Do Two Things You Love

Not me but it could be if I got tan and thin. πŸ™‚

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 β€” 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 write about daily life, arts & culture, food, books, nature, animals, parenting, relationships, self-discovery, & more.

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16 thoughts on “Do Two Things You Love

  1. I loved this post–it may have been inspired by me but you rocked it!
    I have a hard time doing what I love too. I do know what it is: sewing and it seems I don’t make time for it often enough. I have those words to write, blog posts and words with friends πŸ™‚ I’m glad you have a list and may find a way to do a few of those fun things. Life is too short to do only obligations.

    1. I was needing to be inspired, so thank you. I just saw pictures from my daughter’s first day abroad and she looks like she is very happy. Not that I expected anything different. It was good to jot down the list because I don’t always think to go to those things. With the list, now I have somewhere to look to remind me what I can do. πŸ™‚

  2. Sara, I really enjoyed your post today. We, as women have so many things tugging at us from all sides every day. Too many things to do. And the things we want to do get put aside for the many things we need to do. Why is it so hard for us to do the things that we want to do? So in the next two weeks I hope you achieve everything that you wish to do for yourself. And that it makes you happy! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Karen. I so appreciate your stopping by and commenting. For me, making a list of the things I love to do, without feeling obligation, is a good start to moving toward doing those things. I hope you have a wonderful day and week and get to do a few of your favorite things.

  3. I was off of work last week and when the sun FINALLY came out for summer, I made a pont to sit out in the sunshine and read – something I haven’t created time for in months. I usually read just before falling asleep and subsequently don’t get very far each night. Sitting and reading for an hour over 5 days, I was amazed at how quickly I cranked through my book. I had to laugh at myself over how tickled I was at this seemingly small thing. I’m glad you’ve made yourself a list and have a goal to do the things you love. Maybe it will become a habit after doing that sort of thing for 2 weeks straight… πŸ™‚

    1. Reading in the sun sounds lovely. I think it’s the little things that make us the happiest, although if I got the opportunity to read in the sun in Africa or the South of France, that wouldn’t be so bad. Reading anything worth recommending?

  4. Hi Sara; two things I love to do are be ingwith my best girlfriends and going to the beach. Love to tackle both of these with you! Maybe we could even walk on the beach and get that excersize thing in while we are at it.

  5. Loved this post – you put a big part of my daily dilemma so nicely!! Glad to have such wonderful company on the journey!!

    1. You and me and just about every woman I know. Good company indeed. Nice to hear from you Debbie. Hope all is well on the left coast.

  6. Good gracious, Sara, so often I find myself reading your blog and thinking “Yes, yes, this is me!!!,” and this gorgeous post is no exception. It’s really quite wonderful how you’ve nailed not only the complications (duty, guilt, obligations…guilt, guilt, guilt) of being a woman, but also the cherry on the sundae of being a mother. Why we feel so shameful for cultivating leisurely thoughts, is a mystery I so often tangle with. I’m convinced that there is a magic recipe for capturing that [somewhat] perfect balance, but like the Holy Grail it remains elusive.

    A few weeks ago I did find myself in a strangely comforting state over the course of several days, where I worked on my NIP without interruption, passed long hours reading for pleasure, jotted notes and blog ideas, etc. It was altogether unexpected for the fact I was spending these long afternoons in the company of a loved one undergoing chemotherapy. As anxious as I might’ve been, I instead found myself incredibly in-tune and appreciative of simple and altogether delicious pleasures. And yet, how sad that it took something so altogether sobering, to allow me to feel okay about reading, writing, quietly breathing in and out…

    1. You know what they say about great minds . . . I’ve had more than a few women who live locally stop me today and say exactly what you just said about how we are all so similar in how we feel as women and mothers. It has been wonderful for me to feel so connected, since at times I do wonder if I am the only one out there feeling the way I do.

      I don’t think it is strange at all that we find ease and comfort when we face things that are so beyond our control and possibly devastating. Like you said, it is those times when you realize on a visceral level how fragile our lives are and you are able, finally, to appreciate each moment. It sure would be nice if we could get there more often and not have to see the worst to let ourselves live our lives as we envision them. Something to work on. Day by day. Like the song says.

  7. I could use better decision-making skills too. Or maybe it’s not the actual decision making itself, but the sticking to the decisions made. Like you, I’m good at finding excuses to ditch the idea of ‘treating myself to something I love’ in favor of doing what’s expected of me or what I deem more important. Most of us could benefit from learning to ‘pay it forward’ to ourselves on occasion. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Pay it forward to ourselves. Women, in particular, need to appreciate the deep meaning in that statement. Thanks, Elaine.

  8. It took six days without power to release me to read five books on my TBR list. Why do I have to wait til the power is off to do something I love?
    I can easily make lists, and often do, but making the choices between the items is harder. Reminds me of a TS Eliot line that I love, “Decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” That fits me, although I am trying to be more focused.
    Thanks for this article. I connected with your thoughts.

    1. How great that you read five books in six days. Always looking for the silver lining. The hard part about making lists (at least for me) is that I can hide them from myself or simply ignore them. Which I do all too often.

So what do you think?