How to Have Time

Time is related to happiness so let’s start with the basics. Happiness should not be your goal. You should aim for a fairly consistent and fairly constant level of comfort, clarity, and calm. Happiness is a manic and, thus, inherently unstable, emotion. To go for happiness is to invite frustration and defeat. Divas don’t go to defeat and don’t stay in frustration – they change or accept, after a brief period of mourning, fretting, sadness and/ or bitchiness.

But finding one’s calm center is not easy [if life were perfect your sainted aunt declares, we would all know it as we would all be born proper Buddhists and she would spend all day sleeping, eating butter pecan ice cream, reading novels and being romantic with a Spanish guy with a fabulous sense of humor. Thus do we know that life is not perfect; it is a struggle].

As I was saying, it’s hard to know how to be calm. Mostly because people dash about in the frantic pursuit of happiness, which vanishes to the exact degree that it is chased. Don’t be like that. Be like this: deliberate. Now you may get to the point, oh I hope not but it seems most people do, where you run all day and yet are never get fulfilled, never get what you want, never get what you need. You luxuriate in the whining, the endless phone calls to friends, why aren’t I happy, the indulgent wallowing about how busy you are, how you never have time for…

Ridiculous – a diva never says, “I don’t have time for.” She either decides a thing is worth making time for or she decides to live without. And please to remember that this is seldom, I do say seldom, a matter of money. A diva says, every morning as she gently and carefully brushes her teeth – “I can have anything I want, I just can’t have everything I want.”

No, don’t you start mewling at me. Divas don’t snivel. Allow me to give you a few examples – a dear friend liked to sleep late, so she put her five-year-old child to bed in clean school clothes. Child awoke, got her face and hair smartened up and they were out the door in ten minutes. Who knew the difference? I like to sleep late so before I go to bed I figure out what I want to wear the next day and what to have for breakfast. From the time I wake up to the time I walk out the door looking fabulous is twenty minutes. Flat. I have a dear friend who needs two hours to get going in the morning. She needs to hit the snooze button a few times, long shower, meander around the house drinking coffee and examining her plants, then she is ready for the day. So she arranges her life accordingly.

Oh I would LOVE to do that, you say, but I just don’t have the time. No griping – you do have the time. You have all the time you want. But IF you choose NOT to wake up in time to have a leisurely morning – then you must make very clear that it is a choice. You choose to spend your mornings in a breathless rush, flitting hither and yon for matching socks, for something to eat, for your keys. What? Are you trying to contradict me? Don’t waste your breath.

What is stopping you from buying or selecting a ‘key bowl’ to deposit your keys in every time you walk in the house? What is stopping you from carefully going through all your socks – throwing out the odd ones and knotting the matching socks together? What is stopping you from always having English Muffins and good jam on hand? No time, you bleat? That’s not the issue. You enjoy a fuss, an uproar, a scene; you adore dashing into the restaurant ten minutes late and launching into your “I’m so busy” spiel. Then your work colleagues or friends try to trump you; the whole group spends an hour commiserating on time. Not a factor of time, my sweet, it’s a factor of desire.

If you honestly wanted matching socks and a good breakfast, you would decline a dinner invitation this weekend and spend the time sorting your drawers and filling your kitchen cabinets. You would haul the TV into your bedroom and attack your sock drawer while watching Gladiator one more time. You would invite a friend or your sister over and redo all your closets, bribing her with her favorite liquor and Mongolian take-out. If you truly wanted to do something – you would make time.

All divas know – if you don’t make time it’s because you don’t really want to, and/ or you are afraid to. Haven’t registered for that ceramics class you have been talking about for years? You’re afraid. Afraid you won’t be good at it. Afraid you will be the worst in the class. Afraid that if you go to class, your children will make dinner for themselves and thus realize they don’t need you there every second of the day. At which point you won’t be a fabulous mother anymore. Afraid that you will be an incredible ceramics artist.

Haven’t ever learned how to program your cell phone? Fear. Afraid no one will call you. Afraid you won’t be able to have an excuse for turning it off. Afraid someone will call, and you’ll have to answer.  Afraid if you stop spinning around like a top on acid you will discover you don’t really like your job, your partner, your child, your lifestyle. Afraid that if you do slow down and do what you always wanted to do (go to Tahiti), that you won’t like it at all. And then you’ll be stuck. You’ll be 35 and have no dream and the next forty years of your life will be a soulless, grey, soppy mess.

If you’re walking around saying, “I would love to meet a nice guy, but I don’t have time.” That’s not a time issue – that’s a fear issue. If you really wanted to do it, you would apply yourself and put in a singles ad, join a dating agency, go to singles events. A diva judges herself and others by their actions – not their whining. If you say it is important but you don’t have “time” for it – it is not important.

I can’t help you with the fear aspect, but I must make it clear that divas are not unafraid. Divas are often sacred silly, they just refuse to continue to give into anxiety. They invoke Saint Ann (Landers). “You’re going to turn 35, 47, 59, 62, 75,” they mutter to themselves through clenched teeth, “You might as well turn that age having jumped out of a plane, graduated high school, asked for the raise, moved to Korea, asked the guy out for coffee. Might as well get on with it.”

Divas all over the world are spending tonight watching the Yankees lose, calling friends, watching Casablanca, eating popcorn and shaking in their shoes over the brave new thing they have to do tomorrow. The difference between divas and trolls is that divas whimper a bit and then get on with it. Trolls whimper stay under their bridges and grow hairy warts on their noses.

Child, listen. At one time in my life I worked Monday to Saturday, but I decided that I needed to see a movie every week. Now seeing a movie meant taking two different buses, neither of which ran on a fixed schedule, so getting to the bus stops, waiting for the buses, watching the movies and getting home again took about five hours. Which meant the majority of the day was gone. But did your sainted aunt complain? Perish the thought. I made my decision on how to spend my time and I stuck with it. This is how a diva lives and do you see so much as a ghost of a wrinkle on my face, despite my advanced years? No, I thought now. Deliberate living leads to a lovely complexion if I do say so myself.

Now here is a very important counter story – dear friend decided to take her life in hand and get up early in the morning, within three days she was miserable and unable to function. Why? She forgot the rule “anything you want – not everything.” She was getting up early but did not do anything to counteract the fact that she was getting 2 hours less sleep per night. Thus the path the trolldom. She refused to cut anything out of her life and wanted a job, happy children, a full social life, full spiritual component, fabulous marriage, an intensive beauty regime and gorgeous lawn with no help from anyone. Divas laugh at such people. Ha ha ha.

Divas enlist children to clean and cook, divas get spouses on a housework schedule, divas find creative ways to keep up with friends (side by side facials, taking your laundry to her house, even when you have your own washer), divas use traffic jams to discuss matters with God and hire college students for all possible extra jobs. Divas, calm, poised, at peace with the world, have time for anything.