• Rhyena Halpern

Is the Almighty Clock Your Real Boss?

or How to End Your War with Time in Your Third Act


I used to think that the concept of an all powerful Boss, ie God, had been replaced by the great arbiters of modern life: Hormones and Time.


All around me, I saw how hormone levels and the number of hours in a day literally drove and shaped everyone’s days. But as a former multi-tasking, stressed out working mom with long hours on the job, a long commute and then long hours managing home life, I mostly vibrated to the belief that Time was all powerful and all controlling.


What surprises me the most about my life right now is my peaceful relationship with Time. It had always been a war. Wringing out every second. Making it count. Time was a commodity; something to possess and use obsessively. Piling up 2, now 14, which became 27, and jumped to 56 which rabidly divided into 719 things to do at this time.My life was crossing off items on lists diligently. Managing and tightening around the most important, non-negotiable tasks of the day. Constructing an efficiency machine that ran on getting to all my ‘have to’s’. It didn’t matter if that meant I worked 16 hours in a day or was up at 3 am working. I was obligated. I HAD TO. Have to prepare the powerpoint. Have to answer 130 high priority emails. Have to write the report. Have to handle this sensitive work situation. Driven. Compulsive. Hard. Have to. Fucking commute. I have to go food shopping so I can put out something for dinner that is half way healthy. I have to make sure homework is done, permission slips signed, clothes laundered, lunch made, soccer practice arranged. Have to. Have to. Ramped up high. Squeezing time. Can’t waste a minute. Lucky if I slept 5 hours. Do you relate?


Always, always the things I yearned to do, needed to do to feed my spirit, those things waiting patiently at the bottom of the list, ignored again, sometimes grazed for a flirtatious moment and then abandoned. Stress. Sizzling, bloody, ugly stress. Chronic stress eating away at my soul. Do you relate?


Now I can breathe. Ahhh. I have a plan for my retirement, otherwise known as My Third Act. Amazingly enough I do the things I used to yearn for every day. The formula has flipped. I actually ‘have’ time rather than ‘having’ to do. No more time wars.


After 18 months of study and boards, I became a certified Functional Medicine health and wellness coach. Love it!


There is the book club I joined last year (20 years of yearning). The writing club (same). The wellness cohort meetings. The total joy of afternoons spent reading (40 years of yearning).


The hospice volunteering with patients as well as running Death Cafes and Advance Directive Trainings (10 years yearning). The Shabbat ritual every Friday night including relishing the words of Mary Oliver and Marge Piercy (15 years yearning).


Staying in bed for more than 7 hours of restful sleep- sometimes even for 8 hours. Lingering in bed until the sun rises bringing light to the day. Such a luxury to not HAVE TO get up in the dark. Netflix binge watching (Pose! Work in Progress! Schitt’s Creek rules! Frankie and Grace!).


Babysitting step-grandkids. Hanging with my daughters during breaks from college. Pilates and yoga. Meditation. Stretching. Soaking in the spa. Cooking healthy, simple food. Journaling. Developing a writing practice.Writing. Writing. Writing again. Thinking. Planning for coaching. Coaching.


Decluttering and letting go of STUFF. Dinners with friends and travel to Morocco, Tahiti, Oregon, Montreal, the San Juan Islands, the California Redwoods. Ahh, time is my dearest friend, not a vengeful god! A life composed of lovingly having sweet time. Composing a life with time as a dear friend. Saying goodbye to my time wars.


Unraveling those tight ropes and getting comfortable.I love having time. 40 years of time wars turning towards time peace. From ramped up too high, too much, too driven, to relaxing into less. Everyday a bit less of a grip and a bit more ease. Every day is the Sabbath, the holy time of renewal. Breathing out, I pray for many more days.


Do you have a War with Time? What is your Third Act plan? What Feeds Your Spirit?



Working Moms Stress Management Time Retirement Retirement Planning

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Third Act Coaching

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office: San Francisco Bay Area       rhyhalpern@thirdactcoaching.org

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