WARNING: Under no circumstances should you say “yes” to coffee at 8:30 pm, especially when the cable is out. It seemed like a good idea at the time, the taste of a strong cup of coffee to cap off a delightful Asian-fusion meal with good company.  It looked appealing in the glass carafe, brewed to order just for me.   It was a superb cup of coffee, but now at 12:20 am on a school night, I am regretting every last drop.

I generally don’t suffer from insomnia, and if I can’t fall asleep from time to time, I find watching mindless television lulls me into slumber.  So filled with caffeine and without cable, I have “found time”  –  a concept new to me. Honestly, it makes me a little uncomfortable.  I have things I need time to do, but I don’t think moving my bedroom furniture around is the smartest idea.  Then I have things I want time to do, like writing, which is a perfectly appropriate post-midnight activity.

It is challenging to discern my needs and wants when it comes to time.  After all, I have a complicated relationship with time – I am grateful to have it, while at the same time I mourn the loss of it. I always seem to want more of it, but there just never seems to be enough.  But when it comes to needs and wants, I struggle to find a balance.

While my cancer is in remission, I am still in treatment.  This means I suffer from immunotherapy-induced fatigue, along with the general fatigue that comes from everyday life.  As a result, I need to get sleep and make time for rest.  I am very conscientious about time, and try to hold fast to a 5:30 am wake up and 7:30 pm lights out.

Yes, I often go to bed earlier than a 5th grader, but this is what I need to do to maintain my rigorous schedule.  I wake up, turn on Morning Joe, grab a cup of coffee, walk Sadie, and prepare for the day.  My “school day” kicks off around 7:30 am and runs until late afternoon. I then enter the twilight zone when I begin to wind down – make dinner, prep for the next day of classes, take Sadie out, and hop in bed between 7:30-8:00 pm. I’m very conscientious about time; I need to make every minute count so my stamina stays in check.

But, I want to have fun.  “Use your time wisely,” isn’t that what your teacher told you?  That means I make choices, and sometimes the wisest use of my time is for fun, contentment, relaxation…sometimes it’s dinner with friends, a movie night, getting caught up in a good book, writing, even a concert here or there.  I let go of my rigid, self-imposed schedule, and indeed use my time in the wisest of ways by finding joy.

The clock keeps ticking…12:45 am now…I wonder what tomorrow will bring without my usual nine to ten hours of sleep – a hot mess is the likely result. But, I think I’ve used my time wisely because writing brings me joy, and so did that cup of coffee.