myself. And then I hope that this day I will manage to spend my time with something else but sitting, waiting, and wishing.
(I know that “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” is the title of a Jack Johnson song, and when I first heard that I instantly thought that line describes my life very well at the moment. I did have to look up the lyrics, though (not the chords by the way, interestingly I know those almost by heart by now) and the rest of the song does not have much to do with me.)