This I Believe

Christine - Ridgecrest, California
Entered on January 10, 2007

The notion of spare time is lost on me – in this hustle bustle life of fast food dinners, soccer practice, piano recitals, working overtime, underpaid, overwhelmed under-appreciated, plugged in but disconnected life so many of find ourselves in.

Admit it, at least one of those clicks with you, right?

Let’s Flash back:

I remember being 10, living in Military housing in Mayport, Fl. Every Saturday after an energizing dose of Captain Crunch and Bugs Bunny, my brother & I would head out the door, in various directions. We played… as kids did back then. I can’t remember all the playing specifics – that’s part of the wondrous mystery of childhood –but I do recall having fun. We were living in spare time – our time – caught up in exploring, running & playing Red Rover -when we could actually manage to get ALL the neighborhood kids together. Those days we’d return home only when the growling of our tummies drowned out the laughter and shouts of our friends. A time when most kids didn’t need to sign up for baseball teams at the Y or soccer, because we played it in the neighborhood streets. Or kickball, that was always my favorite. Even on school days, 3:00 came and it was our time. Time to enjoy, be, do, or not. Time passed slowly, as childhood does, but I was there. Present and accounted for.

Let’s Flash forward now:

My son is probably the only kid in his class without a video game console. He grew up learning to play, with time being his. This distinguisher of our lifestyle has always been a source of pride to me. However, I have noticed that with each advancing grade, he is loaded with more and more homework, given less time to spend it his way. I wasn’t expecting this, well, not yet. I figured he had until High School before he’d get so encumbered with school work – just to keep up, that’s not even the extra work they could do. Sadly, it mimics the adult life, yes. But my son is 10. How I hope he doesn’t look back on his childhood with regrets for the memories of afternoons of math graphs and phonics.

When my son is older, will he have a job just to pay his bills? Will he try to fit all the living- his “spare time”- into 2 days? Oh, I hope not. I wish for him to enjoy his days, his time. To find life, not earn a living. Yes, realistically he’ll have a job, or a career. But I hope it is a spark in his life, not a snuffed out candle.

There is no spare time. There is only time… and not enough of it no matter how long your life may be. Time must be claimed somehow, whether in mundane or extravagance, work or play. So I hope he spends it deliberately, wisely and how he chooses. And I hope I do the same.