The last few months have gone by in a flash, with people demanding so much time and attention that I've scarcely had time to think about myself or even sit down to read a book for fun. Just about every waking minute has been put to use for some grand purpose with deadlines that are always set in the past, giving an added octave to the sense of urgency others project when discussing these arbitrary dates. I look forward to a time in the very near future when I can just shut the world out for a few hours, sit back, and truly relax with some nice music and maybe a jigsaw puzzle. Anything is welcome, so long as it does not require a great deal of brainpower or interpersonal communication.
Many years ago, while living in Vancouver, I would often set aside Sundays as an "offline day". In the morning I'd do laundry and clean the apartment. In the early afternoon I'd buy the groceries I would need for the coming week. Around 3:00pm everything would be done and I'd have a good seven or eight hours to enjoy as I pleased, which usually involved playing one of the many Need For Speed racing game editions. When the weather was nice, though, I'd do something different and head to a cafe in the next town over to read a book in quiet isolation. This was the time and space I would often need in order to "reset" my mind and prepare for the coming week, with all the silliness that comes when working alongside others in a corporate environment.
After moving to Japan, time and space were two things that seemed to be in short supply. That said, after a bit of adaptation, it was possible to carve out a few hours every week where I'd just "disappear" for a while during the day and recharge. This often involved reading a book, playing sudoku, or just people watching somewhere out of the path of traffic.
The schedules as they are now, however, leave very little time for rest or relaxation. I've not been able to give Nozomi her regular long walks anymore, as there simply isn't enough time in the day. This isn't just because there's a new member of the family who wants and needs attention, nor is it the fast-moving house purchase, nor is it the day job and the endless parade of emails and personality clashes that come with the work. Instead it's the expectations I have built into my weekly goals that are no longer being met that's giving me the stress that I would once whisk away with some quiet time. It's something within me that needs to be changed.
But how can I do this without the necessary room to mentally work through the reality that time and space are no longer resources that I have ample of? As someone who tends to introspect and overthink a great deal, this isn't something I can "just get over". That's not how my mind works. That's not how the Selfish Me accommodates lifestyle changes. Instead what I need to do is find a new outlet; a new way to unwind, rest, and relax without asking for several hours a week of alone time.
The question that needs to be answered now is how? … which will undoubtedly take a bit of time.