I know what you’re thinking: “What in the world is a Time-Burger???” I thought the same thing two weeks ago in my human development class when the group presenting said we were going to do an activity called the Time-Burger. What??? And then they started to explain…
Well, here’s the thing. The more I think about this Time-Burger, the more it makes sense. Apparently it is designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 12 to think about how they spend their time, but I think this can be a really great exercise for teens and adults too. But first, let me take a step back.
Burgers (hamburgers, turkey-burgers, veggie-burgers, chicken sandwiches… whatever sounds appetizing to you) can have a lot of different toppings. In addition to the choice of different meats, you could choose lettuce of many different types, sprouts, tomato, onion, avocado, a plethora of cheeses, pineapple, mushroom, bacon, pickles, onion rings, egg, carrots, cucumbers, olives, jalapenos… you could put almost anything you want on that burger! And then you could pick so many different types of bread! How about a pretzel roll? Yum! And don’t even get me started on sauces! Would you like to be traditional with ketchup, mustard, or relish? Maybe you like mayo, BBQ sauce, horseradish, aioli… I used to go to a burger place that had apricot sauce for their burgers – it was amazing! They had tzatziki sauce too! I always had trouble deciding there.
Burgers are a lot like life. We have lots of choices of what we could do, lots of choices for how to fill our time, or… our burger. If we put too much in our burger, we’re not going to be able to open our mouths wide enough to eat it, sort of like if we put too much in our lives, we end up just running from place to place feeling overwhelmed, trying to cram it all in… instead of just enjoying the parts we’ve chosen. So while I want to put almost all of those things I listed above on my burger, I know that in reality that burger wouldn’t taste very good. And I’m sure I’d have a hard time getting it in my mouth.
So, let’s look at the Time-Burger I filled out in class. For this exercise they picked the toppings for me, and I got to decide what the toppings represented. They suggested that I think about what makes up the meat of my life, and I chose school. My graduate program in counseling is really the focus in my life right now. Of course I can’t make it through life without sleep, and a burger is hardly a burger without a bun! I wanted to make both the top and the bottom bun sleep, but I realized that then I wouldn’t get everything into the day (I mean burger), so I had to accept less sleep. Sound familiar? Work is the other big thing in my life, so that took over the top of the bun. Those were the obvious things I definitely had to have.
In class the group pointed out that some ingredients in a burger are not as exciting, but we see them as necessary. The lettuce looked like iceberg to me, which I don’t find very exciting, so I decided that the lettuce would be all my life maintenance: laundry, dishes, cleaning, paying bills, making food, and so many other little things. I’d rather I didn’t have to do these things, but they do have to be done. I also spend a lot of time in the car, so I decided that commuting needed to be a part of the burger. I like tomatoes, and would rather have made them something else, but the truth is that I spend that time commuting. I could make different choices in my life to reduce commuting, but I haven’t, so right now my tomatoes don’t get to be exciting.
So, now I just have the pickles and the sauce left. There’s not a ton of time in the day for fun, but if there’s not something nice on my burger I’m not going to want to keep eating it, right? And I do love pickles! So, I need a little time with friends and family and to be entertained, maybe watch a little television. That’s one of the things that makes it exciting/relaxing and keeps us going, right?! And what I really love to do is to go running. I’m a distance runner, but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been running at all. Running is the sauce in my life. When I’m able to run, it gives everything a little more flavor – I’m happier, I’m less stressed out, I sleep better… that sauce is really important! Lately I haven’t had any sauce in my life, and I hadn’t realized how much I missed it until I tried to make my Time-Burger. I went out running two days after this exercise. It made me so happy to be out, to feel like I was actively putting the sauce into my burger of life.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: You get to choose how you spend your time – what you put in your burger. If you aren’t choosing then maybe you’re still eating the burger you decided on years ago. Is that still the burger you want? There are certain things you need/have to do and certain things you want. At most “build-your-own” places (and life is most definitely build-your-own!), you pay extra after a certain number of toppings. I’m thinking that might be paying with less sleep, less time for other things that are important for you, or just a harder time eating the whole burger. So, what’s on your burger? Too much? Too little? Too boring? Do you have some things you want in there? What’s your sauce of life?
If you are bored with your burger, maybe you need to change it up – maybe you need to try some avocado instead of your usual tomato. If you’re overwhelmed by your burger, maybe you need to think about what you can choose to leave off. Or maybe you just need more sauce. I know I did.
If you need help reconsidering your burger or changing what’s on it, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando at 407-355-7378. Our experienced counselors and life coaches are here to guide you and give you the support you need on your journey.
Happy eating! ~Krista