“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. ”
― Bill Watterson
[ Day 21 of 2000 ]
For the past 20 days, I have been
telling ordering myself to slow down. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Not yet, anyway.
Normally, my to-do list just keeps growing. And with each new item added to it, I just become more unhappy. Right now, I give myself an hour or so per day when I will not think of the items pending, and will do nothing about that. If it is that important anyway, I will somehow get to it in the remaining 23 hours. If it is not important enough to make it to the items that got done in those 23 hours, I will get to it after the 1 hour break. Seems to be working so far. The world didn’t implode, my family is still fed, they wear clean clothes and the house is standing.
Last Saturday, I went to a Mom’s night out. Normally, I try and avoid these events. I feel like I am wasting precious moments when I could be checking off items from my to-do list. This time, it was different. Honestly, when my friend Maria asked me to this one I said yes just because I didn’t want to disappoint her. It was going to be a small gathering and she looked excited about it. However, I also had an office holiday party on the same evening – I told her that I would stop by on the way back. They were going to be watching a movie and talking. We all had sons, 8-9 years old in different schools in the same town.
I got to her house at 9:30pm, and thought I would leave by 10:00 or 10:30 pm. I was exhausted – I was up since 4:00 in the morning. I had spent the day cooking, raking leaves and cleaning up the yard. The office holiday party had drained me as well – it was noisy since everyone was talking at the same time. And I don’t do well when the noise levels are high – I could feel my migraine coming back. I called Maria as I left the office party to see if they were all still there. And she didn’t pick up. I got to her house and saw just one extra car – may be everyone had left? I rang the door bell, and no one answered. I was relieved – may be I could go home and get a nice sleep – After I load the dishwasher, take a shower and check my email. I called her one last time just so that I could tell her the next day that I really tried. And to my dismay, she picked up. And I had to go in.
I went in and parked myself on a bean bag – I was too tired to do anything more than that. There were 5 moms including me. I didn’t know two of them before that night. Once I started talking, I realized that I really liked being there. I normally would have worried about how late it was getting, how I would have to skip my early morning workout the next day and why someone else didn’t start to leave so that I had an excuse to leave. Not that night, though. I just texted BusyDad that I was going to be really late, and we just kept talking. I felt like I knew them all for my entire life. It was one of the most fun evenings I have had in a quite a while. I only got home by 1:00 am or so.
I think it was mostly my mindset shift that caused me to have so much fun. Worrying about all the things I still had to do that weekend (which I would have done normally – worrying, that is) wouldn’t have got any of that done. It would have just ruined my evening. However, with my high IQ and logical brain and everything, it took me close to 37 years to figure it out. There is no point in rushing through life. However, I am usually too busy to remember that.
I have decided not to postpone enjoying life until I retire. I start now. I am going to take the time to look around every now and then.