During my first trip to Uganda several years ago, I learned all about being on “Uganda time.” This had nothing to do with clocks or time zones. It was more about the practical realities of getting to your destination – not necessarily when you wanted to be there or were supposed to be there, but when you were able to. Many people had to walk or ride bikes wherever they were going, so weather and other factors had a big impact. But everyone understood this, and no one ever obsessed over it. It was a given, and if you were teaching a class or presenting a workshop – as my team and I were often doing – you just had to accept that people would get there when they got there, and you adjusted your program accordingly.

I was thinking about this recently, after it occurred to me that my husband and I are now on “Retirement time.” It’s not the same as Uganda time, but there are some similarities. We rarely set an alarm clock, yet we’re usually up fairly early. We go to the fitness center together on most days, and plan or discuss the day’s activities on our way home. Our days are often a combination of work we want to do at – or on—the house, plus errands and other activities or events. Around 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, one of us will glance at our watch and say, “Look at the time! Where has the day gone?”

It’s not a statement of frustration or exasperation, as it is for many of us when we come to the end of our day or our energy, having barely put a dent in our to-do list. Instead, it’s usually in amazement that another day – a full and rewarding day – is winding down. We look back at the day and acknowledge all that we’ve accomplished, rather than focusing on anything that was not quite finished or is yet to be done. That’s what tomorrows are for.

The difference – and it’s a big one—between ending the day feeling productive and positive or feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled, isn’t really about how much you’ve accomplished in a day, or how much you didn’t get done. It’s more about attitude and acceptance.

You may not be on Uganda time. Or retirement time. But whatever time it is, wherever you are, remember that some circumstances are beyond your control, and obsessing over them won’t improve your life in any helpful way. At the end of each day, be sure to recognize and acknowledge your accomplishments, however large or small they may be. Make it a habit. Make it special. Make it your time.

May 12, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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