Time lost and found

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“I’m in a hurry to get things done, I rush and rush until life’s no fun.”

— Alabama

Clearly, there is one dire shortage above all others that should certainly concern us all.

America is running out of time.

All we ever hear about anymore is how busy everyone is. We all have so much (too much) to do and so little time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

We need to find time. Make time. Alas, it is not to be. No one has, as of yet, figured out how to make more time in the day.

If they had, I doubt most of us could afford it, anyway. We tend to be running out of money these days, too.

Plenty

The truth? I think there is plenty of time. Time is there for the taking. It’s just a matter of what you choose to do with it.

Granted, I am far from a perfect person and too often what I choose to do with my time is whine, complain and fret endlessly over things I cannot control. It’s my nature.

I have certainly been guilty of wishing ill on the driver of the vehicle ahead of me in traffic for “slowing me down.” I have often suffered the pangs of realizing that the world would run so much more smoothly for me if it wasn’t so chockfull of all those annoying OTHER PEOPLE who get in my way.

I definitely grow as annoyed as the next person when I am kept waiting for an appointment, my turn, or a place in line.

I am also a thoroughly modern mom. On the go with not a moment to spare. Just this week I had a full day. A home to make, meals to prepare, children to ferry to and from this or that. My own errands and appointments had to be sandwiched in between.

I had just enough time to sandwich in a much-needed hair appointment. Thus, I arrived at my scheduled appointment time only to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Fifteen minutes later it was determined via a telephone call to her home that my stylist, too, had lost track of time and in doing so, had inadvertently cut into mine.

Story

Thus, I waited. Stuck in a chair watching all that precious time tick by.

While waiting, I couldn’t help but hear the story of a patron earlier in the week who had stormed out in a huff because she had been forced to wait five minutes.

For what, you ask? A much needed dose of anti-venom? A life-saving procedure?

No, for a tanning bed.

Now, some may read this and think that patron was right. Perfectly justified even.

How dare we, busy people all, be kept waiting for our rightfully scheduled appointments?

It could be argued that time wasn’t being LOST at that point, so much as STOLEN.

This was a time-hostage situation. The thing is, all I could think as I heard of the woman who stormed out in a huff over the five-minute wait is that hers must be a busy — and rigid — life, indeed.

She may have left feeling justified, but she also left a very bad impression. Was that time well spent?

Vowing not to be “that type,” I waited. I forced myself to relax. I smiled. I even went as far as to fill my newly “found” time by chatting with the lady waiting next to me.

Her name, she told me, was “Pixie.” “Pixie” you say? If that doesn’t get your attention, then you are beyond saving. I happen to find things like that fascinating.

Over the next hour, Pixie went on to regale me with stories of growing up the hearing child of deaf parents. Her loves, life and adventures held me in thrall long after the hairdresser arrived. It was a thoroughly enjoyable interlude and one I could not possibly have planned.

Found

The truth? That unexpected delay — that “waste of time” — turned out to be a highlight in my day.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere. I suggest that the next time you find yourself agitated, annoyed and thoroughly delayed, you breathe deep, smile and take a look around. You might just find yourself enjoying the solitude, hearing a story, learning a little something and even making a friend.

I certainly cannot promise that you, too, might meet a Pixie. That probably doesn’t happen every day. But, if you’re lucky, sometimes, if you really pay attention, that time you lost may just end up being the time of your life.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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