For me, as I am sure for many of you, a huge change that has affected my daily routine, over the past year, has been the amount of unclaimed time I now have had on my hands.
I remember at the start of 2020, busy with working full-time, how I yearned for time, spending (ironically) any spare time I had, wishing that I had more to spare!
I can recall, keenly, the sense of blissful anticipation I felt when I booked a weekend alone in a hotel, just to sleep, read and indulgently binge-watch Modern Family!
Life, however, since the pandemic, has changed in so many ways. One of these myriad changes is the way in which lockdown has removed many of the daily markers, born from social interaction, which we normally use to notice and acknowledge the passing of time.
Where before I would meet friends and family, and while away the hours over coffee,theatre, cinema visits, meals and shopping, now I am adapting to having seemingly acres and acres of unclaimed time. And, what to do with it.
In spite of previously being hungry for time, I admit that the reality of having an abundance can be a little overwhelming. At points, I have found the thought of the hours stretching out in front of me somewhat daunting. Bereft of the readily available timetable-clutter of normal social intercourse, I admit to feeling a sense of panic, here and there, about having so much spare time on my hands.
On a video call, it was my (ever-wise) Mother who suggested taking up painting as a way to occupy the spare moments by filling them with creativity. What a good suggestion that was. I am so grateful for it.
Despite being an absolute beginner, I found a joy in applying acrylic to canvas. I started and finished paintings. I felt a sense of pride. I kept on painting.
The empty time became filled. It became a space for creativity. It became a catalyst for thinking of, and finding new ways to use my 1440 daily minutes. But, more importantly, it was also was a lesson in appreciating the moments we have by putting them to good use.
This isn’t always easy to do. There are still moments when I feel a slight flutter about how I will shape my day. But, when I feel this, I think back to starting painting and I use this as a reminder that time is a gift. We should use it with gratitude.