For all us over-achievers, perfectionists and gotta get it done people, have you ever felt like you were driving yourself crazy with all the stuff you felt like you had to do all the time? It seems I’m always wanting to fill my free time with something productive. Clean the closets, workout, work on classes, organize the cabinets, catch up on correspondence, dust, grocery shop. All the stuff that will still be there if I don’t do it immediately. I feel like if I stop for one second that it will all just explode into an unmanageable mess. When I get like this I can feel my stress levels going through the roof. My husband could lie in bed on Sunday reading and drinking coffee and not get out of bed until 3 pm and consider that time well spent. That’s a hard one for me to wrap my head around as I feel I should be ‘using’ that time by ‘doing’ something – otherwise it’s wasted. My husband would say that it is time well spent resting and just being.
This drive or need I have to always be doing something is somewhat crippling, because I just cannot seem to enjoy doing the things that I love and that bring me pleasure – reading, knitting, painting, cooking, spending time with my husband and friends. In the back of my mind is the laundry list (forgot about the laundry!) of stuff that could fill (kill) my free time. And of late I’ve had to make a very conscious effort to let all the ‘have to’s’ go – reminding myself that they will still be there after I’ve met a friend for coffee or took ten minutes to play with the cat. The things we ‘have’ to do will get done eventually. Time for play and rest is just as important as changing the burned out lightbulb – in fact, even more so as these things bring us happiness, connectedness, inspiration and laughter. In an effort to get out of my own head and stop being so obsessive about vacuuming the stairs, I’ve decided to take some time every day to do something that doesn’t involve a ‘have to’ or a chore. And no multitasking – of which I am the Queen. I want to watch ‘Girls’ without feeling the need to fold the laundry. I want to read a book with a cup of coffee and a cat on my lap and not look up every ten minutes at the stack of mail on the table. I will talk on the phone to a friend and not do the dishes. I want to slow down not only physically but mentally. And stop having panic attacks when I walk in the door at 8 pm and think that I have to cook the chicken I thawed last night RIGHT NOW because if I just kick off my shoes and take a breath and relax and chat with my husband, well then that chicken will just – well it will be, umm, it will….still be sitting in the refrigerator tomorrow and I can cook it then.
See you in class and the studio!