So, I owed you this post a few days ago but our furnace died so, while it's a bit late, I hope you enjoy!
Going into this post, it feels a bit navel-gazey. Please don't be surprised if that pops up as a category here in the nearish future.
However, working four ten-hour days? And getting that mid-week weekend? Gives me seventy-two hours each week that I am not at work. That I technically have "free" as far as time goes.
This is as free as you can get when you have a home to help maintain, six cats, and want to have a social life.
But I am totally guilty of falling into the trap that I don't have enough time. When really? Three days off a week should be plenty. It's all in how I'm spending it though - what am I doing with that time?
And I also tend to feel guilty that I don't have enough time while also not making enough time for myself. By this I mean not making time to be lazy when I want to be lazy. Or to go running when I want to go running. Or making doing my nails (something I love to do) a low priority when I want to change my nail color. And then I get snippy because I didn't do what I wanted during time I had all to myself.
It's very confusing.
Which is why when I started to see a book all about taking time for yourself pop up on blogs and instragrams all over? I kind of had to check it out.
The book? Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner. I mean, guys? I walked to Barnes and Noble to try to buy this book. After a snow storm that gave us a combined twelve inches of snow. And ended up buying it for my Nook because the bookstore was closed due to that very snow.
That's how much I wanted to read this one to get a firm grasp of just what these Fringe Hours are, because sometimes? I feel like that's all I have, except it's minutes, and not hours.
And you know what? That's sort of how Turner breaks it down in her book. She talks about how women don't always make enough time for themselves. And also how she surveyed hundreds of women who all felt like they didn't have the time to have it all.
Women who, I imagine, are kind of like me: married with a full-time job. I don't have kids, but we do have the cats, and there are times when I honestly don't feel like I have the time during the day to do what needs to get done and take time out for mindful self-care.
And that's where the fringe hours come in: the time you have at the fringes of your day. Lunch time. The hour after you wake up, before the rest of the house arises (I need to work on this). The time while dinner is cooking, or you're waiting for an appointment.
Turner says all this time adds up to time you can spend for yourself, doing things you love. This can be reading, or writing (as I'm doing now, from the guest bed of one of my girlfriends' homes), drawing, scrapping, sewing, cooking, working out - whatever you do to take care of you!
For me, these fringe hours come during the time after Allen leaves for work, when I'm finishing breakfast and playing with the cats. They come on my lunch break while I'm at work, where I've started taking a book to enjoy while I eat (or a walk after I finish my meal). They're time between dinner and bedtime on a work night, or the hours I have on the days I am off while Allen is at work.
The trick though, is to take advantage of that time. At least, that's the trick for me. To leave the dishes from dinner until morning so I can read or watch a favorite TV show with my husband. Or to take the time I have on my off days for things I enjoy.
I did this last week when I was off - I went and got my eyebrows done, browsed a favorite bookstore, and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon with coffee, books, and relaxing when it was all said and done.
And you know? I felt pretty rejuvenated at the end of that time. Enough so that I've been working on making my fringe time work for me more. Like when I read at lunch time. Or when I wake up early to go for a run.
I only really recently read Fringe Hours, but it's made quite the impact on something I was already working hard toward, and that is that all-too-important self-time. So now, when I'm off on Monday and Tuesday, I try to make that time work for me, in addition to getting done what I need to accomplish.
It is making my free time more enjoyable, because I feel like there is more of it there to enjoy. And because I'm taking those little breaks out for myself? I'm a much happier person, to boot.
I enjoyed Turner's book so much I read it in just a few short days. It's one I would recommend to any of my friends who were struggling with free time. I can't say my free time problems are solved - far from it. But Fringe Hours gave me many ideas for ways I can make that free time work for me.
**I purchased The Fringe Hours on my own, because I wanted to read it and I was not asked nor compensated to share this review of the book :-).