May 18, 2011

photo credit: shannon brinkman

To me, there is no more horrifying moment than the minutes before____________. (Fill in the blank with your choice of something scheduled). I loathe countdowns. They make me nervous and frankly, just upset. When I rode my cross country test in my very first (beginner novice) event (completely decked out with all but alternating colored clackity bell boots), I asked my trainer if she would kindly ask the guy officiating the start box to NOT do the 10 second countdown for me…he could just tell me when to go by saying “ok. go.” (I got some funny looks that day…and for more than just that reason. A simple glance at the outfit to the left can shed some light on that.) 😉

Eventually I got used to the start box countdown (by tuning it out) but I never have really gotten over countdowns in general. Its only been by accident that I recently figured out why. The way I see it lately is that counting DOWN time is an approach of “glass half-empty.” It is measuring the waning remaining.  Counting down tells us how much time we really don’t have. Think about it. We are anticipating the event that happens at “0:00” instead of flowing with the time in its abundance.

(Did I just say abundance?)

So today is one of the days where I’m usually a slave to the clock. Its a “school day” for the girls which means I have 4.5 hours of freedom to pursue things such as grocery shopping without having to chase miniature shopping carts through aisles and rescue variously chosen items from tiny hands. Its the day I have “freedom” to go to the bank, or the post office without company. It is the day I have to work without interruption. (I say day, I mean 4.5 hours). When the clock passes 12noon on these days, my anxiety starts to go up. I am anticipating the end of this very limited focus-time. My attention turns to how bummed I will feel when my “free time” ends–how I won’t have everything I intended accomplished and I will need to go and pick up the kids. This gets worse with each passing minute as I find myself spending more time anxious about the time than I spend actually DOING the things I need to be doing. (Anyone hear me out there?)

So I thought: what if I changed my outlook in regards to time? What if I stopped letting a clock control my level of anxiety and started living in the present? What if I saw my time on these days (and in general) as a glass “half-full” instead of  anxiously anticipating the end coming too quickly?

The “scientist” in me took over and today I tried an experiment. With a simple perspective shift and the changing of one word, I was able to give myself TWICE the freedom I had originally imagined. Once noon arrived, it was no longer about how I “only have” ___hours left until my time was up, it became about how awesome it was that I “still have”___hours left to celebrate this free space in time. Here the difference between half empty and half full was found in these two simple words”only” and “still.”

Amazing what a simple word can do, huh? Time is so much more abundant when our perspective allows us to live in the present. Finding gratefulness for what we have instead of wanting more or pining after what we don’t have most assuredly applies to “time” as well. Choose half-FULL. 😉

MOVING FORWARD:

What perspective shift can you think of to go from a “glass half-empty” to a “glass half-full?” Do share!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, feel free to share with others who you think might enjoy it too. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t laugh at that picture up top. LOL.

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2 Comments to choose half FULL

  1. What is your thought on a count down for the return of something great. For example, my husband comes home for R&R 12 exactly on my birthday, which is this Sunday. Since your looking at the outlook of the glass half full, “abundance of time” I should remain looking at is half empty. Each day I pray for it to go faster, or to have something go on that day that keeps my mind off of him. Each day I wake up to the same empty side of the bed and I wonder will it be filled again. Were not promised tomorrow, so we should cherish our moments that we have with each other. So we should look at it half full. But I can’t seem to wonder, am I an exception? Given life moves on when he leaves, unfortunately. But am I suppose to move on with my days? When we married I promised to love, honor, take care of, obey and to live for my husband. Is it really living if I build a life without him, or am I suppose to build a life and hope he can join in. Or even build a life after life after life. What then? Thats no life at all. I completely understand you in your idea of “glass half full” but there must be an exception. Its 12 weeks that were 32 that were 52….as these weeks continue to get smaller I pray for a miracle that I wake up and its here. Thats sad in a way, but trust me I know “I knew what I was getting into marrying into the military,” no one should want time to fly, we only have one life. So we should live it with the glass half full. I think thats up there with being an optimist.

    Love you, and thanks for your wonderful words. I enjoy reading. See you soon.

  2. there are exceptions to all things…. :) and that’s a good one to make! Can’t wait til you’re reunited!! :)

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