My husband loves baseball. Like seriously – he loves the pace, the strategy, the statistics, the rules, and all the nuances of the game. Since he was a boy he has enjoyed playing and watching the game. He also loves time. He is a respecter of time and an observer of time. These two loves merge in another fascination for him – interstitial time. The first time he spoke to me about this topic I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Now, I find it becoming a focus in my daily life. In fact, it is an issue of Goodness.
Simply put, interstitial time is the time in-between. The time that the runner stands at first base waiting to run to second, that is interstitial time. The time it takes a student to walk from third period class to fourth period or the time it takes you to drive from home to work – interstitial time. The time you wait for your computer to reboot or for the clothes to dry, that is also interstitial time. Think how much of it we have in our lives. How much in-between time do you have? More importantly, what do you do with it?
As humans, we tend to focus all our attention on moving from one big event in life to the next – marriage, children, promotions, vacations. Seldom do we focus on the time in-between, but that is where the real “life” happens. All the little or long moments in between the big events make up MOST of our lives, but too often we are living for the next thing – when the kids get bigger, when the car is paid off, when the summer gets here. We are a people obsessed with the next big thing and we are often wasteful with our interstitial time. Instead of having a wealth of happy memories and “life” we end up with a few highlight reels and some trinkets. If we could only learn to respect the time in-between. Honoring it would add Goodness to our lives.
We need to become Interstitial Time Lords. If you are a Doctor Who fan then you know exactly what I mean. In the fictional BBC series Dr. Who, Time Lords are an extraterrestrial group of beings who are able to live outside of linear time. They can see time all at once, what was, what is, and what can be and they thus have the ability to “lord” over time. If we began to see interstitial time as important and valuable we could command so much more of it for our benefit.
In the small scope of things, think about ways you could maximize your interstitial time. Think about where you have “in-between” time in your days. Is there a goal you have in your life, like learning a foreign language or sending more hand written notes? Think of things that can be accomplished in 5, 10, and 15 minute increments. Now plan to have these things on hand to accomplish during your in-between times. Here are some ideas:
1. Make flash cards for something you want to learn and have them at the ready.
2. Check out a book on tape that you want to read so that you can listen to it in the car on your way to work.
3. Keep a devotional book in your purse or glove box so that you can read and be encouraged while waiting in the car for the kids.
4. Create a box of note cards, stamps, and pens so that you can jot a note to encourage someone in a spare moment.
5. Keep a journal nearby so that you can write about something important to you or make observations.
6. Rest in your interstitial times – learn to meditate and focus yourself.
7. Keep a craft or hobby nearby like knitting that can be picked up on a whim, or store a watercolor tablet, paint and brushes in the kitchen so that you can sketch a bit as you work on other things.
In the grand scheme of things, begin to see the importance in the in-between time. Consider ways to enhance this time with your friends or family. Begin to celebrate the more mundane things in life. Plan little gatherings, go on dates, seek adventure, or make new goals that can be achieved in the “mean time.” Maybe you have always wanted to learn to play an instrument or start doing yoga. Do it NOW. Whether you use this time for rest or increased productivity, USE IT! Raise your awareness of it and embrace the now-time, especially since there is so much more of it than the “highlight” moments.
Shift your focus from the future to Now. How will you want to remember this time in 20 years? What will make it meaningful and useful to you? Keep your heart open to learning new things and making memories. Think about ways you can create Goodness. Each day is sacred unto itself. And as Mary Oliver says, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Take hold of the interstitial time in your life and use it for Goodness’ sake. It will become a rich treasure for you and you will be creating your legacy of Goodness! Being an Interstitial Time Lord has timeless benefits and they are all within your reach.
What do you do with the in-between time?