Stock image.

Publisher’s letter: Make time

The baby straddled my hip while I stood in line waiting to board the plane. My toddlers circled my feet, clutching their backpacks and running in and out among the other passengers in line. At this chaotic moment, the baby in my arms dirtied her diaper. In the airport. While my section was boarding.

I turned to my brother. “She has a poo-poo diaper.”

My seat: A27.

Ashley Sexton Gordon. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

“Go to the bathroom and change her,” he responded. Of course, this solution was completely logical. Meanwhile, I was A27 and my section was boarding.

“I can’t,” I said, hoisting her higher on my hip and wrapping her tighter in the blanket. As if that could quell the rising stench. “I don’t have time.”

He looked at me with an intensity used by generals right before battle, put his hand on my shoulder and spit out, “Make time.”

For one split-second I hesitated. Then I snapped out of my trance, burst out laughing, grabbed the diaper bag and ran to the closest restroom. Of course I would have time to board the plane. The plane wasn’t set to depart for 30 more minutes. And my family was on board to inform the attendants.

What was my plan—change the stink in a seat on the plane? Ewww.

Make time.

This episode happened almost a decade ago, but it still rings true. How often do I really have ample time to do what needs to be done, but I get bogged down by what’s in front of me at that moment? I’m deer-in-the-headlights focused on an A27 boarding pass, but I’m really carrying a poopy pile that needs attention. There is time. I must own it.

We live in an age of distraction and noise. If we don’t own our time, it gets lost. More often than not, I piddle my time away on moments that don’t matter and 30 minutes later I’ve forgotten what needs to be done.

“You know the quote ‘pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars?’” one of my friends recently asked me. “That’s how I think of time. Seconds make minutes and minutes make hours.”

He was explaining how he had time to listen to 40-minute podcasts with three young children at home and a successful, but taxing, professional career. I was all ears since sometimes I don’t believe I have time to shave my ankles.

“I save the podcasts and listen to them to and from work,” he went on. “They’re great, and I’m not using that time to do anything else anyway.”

Make time.

Now, before you ‘make time’ by upping the length of your therapy sessions due to the guilt you incurred about the time you are wasting day to day: Fear not. No one can do everything that needs to get done. No matter what they are preaching or posting.

But maybe, just maybe, in this new year we can do one more thing that we really want to do. We can make time for a new skill, a new hobby or a new workout. We can make time to cook one more meal a week. We can make time to read one story before bedtime to a child or make time to call a grandmother. We can make time to listen to that funny or informative podcast that will make us funnier or more informed at a dinner party. We can make time to grow.

Because the alternative to owning time is time owning, and manhandling, our lives. And no one wants to be stuck holding the poopy pile.