Last night my wife and I were sitting in the living room on the couch talking
about the holidays. What gifts we'd bought for who and why we'd purchased
them. Pretty soon the conversation got around to the usual question asked
about this time of year: "so what do you want?" she asked. A hundred things
came to mind, all at once. A new rod and reel, a the new Fly Tiers Bench
Reference Guide, a gift certificate to by tying materials, an new improvement
for the green house, and new tool for the shop.... like I said, a hundred, no,
actually several hundred things came to mind.
Esoteric things, like world peace, a way to feed all the starving people in
the world, a cure for my MS (and a cure for all of the other diseases of the
world), a way to stop global warming, and cure for whirling disease, a way to
convince people to clean up the planet so it will be safe for future
Material things like the new rod and reel, a rod blank (or 3) to build "the
ultimate fly rod", enough materials to tie flies for the next 10 years. Lots
of books on fishing, and wood working, and horticulture, and landscaping. The
newest tools for building all of the finished crafts for all of my hobbies.
My mind wandered further into my "want list", but still I hadn't given her an
answer. It was taking some time to figure out the right answer. I had to
figure in what we could afford, what I'd be able to use the most and the most
often. What I really needed, not just wanted. Then it dawned on me. The
thing that I really need the most of and have the least of: Time.
Time to enjoy each others company. Time to enjoy my hobbies, to build the
rod, tie the flies, build in the wood shop, and cultivate new plants in the
green house. Time to enjoy life. Time to go to places we've wanted to go to
or do things we've wanted to do or see things or people we've wanted to see.
Time to do nothing but sit on the porch and enjoy the natural beauty outside.
Time to have friends over and prepare outrageous 12 hour, 10 course meals like
we used to do. Time to take a trip to see our first grandchild. The list
never quits, but always seems to start with, " I wish I had time...."
After a few minutes, my wife nudged me and asked. "Hey, which river are you
fishing??? Your mind seems to have left and your somewhere far away." It was
true, I was far, far away. Then she asked, "Did you decide on anything?" And
I said, "Yup, I decided I want time!" "you mean time to decide on something,
right?" she asked. I replied, "No, time to enjoy the things I have already!"
She looked at me, totally frustrated, pursed her lips, and said, "Only you
would come up with an impossible request like that!" and started to get up
from the couch, obviously angry and frustrated. I quickly grabbed her arm and
said, "Whoa, hold on a minute, let me explain."
I proposed that one day a week, we make time for ourselves. To do what we
want to do, or for her to do what she wants to or I want to do. That at least
every 3 months, we take a trip somewhere, out of town for at least 3 days
(longer if we can), to a place we've never been before to fish, or relax, or
explore, or whatever... That at least once a year, we take the time to visit
people out of state (or out of the country, for that matter) that we haven't
seen for a long time (or ever met in person). That at least twice a year we
assist in a public works project, like a stream habitat improvement, a
restocking program, helping with a kids program at one of the local nature
centers, or helping with one of the programs that assists the needy, such as
habitat for humanity or one of the food banks or Red Cross.
Once she saw what I meant she helped add to the list. After about a hour I
said, "hold it, we're getting out of hand here..." She asked what I meant and
I said, " look at our list... there's no way we have time to do all of this!"
"We need to revise things and be a little more realistic" I said. So now
we're in the revision process. What started out as a simple inquiry on what
to buy each other for the holidays has become something that can't be
purchased, but can be given. May all of you give it some time to soak in.
Happy Holidays! ~ Randy Fratzke