The White Spaces


Google calender white spaceI had to go all the way to July to find more than one day in a row where nothing is planned. No to do’s. No appointments. No practices or games. Nothing school related. No work of note.

Of course, July is still empty only because it’s just far enough in the future, and clear of the school year, to be empty.

White space.

Those days on the calendar that you don’t owe anyone, and no one and nothing has yet laid claim to, are the white spaces in our lives. Down time.

I was talking yesterday with my daughter’s school vice principal and his wife. Ran into them at the trade show in town.

Trade show is a big deal. I generally only go to catch up with my government representatives. The MP. The MLA. But it’s a chance to run into all sorts of people. The ones you only see at the Canada Day Parade and picnic or the Farmer’s Market.

I bring up my conversation with VP because it wandered into “going back to work” territory. Something I have been thinking about now that the wee daughter is not wee anymore.

And the thing that runs through my mind is – where would I fit work in?

There is very little white space in my life. Not enough to slip in a full-time job at any rate.

The opportunity I was speaking to the VP about was a part-time position in the school library. Which he’s already filled. But he was curious if I was going back to teaching now that not so wee kid is nearly in high school.

That is the time that SAHM’s think about, or do, head back out into the workplace after all.

I have thought about it.

There is a two-year degree/accreditation  program at the University of Alberta for people who already hold degrees and would like to work with indigenous schools and students that looks interesting. Education is still a passion for me whether I like the box public education is still uncomfortably crammed into or not.

And I am writing again. Seriously tempted to try my hand out more substantive blogging. Politics. Social commentary.

Shouldn’t forget politics beyond the commentary either. Working in politics tempts me mightily. Behind the scenes, of course, but I would be good at it, I think.

But where to find the serious time for such things?

White space is still hard to come by, and I don’t mean the few hours every day between this obligation and that errand or chore.

Of course, the fact that I can even entertain thoughts like white space and how to acquire more of it so I can pursue a career choice for passion rather than necessities sake speaks to an enormous amount of privilege. Not a place I ever dreamed I would be at this point in my life. Or ever really. Yet here I am.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that time management is a truly personal thing. The less you have to self-direct, the more dissatisfied you are likely to be generally. However, having too much open-ended time rarely leads to anything productive.

I can’t say I have any concrete plans at the moment. I am still living from one open day in the calendar to the next and letting that be enough direction for right now. That itself is a lesson. In patience and letting go. I’m grateful for that.

But it is time to plan for the future, or near time anyway. Do something with the white spaces.

Late


I sometimes wonder if I will ever have a proper schedule or be up early enough to accomplish things without constantly running into time constraints. Or, if I will ever have a schedule that is me-driven as opposed to working around other people’s schedules. If that sounds selfish, it’s because it is. I have the least amount of responsibility and the most amount of free (remembering that it is all relative) time of anyone and I still end up feeling the most constrained. Since the beginning of the school year, I have tried to get myself on some sort of schedule that would allow me time to write and to work-out properly and I am still having to steal time from the evenings to get some of this accomplished or nothing gets accomplished at all. Some of these conflicts exist outside my control. My deep water exercise class only meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 9Pm. I can nothing about that. I am also unable to find writing groups that meet during the day or that meet only once a month. The two I have joined meet every other week and unfortunately they are on the same biweekly schedule, so weeks with writing groups means two evening out for several hours at a time back to back, and to top it off I end up missing one of the deep water classes that week. With Katy needing to be at school for the afternoon kindergarten session, and it only being two and a half hours – not counting the half hour on the bus home, this ends up being just enough time to allow me to accomplish one thing at best and lands precisely in the middle of my day just to mess up any attempts I make at a schedule and that mainly because I have to drive in to town from where we live. It’s not a long drive but again, long enough to really screw things up if traffic is bad or I am running just the slightest bit late. Take this morning as an example. I thought I would have enough time to run into the gym and workout and be back home to feed Katy quickly and then drive back in and drop her at school so I would have the afternoon to work on my novel. But, the iPod was on red and the car charger has been missing since we got back from Iowa. A quick call to Rob at the office yielded me nothing and by this time, it’s now too late to zip into town and be back for lunch. I have tried packing her lunch but this either ends up with her not eating because the child-minders didn’t get her going soon enough or me having to cut my workout quite short to feed her in the car before school and then we were either too early or too late. Neither of which was a serenity enhancing option. Writing in the morning and then working out after dropping Katy off at school doesn’t work either. First, I never get much done writing-wise because if Katy isn’t interrupting me there are household chores that need doing and after lunch is the worst time for me to try and do anything strenuous. I am just not an early afternoon exerciser, so I don’t work out as hard or as long as I need to. Late afternoon was always a good time to run, but that cuts into supper time. Evenings? I think I pointed out what a cluster-fuck those were turning into already.

I already know that the writing groups have to be pared down to two a month and I may have to let the Fort group go entirely because, though I like them and the discussions, the Wednesday night meeting times don’t work well for me. I don’t know what to do about writing and working out around Katy’s school schedule. Afternoon is proving to be a good time of day for her but it’s a crappy time for me. Part of the difficultly has to do with not having a set time to get up in the morning. I know I can’t go back to 5:30 AM again but sleeping in to 7 or 8 is not working either. Sigh. It is a sorry thing to know that you are only capable of scheduling yourself when it is something like a job or school forcing it on you. How pathetic am I?

And I realize that I am the envy of others who are not as fortunate to be able to take time away from employment to parent and/or pursue a dream, I just never considered that life would still be so occupied with obstacles and such. Or that it would be as hard to do as it is turning out.