The Tug oF BUSY-NESS
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Vancouver. The kind of day I yearn for (yes, yearn) with all my heart during the cloudy and gray months that torment the Pacific Northwest all fall and winter. I let Guinness out, do a few yoga moves (a.k.a sit in heart to earth pose for 10 minutes), and go outside with my iced coffee. It is the definition lovely. But then comes the tug.
But then comes the tug, like Gollum’s evil half rousing from sleep.
“You should be out grocery shopping. The house is gross again. Look at the dishes.”
High on caffeine and sunshine, I ignore. Who cares about groceries? I grab my journal and start writing. Yet, the tug comes back.
Yet, the tug comes back.
“Why haven’t you taken Guinness for a walk? Those emails won’t answer themselves. Do you have that grocery list?”
Desiring thought-proof headphones, I relent. It can’t hurt to get some chores done, right? After starting meal planning, conquering the dishes, and playing with Guinness, I feel energized. Or, what I think is energy.
BUSY-NESS & CONTROL
While finishing our meal plan for the week, James comes downstairs. He starts working on editing the photos he took when we visited Japan last week.
I add my last grocery item to the list and ask James if he’s ready to go to the farmer’s market. “No, I’m on a roll here with my photos and I’d love another hour to finish,” he says. Rational me is not here to party, so I become defensive. This will ruin my planned Saturday! Moving things by an HOUR? The horror.
Annoyed, I go upstairs to pout. I fall on our bed, face first. In a weird moment of clarity, I ask myself why I am getting so worked up over not going to the grocery store RIGHT NOW. We don’t even have to go to the grocery store today!
Slowly, rational me pokes her head out. “Ahem, maybe it has something to do with your need to have something to do that feels productive?” Nah, that can’t be it. She continues, “And maybe it’s because you are uncomfortable with free time?” Well, that’s partly true. “Oh, and you’ve been working on simplicity. This is the opposite.” Damn.
I hate when I’m right.
The Simple Life
Since returning from Japan, I’ve been ruminating about how to make my life more simple, more mindful. As someone who likes lists, schedules, and packed weekends, it feels wrong. Because why would enjoying my time be okay?! I want to allow myself the chance to be.
This attitude made me think of a Mary Oliver poem. In “The Summer Day’, she ends with the lines: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”
Being busy for the sake of being busy is not how I want to spend my one wild and precious life.
I go back downstairs and tell James he can spend the whole day on his photos if he wants. As I left to go back upstairs, he asked what I was going to do. “Nothing,” I said with a smile, “Absolutely nothing.”