There Are Only 24 Hours in a Day

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I am about to drop what the kids call a “truth bomb.”

There are only 24 hours in a day.

Some of you may be thinking, “Why, yes, even my five-year-old knows that there are 24 hours in a day.” But, hang with me a moment. While I have also been aware of this essential truth for the better part of my life, I didn’t fully understand it until I became a mother.

Time is a finite resource. We can’t add to it, so whenever we add more to our lives–more things, more activities, more people–something else has to go. There are obvious examples of this. When a baby enters the picture, the first thing to be sacrificed is sleep. But there are more subtle instances as well.

Saturday mornings are my favorite time of the week. I love sleeping in and having a big breakfast/brunch with my family. I also love getting up early and exercising before the rest of my crew wakes up. And there’s nothing better than sneaking away to a coffee shop with a book. Yet, it is impossible to do all of these things with the limited time I have. So I must choose. And that’s okay.

We make myriad choices about our time every day. We decide whether to fold laundry or catch up on our Netflix queue (or even better, both at the same time). We either tidy up the house or sit down and actually have a conversation with our partner. We choose to wander the aisles of Target by ourselves or scroll through social media. All of these things are important, but maybe not all at the same time.

Knowing that time is a finite resource is both humbling and empowering. I am forced to recognize that I cannot do all the things or attend all the events…but I also have the power to decide what is most important at the moment.

If my daughter asks me to have a dance party, then that means I cannot also do the dishes. Sometimes I choose the dance party.

But sometimes I choose the dishes.

Right now, I have chosen to write this blog post. As a result, I am not uploading holiday photos, balancing the checkbook, or planning for next semester’s class, all items on my ever-growing to-do list. But that’s okay. Those things will get done…or they won’t (except the class planning; I really do have to do that). I write this as much to remind myself not to get overwhelmed by that list or the beautifully color-coded calendar as I do to challenge you to view time not as something to be controlled but rather as the precious resource that it is.

Just as we shouldn’t waste resources like water or food, nor should we waste time. (And, no, pausing from your busy day to read this blog is NOT a waste of time.) As we begin this new spring season when everything around us is newly blossoming, I challenge all of us to be more aware of how we spend our time, doing the best we can to use it on the things that are important to us. Just like in elementary school, let’s try to use our time wisely. What we prioritize with our time is a direct reflection of what matters the most.    

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Originally from Kansas City, Kristin met her husband, a Seattle native, in Germany. The military brought them to Memphis, and they chose to stay after transitioning to Reserve duty. While it is hard to be away from family, they love this city so much that they bought a house in Midtown where they are raising two spunky daughters, E (May 2013) and L (January 2016), and a curious son E (November 2019). Kristin considers herself to be primarily a stay-at-home mom, but she occasionally escapes the shenanigans to teach college-level writing classes. If she had any spare time, she’d spend it curled up with a good book in a blissful state of hygge. Her family is happiest when on an adventure, especially camping, riding bikes, or enjoying all Memphis has to offer.