This is so hard to do when you live in a city. I’m sure it’s difficult in other parts of the country too, but there’s something about living in a city that makes the go, go, go way of life seem normal and acceptable. Damn consumerism.
Yesterday I had grand plans for my day. For the first time in weeks I had no one I needed to even speak to all day. I did not have any obligations to anyone but myself. So, being a good city girl, I planned my day within an inch of it’s life.
I started at the farmers market and, no lie, I started plotting out my course as soon as I got there. Seeing all the people and feeling a little hungry, I decided first that I would get some food, eat it really quickly and then do my shopping. After picking up some amazing strawberries and some soft focaccia, I plopped down on the grass opposite some horseshoe pits and dug in.
There was an adorable little boy no more than 18 months who was going from one horseshoe pit to another and saying, “One, Toth, Free!” and then attempting to jump but only really hop stepping. His parents were nearby on a blanket simply watching. Not interfering, not freaking out when he stumbled, just laughing at his delight in learning. Soon after a man came by with his kids, a little girl around 4 and her brother, around 18 months also. The minute they got there the father said, “Go run.” and proceeded to get on his phone. He was digging into to something in a bag, shoving pieces occasionally into the little boys mouth while talking on the phone and at the same time telling his kids to avoid this and that’s too dangerous and go play and no you can’t play with that other kid.
Now I don’t want to judge, not having kids myself. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be a parent. I have no idea the struggles they go through. But what I did notice is how I felt watching these two separate families and how I was, like this man, attempting to do a million things at once, barely registering any of them. The other family seemed at peace, something I am constantly searching for and I believe a big part of that is because of their relishing in their child. Nothing else seemed important to them but that moment with those people.
So I made a decision that is somewhat scary to me: take it easy. If you read this blog regularly than you know I’ve been an unreal kind of busy lately. As a result, I often find myself doing one activity but thinking about and planning the next. I struggle to remain present and watching that little boy attempt to figure out how to jump, being so intent on that goal that he lost himself in it, I realized that I had a day ahead of me packed to the brim, something that I was not really prepared to deal with and would probably be a crying/complaining mess by the end of.
I worry so much about it because I constantly have a to-do list. I’m really bad when I’m responsible for anything or anyone. So even though I didn’t have anyone or thing in particular that I had to do, I have a ton of tiny bits that need to be picked up. So thinking of taking a day where I let some things go scares me. I don’t want to let people down. I also don’t want to be the reason that someone struggles.
As I write this, I can’t help but realize how egotistical that is. The fact that I find myself so intricate to others lives and happiness is pretty self-centered. But I guess we all are in some ways. At least I’m self-centered in the doing right by others way! But truthfully, I’m sure no one would notice if I took a day off.
So I took it easy, so easy that I fell asleep at 9pm and didn’t get a chance to write this. And the world didn’t fall apart. And no one got mad at me. I was able to eat and still have a roof over my head. Sure my library books keep racking up fines. Who cares? Okay, so I have a ton of people waiting for me to respond to emails. Their fine! Okay, so my floor is really nasty and needs to be cleaned. No one’s visiting anytime soon. I can deal.
It felt good to just say, “So what?” all day, like I was free in a sense. And I’ll tell you what, falling asleep on my couch with the windows open and the breeze blowing in was more therapeutic and fulfilling than ticking off any item on that dreaded list.