Stop and smell the roses

Yes, stop and smell the roses and other flowers.

When was the last time you decided to do so?

Just yesterday? Today? Congratulations. It’s not true that you don’t have time for that. Believe or not, there is time enough for anything: even with long commute (which is most often our choice), even with small kids and no grandparents or nannies, even when studying or being a workaholic.

Having no time is a habit and lack of focus. Having no time for smelling flowers and recharging is a bad habit.

Are you saying: yah, right? I would like to repeat that it is a bad habit and it comes from chaotic and scattered attention management, or rather, attention non-management.

Being and feeling rushed with everything causes nervousness, unplanned actions and loss of time. We have to pretty much stick with our daily routine, and that means: if you can spend just 1 hour in front of TV, do not make it 4 hours at the expense of your sleep, or if it’s responding to an e-mail, we cannot make it scrolling through all Instagram or Facebook feeds and new posts. We have to stay on the path.

We don’t do that always, do we?

I am convinced that we are experiencing a chronic feeling of always lacking time. Realistically, we should have more time because there is so much help with housework, shopping and lots of other daily chores; there is automation and so many devices are replacing manual work.

Where does the time disappear?

It evaporates with unexpected, unplanned and also forgotten things. There are so many distractions with anything we just were about to start doing. Time over-consumption is also caused by unreliable and chaotic people who we have to be in touch with. Therefore, I am very convinced that it makes a lot of sense not to deal with people who never have time: either for you, for responding to you or for anything in their life; who cancel things because they never intended to do something in the first place, who are always late, who love talking too much or texting too much, or who do not even listen to what you are saying.

Having time for stopping and smelling roses eventually comes down to discipline. First of all: that is self-discipline. It’s not the case that we are always perfect and we never get lost in our good intentions. No human is 100% perfect, and life is never perfect. So, whether we have time for ourselves and whether we can make it for smelling flowers also requires some flexibility in executing our daily tasks, even small ones, and it requires so much more flexibility in tackling the big ones.

Late autumn, but everything in full bloom

Gentle, delicate, beautiful

When my daughter was just 8 months old, her father passed away. So, I was alone. I got German language teaching job at a countryside school because they provided with a free apartment. However, the free apartment had absolutely no conveniences. I needed wood for heating the stove on which I had to cook and also the heating oven in the other room. I had to take to a high second floor every bucket of water and afterwards I had to take it out. We didn’t have easy to use diapers or formulas these times yet, therefore, I had to manually wash everything since I did not have a laundry machine and I had to cook for daughter something she could consume, which was liquid porridge type of thing most often. There was no heating, so every time when I needed to warm up her food I had to get stove going.

My teaching job was full-time. That happened in the ancient soviet times, so, we didn’t have any nannies. There was no free spot in the kindergarten either if somebody would take such a small kid. I took my daughter to classroom which wasn’t far away, but just in another building. The school principal didn’t mind because they really needed a German language teacher. My daughter was either sitting or sleeping between students. She actually started to speak in full sentences extremely early and she also started to walk just at nine month.

My biggest problem was getting the wood: they showed me large logs which I was allowed to use, and before I could utilize them for heating, I had to split these large logs. I had seen my dad splitting wood, and it looked quite easy. I borrowed a huge axe and got to splitting. That was really tough, especially until I grasped how one tries to hit the right spot on the log. Next thing was to get that wood to the second floor storage. I decided to organize a help team from anybody who was around, and I was very lucky that some older teens and a few other teachers assisted in taking the wood to the second floor.

Salaries were miserably small, I mean, really small. I was doing sewing for people who wanted some outfit. After daily lessons I gave at school, I was sewing wedding dresses, suits, jackets, skirts, dresses, blouses, you name it. Some people offered produce and products instead of money. Well, I didn’t refuse.

I was in the fourth year at the University; I studied foreign languages at that time. Later at night I was preparing my test works, research works, etc. It was a lot of work for one person, however, I managed to read books, go to concerts or dancing to a local club whenever there was something on, too.

I have been thinking a lot: how did I manage to get this done? Practically on my own: full-time job, studying at University, small kid, home chores: wood, water, laundry, cleaning; sewing to make some additional money? People quite frequently don’t have to do even half of that and they are saying there is no time for anything.

The answer is extremely simple: I did not have a TV. Internet wasn’t invented yet. I didn’t have any phone. Nobody was dreaming about something we call smart phone now. I mean, there were practically zero distractions.

It’s impossible to avoid from all distractions with everything going on at once nowadays, however, there is a line which we can draw. We also learn how to say “No”. We sort out priorities and start with the most difficult mandatory tasks, then we move to easier things, and then we enjoy the time we have saved. It shouldn’t be at the expense of sleep, definitely not.

So, we are now free to go and smell and enjoy flowers.

16 thoughts on “Stop and smell the roses

  1. Such a beautiful post and wise words here dear Inese…. You are right: tehre is time for anything… we can make time for (almost) everything… Utilitarism made us believe that we need to gain, conquer, impose ourselves and even beat others… It is the ideology of Individualism… But we are all ONE, might sound like a cliché… But I firmly believe we are all part of the same thing and that energy flows and comes back to a certain extent… Being kind
    to ourselves and others is the best thing. Making time for what really matters is a powerful thing… Sending much love! 😘💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aquileana! I just returned from a trip to my native land Latvia. It was a month during which I could take a break from all news, good and bad, and I could just focus on these important things. The important things for me are usually mental and artistic experiences that sharpen mind and brain, that make me see and sense more and that allow enjoying simplicity and unity with nature. It is all so opposite the American daily routine. I am wondering whether somebody can be genuinely happy as they rush through every day and grab small bits of everything?
      Being informed is one thing, but being buried under internet trash is something completely different. I wish more people sort of returned to their senses and stopped being such easy-to-manipulate pawns on the global chess board.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. theburningheart

    So true, I remember the days when there was no other distraction, but a good book!

    I grew up in a place, and times, when there where no satellites, and far from TV stations to transmit the signal, therefor no TV, no personal phones, no computers, or electronic gadgets, no washing, and drying machines, our first gas stove we got when I was six years old, our first refrigerator eight, or nine, our first television set I was already 15, and there was almost nothing really interesting on TV but the news, when I left home at seventeen, it took me ten years to buy one!
    I finally got rid of my last TV set when I got my first computer in 2004, and I rather search the internet for information, than entertainment, save the rare occasional movie, I got little time for entertainment, of any kind, do not even care about sports.
    Although reading books, blogs, and information I search on the internet, take great part of my time, still do my home shores, and errands like anybody else.
    I agree time management it’s the key.
    And yes, even if I do not have a garden, wherever I pass by a rose bush, I do smell them!
    Occasionally will buy flowers and bring them home, as well. 🙂


    1. You are doing all the right things, including smelling roses.
      I also did not watch until probably 30 or so. It was exactly the same: mostly news. I always preferred reading a book whenever there was a book and movie, because reading allows me to create characters as I feel them, in a movies I have to with what somebody thought was fitting. Very often movies were much worse than books.
      My medical writing job takes abnormal research. I have one day genetics, and some cardiac clinical trial next time. It is very frequently for medical professionals, I do translations, too, and I am helping out companies like Pfizer sell their products in Europe, it is just so that it is an underpaid job which requires top knowledge and lots of research, but pays peanuts.
      Well, exercising brain is good!
      Thanks for the nice comment!


      1. theburningheart

        Ma passion it’s reading, and studying the stuff I care for, I am a little bit eclectic, however now day with so many information out there it’s hard to have the time to read anything, so I have to sacrifice, and be selective of what I read, now day.
        About your work, maybe you would do better teaching privately as a tutor, to young college students in your specialty, in Toronto?
        Just an idea, of course you know better. 🙂


      2. Toronto would be great, I just cannot afford to have a studio there. I I was teaching straight in Toronto or having my studio there, I definitely had no problem. It is a great place for arts, just like most of multi-million cities.
        I am about 70 km from Toronto. I have to see a doctor on Tuesday who is in the West end (I am in the East side of the lake Ontario, East end), so it’s going to take me the entire day to get there and back on trains, buses and cabs.
        I would describe this particular neighborhood as somewhat ignorant and not that much interested in arts. I do get students who drive all the way from Toronto to be in my class. Well, people who can naturally draw without using any photos or printers and similar are becoming very rare. I have this natural talent. I just started to draw when I was 3 or so. Nobody ever had time to either send me to special classes or schools. I did on my own until I felt it was happening. I checked out one day portraits I was drawing on note book paper (I didn’t have good drawing paper), and I could draw as good as do now when I was just 10 years old.
        Research is what we have have to do. It is wonderful that it is a passion.
        My medical stuff sometimes involves so much research that I cannot look at a computer.
        I do not, I sometimes do not look at phone or computer for quite a few days.
        You articles show that research you do has resulted in a high level of knowledge. Not superficial knowledge, but deep insight into something.


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