Recently, I decided to give myself permission to pause. I have created a cycle of do, do, do, and it was time to slow things down in my life. I have started this with small things like walking through the grocery store. I notice I am almost running down the isles, so I force myself to slow my steps.
In instances like this, I have an immediate visual reference to a situation last week. I was sitting at the neighborhood pool for an hour, visiting with other moms while the kids had some fun. A young woman walked past us, and all the moms turned to look, one of them saying, “I have never walked that slow in my life.” She ended up walking back and forth in front of us a few times, and I couldn’t help but stare at her feet as they very, casually, moved, past.
Whenever I try to emulate her slow movements, I really struggle. Why? How did I get to the point where I can only take four slow steps and my muscles automatically start to contract faster. It must look funny to anyone who might be watching me. Slow, slow, slow, faster, faster, run! Repeat, and again.
Well last night as I was going to bed I noticed that my calendar was empty for today. Immediately I began to list all the things I would be able to accomplish: call the plumber, the vet, the orthodontist… go to the yard store, the grocery store, the gas station… etc. Then I remembered I was supposed to be pausing. So I decided I would sleep in and then spend the day relaxing. Picking up groceries for dinner would be the only thing I would do, unless the kids could think of something fun and completely unproductive.
The next thing I know, I am waking up to Ted leaving for the office. It’s 8:00. So late! I jump out of bed and start making breakfast. I’m feeling guilty about sleeping in. As I clean the kitchen I think phone calls aren’t exactly a huge exertion so I’ll just take care of a few of those. Finally I sit on the couch around 10:00, still in pajamas, and try to just sit there. No phone, computer, or television. Just be. I feel my body twitchy and jittery. I go throw some laundry in. I sit. Shouldn’t I go to the yard store? I sit.
Finally I decide to shower. First I send the tween out to walk the dogs, and I cycle the laundry through. After my shower: ugh! I can’t sit still. I get groceries. (Yay for productivity!) I make lunch. Does anyone want to go do anything? Why is this so hard? What has happened to me? In college I would have died for an entire day with no obligations. The tween has no problem doing exactly nothing all day. Go away mom. But the teen is interested in doing some photography up at the Rose Gardens. OK I can get behind that.
It was great to have some alone time with my boy. We both captured some fun images. And fortunately for my plan, the hot weather sapped my strength. So by the time we got home, I was ready for a nap in my air-conditioned bedroom.
While I am shocked at how difficult it was for me to be still today, I am pleased that I did better than usual. I learned that the outing which was strictly for fun wore me out, and allowing a nap afterward really slowed things down. I woke up feeling peaceful. The next two days are scheduled pretty tightly. But I feel better about slowing down and know that next time I will do better.