A friend recently gave me some words of wisdom that I found shocking.
She said, “You’ve been through a lot over the last 18 months – now it’s time to focus on relaxing and self-care and fun.”This perception on her part was shocking in several ways – but most importantly, it invited me think about what HAS been going on in my life.
In the last eighteen months I have had three major surgeries, the trip of a lifetime, selling of a childhood home and subsequent downsizing process, purchase of a new home, loss of my best friend to early-onset Alzheimer’s, a home disaster in our new condo that resulted in almost five months in an extended-stay hotel, my daughter’s first pregnancy, exposure of our cats to the lethal effects of eating an Easter lily (they are fine), and the birth of a granddaughter.
WOW. Or better said, YIKES! Talk about a roller coaster! No wonder my friend had this perception.
Living life is like being in a river. The current is constantly flowing, and we are in that current. It is ongoing, ever-changing, sometimes stormy, sometimes swift and challenging, sometimes slow and lazy, but never the same. Taking the time to climb out onto the bank to observe one’s self in that current can be challenging – and sometimes it takes another person looking in to help us see what has been going on.
My friend’s comment did this for me – and helped me realize something about my own process. I don’t take the time to step back, to rest, to recharge. These last months have really been about “good soldiering”. One step in front of the other, don’t look back, don’t look ahead, just slog on, keep your head down, that’s the best you can do.
It’s not a process that is filled with rest, renewal, or any kind of joy. It is called survival.
Many of us get stuck in this place of survival and adapt to it – it becomes the only way we know how to approach living. To break that mold takes intention and some degree of support. It takes claiming time for yourself to do things that perhaps you don’t normally do – whatever it is that you experience as relaxing and fun and outside the regular track of your life.
What am I doing? I am puttering around with plants for my little patio. I am taking a trip to hear music over Memorial Day. I am going to my college reunion in June. I am planning a trip to Charleston to see my other grandchild. I am planning a trip to Florida to see dear friends. On a daily basis I am asking myself this question: How would you like to loaf today?
Answering that question may be the most important and the most challenging of all – because I don’t know much about loafing around (that means being unproductive – heaven forbid!). Redefining loafing as resting, taking it easy, changing your pace, slowing down – these are new ideas for me.
When do you “loaf”? Are you always on the move, always doing, always restless? If so, you might need a dose of loafing to bring some balance into your life. I know I do!