Okay, then, let's start with a job and bingo, you can say good bye to 40+ hours a week. I hasten to add that they are good hours. I love my work and wouldn't want to change that at this time - I appreciate the paycheck too (since the kids have flown the coop to college). Next, consider that the aging body needs time and attention and I am not referring to botox and boob lift time! No, general maintenance for good health necessitates, for me, at least an hour daily of physical exercise. Again, I don't object to this as I generally enjoy the physical exercise, particularly when it involves my bicycle or walking with a friend. But besides the cardiovascular workout, I have to do some weight lifting (you gotta be able to lift yourself out of the bathtub!) and I should be doing more flexibility stuff. The years make the joints stiff and stretching the body appears to be the solution. The whole exercise package can easily add up to another twelve hours a week. Bye bye, precious time. Besides exercise, I do choose to use time to keep myself reasonably presentable, ie, shower, wash hair, slap some sunscreen and foundation on, figure out what to wear, get an occasional haircut and, yes, color the hair every so often - Bingo! average another 6 or 7 hours a week just to attempt to not present like a bag lady.
While we are on the topic of maintenance, let's consider house, laundry, and food. Enough said. Chalk up ten hours a week and know that none of them gets the attention they demand. If my time were without borders, I wouldn't mind futzing with the house or doing something beyond salad and some kind of protein for dinner but, for now, these are called chores and the least amount of time I spend here, the better.
And why exactly do two dogs live at my house? Because they were once irresistible and now they are friends, fun, and a part of the family. And they require time...... But they do bring us to my last category for now: people. People are the best and the reason that all the rest of life exists. And people is where I choose to put my time too! Family first followed by the best friends a person could want. Remember that list from twenty years ago? Did you notice that "friends" was absent from that list? Not an oversight but the way it was. Yes, there were friends and family with whom I shared time but growing healthy kids didn't allow much time for growing strong friendships. And the older I get , the more I want to envelope myself with connections. I thrive on conversation and laughter, on shared confidences and tears. I need my friends. I need my family. And they can have my time.