Too Much Noise – Not Enough Time

We’ve just had a week of no work or school here for the Eid break. Apart from a very gorgeous night at a hotel, the majority of the holiday was at home. We made a  couple of day trips to the beach. G bought a kayak. I got some study done. Cupboards were cleaned out. Jobs were struck off the to do list. The computer finally went to the shop to get upgraded. Our eldest had a day with friends, while the others created new games at home. The little travellers caught up on sleep, we watched movies as a family, we baked, tried a few new recipes. I skyped with my parents for nearly three hours, and leisurely made my way through a girlfriend’s book knowing there was no rush. The pace changed.

It was a week of restoration.

And at 6.30 last night when I spoke with a strained voice through gritted teeth  “if you knew you had homework why are we only doing this now” I realised the holiday was over.

I want my life to slow down. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, the memory of what it’s like to get to the office from 9 – 6 with four really young children is raw, I know I have nothing to complain about – except that I do. Time is going to fast, and it’s my fault. I know it’s a first world problem – but it’s my first world problem.

I sat at the traffic lights this morning thinking about the nine weeks ahead until we return to Australia for Christmas. I’m not sure if it would be the same if I were living in Australia but school holidays appear to bookmark our expat life. Flagging what needs to be done while time whizzes by. What are you doing for Eid is now replaced with what are you doing for Christmas? A dark cloud of dread started to float above my head.

My phone buzzed.

I texted my colleague Sarah about work regarding BloggingME, then answered a message via messenger. I saw a note on Instagram. In amongst this I thought about the two assignments that were due and a final short essay to be completed this week for University. There was also the sponsored post that had to be approved by a client this week. An unfinished proposal in my draft folder. A workshop to write and plan. A possible conference I’d love to squeeze in. The beginning of baseball and softball next weekend, an extra swimming class, the start of pilates, and the children’s after school sports. Had I told the kids which gate I’d pick them up from?

My phone buzzed again.

By the time I got home I was ready to get back to my assignment. I quickly checked my email, Facebook, and Instagram. Forty five minutes vanished before my eyes.

I opened my laptop, waited for my presentation to load.

The phone buzzed.

Another message, the cloud returned. I needed to concentrate. The presentation hadn’t loaded. I scrolled through my notifications on my phone while I waited.

The clarity came just after the almost audible sound of the needle being lifted from a record.

The phone had to go. The buzzing had to stop.

I walked to the furthest corner, and slid it deep into a darkened drawer. I walked back to the computer, and began to shut down every distraction I could find. And as each window closed, life slowed down. The chatter disappeared, the noise, the buzzing.

And so I have now banned myself from screen time. Like a child, I cannot be trusted, but also like a child, it’s for my own good. No screen before school. Ten minutes for morning tea, twenty for lunch and ten again in the afternoon.

The buzzing has stopped. The concentration is returning.

Anyone else?

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