It is Time: Thoughts on My New Relationship with Time

It is Time: Thoughts on My New Relationship with Time

All of my adult life, I have wished for more time. I dreamed of a life where I only did what I wanted when I wanted. I would read and write as many hours as I wished. I would prepare only healthy food, go for nice, long walks in the country, time being a smorgasbord laid out in front of me, just as it might seem for this fellow, ready to rest all day after a successful kill. But I never really believed I would have this kind of time in my life.

Two weeks ago Thursday was my last day as a practicing psychoanalyst. I feel good about the 36 years I have spent doing this work. I have been fortunate to have had wonderful training and excellent consultation. I have also been lucky enough to have had some patients who have blossomed in ways I could not have imagined. I do treasure them, and I will miss them more than they can know. But it is also clear to me that it is time.

I Do Not Feel Old

If you have not read the opinion piece by Mary Pipher in The New York Times, The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s, I strongly recommend it. This piece describes exactly how I feel. As I retire and move on to the next decade, I do not feel old, which is not to say that I don’t know that I am. Would I trade this time in my life to go back to my 20s or even my 30s? Definitely not. And to do them all over again differently would mean that I would not be who I am today.

The world is in chaos, but I have known other times that the world has been in chaos. In any event, there is little I can do to correct it. I can sign petitions, contact my senators and congressional representatives; I can vote, and I can march. I can do what my energy at this time in my life requires. Fretting about what I cannot change is useless.

Exactly How I Wish to Spend My Time

Last week, I went to buy root vegetables with my husband. I spent the entire day preparing these many vegetables for a roasted vegetable stew with kale. I meditated my way through washing, peeling and slicing. This was exactly how I wished to spend my time. The smell filled the house and warmed it nicely.

So many wonderful years of my life I spent in study and in work. These professional years were rich and rewarding. I have had the best of teachers, mentors and friends. Now I have found the best of mentors and friends in the world of writing. The study feels like fun. The writing is fun. Life is fun. And as Mary Pipher says in her piece, life is also struggle and sadness. But I do believe the one thing we are able to choose is how we feel about whatever life presents. I learned this years ago in reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. And I have learned it again over the years by taking it down from the shelf and reading it once more. Certain books bear more readings.

And for those who are waiting impatiently for me to finish writing about Fatma, I am taking my time. (This book is the prequel to my novel, What Survives.) I want this to be the best I can do at this particular time. And as my mentor would say, I have all the time in the world.

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