In this fast-paced world in which we live, it’s important, say psychologists, to make some time to think.
Without these personal moments of reflection, ‘we are destined to be dragged through life like a clown with his Y-fronts caught on the horns of a bucking rodeo bull. Tossed in the air and dumped in the dust, before being gored and trampled into a bloody heap of bones and snot.’ (Confucius, 470BC).
Being a dad of two boys, I once cherished this “me time.” Tomorrow is the anniversary of the last time I was able to stop and think. I managed to get 35 minutes between clearing the shed and nipping out to buy nappies on June 1, 2001.
I don’t recommend it. Far better to live in the present than be given time to contemplate the future. Take the referendum. The longer politicians study the issue, the more problems they find. David Cameron was happy to encourage a referendum on Europe during his election campaign, thinking it a good idea to let the people decide.
Today, he is warning that to vote to leave the EU could lead to World War Three.
If he really thought that, why agree to a referendum in the first place? Surely he should have stood his ground and said, ‘I can’t agree to a referendum for fear the wrong result could drag our nation into global conflict.’
Honestly, if I had time to think about it, I’d be worried.
As it is, the rollercoaster of life precludes thought. With two football daft boys playing for local junior clubs, my life revolves around driving them to and from games, training sessions, boot buying and kit washing. Thankfully the season has ended. Giving me, in theory, plenty of “me time” to contemplate the future. Except, as anyone with a child in a junior football team knows, there is no season end.
After our boys’ last games, we had to wash and return their kit, to be told the following week the trials begin!
It’s non-stop. Even on my days off there is no thinking time. I was awoken one morning with our youngest, Isaac, 12, standing by my bed demanding breakfast.
“I need eggs,” he said. “And I need dad to cook them.”
Before I could speak, my wife laid down the law. In a beautifully constructed lecture she told our boy that he must become more independent instead of insisting that his father get up and do what he is perfectly capable of doing himself. She outlined the sacrifices we both make to ensure our Isaac and his brother have the best start in life but that we are not machines and that our time must be respected too.
“Your dad is more than happy to help you,” she said. “But he’s not your slave.”
Our crestfallen Isaac apologised and headed downstairs to make his breakfast.
I turned and kissed my wife. “You couldn’t fetch me a cup of tea, could you?” she said. Hmm...
Thinking time is overrated.
Rather than contemplate life’s grim eventuality, learn to love the struggle, grappling those metaphorical Y-fronts with a smile.