There’s wisdom in the Twitterverse. But you folks all knew that, right?
I was bemoaning (in 140 characters or less) the directionless feeling I was having, which came from leaving my daughter at a bus that would take her to a plane that would take her out of the country for two weeks, when my cyberspace friend, the lovely Diane Brandmeyer, suggested that today, I should do two things I love to do but can’t when the house is full. She also told me not to count cleaning my daughter’s room OR doing laundry among my activities today.
Brilliant idea. Until I began to think about what those two things might be.
I know what I love to do: read novels, write in my journal, hike/walk with my dog, swim in the ocean, drink wine with girlfriends/dirty martinis with the husband, dance with or without music or other people around, take a luxurious nap on a blanket at the beach, or watch sappy movies or funny movies or serious films. Just the first ideas that come to mind.
So pick two. Easy peasy. The list is right there, waiting for me to decide.
Revelation: Decision making is not among my finest honed skills. I’d rather check my email, Facebook and Twitter accounts for the fifth time this morning or play that annoying, addictive, mind-numbing game of Spiderette Solitaire on my Ipad than stop and choose two things from a list of eight.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. There are things that should get done that are being ignored. And I’m still not doing something I love.
And here it comes: I’m starting to feel guilty about not doing the things that should get done. Look at the list and choose, I order myself. Boldly. Internally. Silently. And therein lies the problem — I can pretend I never placed the order because I didn’t say it out loud.
I’ve noticed a theme popping up in my blog writing. Something that often tortures a character in the novel I am writing, as well. Instead of making a simple choice (that could result in happiness) and doing it, whatever it is, this character (me in the blog) prefers to numb herself to reality. However, my novel character chooses the overuse of prescription medication while I lean toward avoiding real life by playing Words With Friends or Hanging With Friends (have you tried this one? It’s kind of like Hangman but more wordy, which makes it more fun.)
I did create a plan last night of how I was going to use my newfound freedom wisely over the next two weeks. Both a productive plan and one that will distract me from thinking about my oldest child, who most likely is having the time of her life and hasn’t thought of me once, except maybe when she first left and wondered why I looked so sad.
The plan consists of three things that I will commit to several days a week: exercise, novel writing, and blogging. It goes without saying that I will take care of my other child (and dog and husband) and will do the routine things that have to get done each day, but this plan is about focus. Daily aerobic exercise, tri-weekly strength training, 2000 words/day novel writing, blog posts 2x/week.
Today is day one of my plan: I did the aerobic exercise first thing, I’m working on the blog now, but I haven’t begun to work on the novel and it is almost noon, time to retrieve my other daughter, feed her, and take her several towns over to a friend’s house. But there is time, while daughter #2 is with her friend. Four or five hours to get those 2000 words down. But when will I do the two things I love?
I could say that I love the exercise and the writing of blog posts and the novel writing, so why bother putting attention on choosing two things from the other list? I’ll tell you why. Even though I love those three things above, I also feel obligated to do them. I don’t feel obligated to read novels or watch movies or go for an ocean swim (which could be counted as aerobic exercise except for the fact that I prefer to float more than to swim when I get out there.) To do something I don’t feel obligated to do gives me a sense of freedom that I rarely feel day to day. Because of all the responsibilities.
Like this one: I’m off to pick up daughter #2.
While she is at her friend’s house, I will write my 2000 words. And I will choose two things from my “love to do” list and do them. I’m not picking them yet because I don’t want it to feel like doing these things are a chore, something I have to accomplish. That will take away from the feeling of freeness, which, as I mentioned before, matters to me a lot.
To allow myself the freedom to choose to do two of those “love to do” things, I plan to bring my Kindle, my journal, walking shoes, a bathing suit and a beach towel/blanket with me to wherever I may go (Starbucks) to write. Can’t do the alcohol thing there nor dance or watch movies (well, I could go to ITunes and download a movie from there, but . . . )
It’s so easy to say that you are going to go after the things that make you happy, but when it comes down to it, taking the time to do those things is never easy. At least not for me.
How about you? What things do you love to do that you don’t feel obligated to do? Do you get to them often? And if so, can you offer up some how-to suggestions for the rest of us?
I'd love to hear what you think. Share in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Please share my posts with your friends by clicking on the FB, Twitter, or email share buttons found below. And if you like what you've read, click on the Facebook like button.
You won't miss a post if you sign up to receive my musings by email (see the sidebar on this page).