Friday, April 26, 2013

Life is Full of...Stuff

It's raining.  Not that it matters.  At least it isn't snowing, as it did this past Tuesday night.  Not just a few flakes, but at least half an inch.  In April.  Late April.  Not December or even January or February.  April.  And this after the 20+ inches from the big snow in March.  Yeah, I'll take the rain.  We need it badly...if the snow and freezing temps didn't kill off every living green thing around.

Tuesday night was the first time I had a chance to kick back and not think about anything.  I watched a movie on HBO, then another on Wednesday night.  I think that's a record.  Movie/TV watching has been at a minimum this year.  Especially the past two weeks.

The middle of those two weeks were spent on writing three chapters and two synopses.  Something like 71 pages, plus plotting-in-a-rush.  Plus a daughter with a shattered back car window.  Tape was needed to keep a little rain out, so I went to the store and bought some for her.  Then half of Monday was spent picking kids up to take to school, a granddaughter who needed a ride to school, another granddaughter to an appointment, then to school, and topped off by a call from the school nurse, who'd run out of meds for oldest grandson.  I decided I needed a vacation.  Or an award.  Or at least one day of rest.

Rest doesn't come when needed.  Not ever.  Not even on weekends.  With three website jobs waiting, I'm still at the computer with no extra time.  Oh, okay.  I took a 3-hour nap yesterday evening.  It was that or get knocked out by my head hitting the desk.  With my luck, that kind of thing would give me a concussion.

Facebook, Twitter, Linkdin, Pinterest and all the rest have taken a backseat to bigger priorities.  In a couple of weeks, the current priorities will be finished and new will have arrived.  In another month, there'll be five kids between the ages of 3 and almost 12 to watch over, keep fed, and above all, keep safe.  We'll see how well that works.

Very few people have a life--or even consecutive days--of nothing to do.  Well, kids, do.  We know that because by the second week of summer vacation, we hear a continuous chorus of "I'm bored.  I don't have anything to do-o-o-o."  Anyone with children...or who have been one in the long ago past...can remember those days.  But we aren't kids.  We have responsibilities, jobs, families, and rarely enough time to do all of those things well.

So what do we do when life is full of stuff?  We schedule.  But what happens when the schedule becomes too full, leaving us with no extra time to simply kick back and relax?  Scheduling fun seems a bit forced, but if the time comes that it has to happen, when the body is near the point of collapse and the mind is too full of "musts" and "have-tos," when we stay up later to get things done and deprive ourselves of needed R&R, we really don't have a choice.

In Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, taking one day a week for an "artist's date" is strongly encouraged.  Mandatory, even.  One day to get away (as if that's going to happen in my life) to enjoy the things around us.  Get out, take a walk, visit a museum a park or a mall, or simply sit in the backyard/on the patio/the deck/the balcony/the beach, and do nothing.  If sitting and doing nothing is difficult--it is for me--read or watch a movie, especially a favorite.  Sleep, if needed.  Let yourself go, at least for a little while, and refill the well of not only creativity, but of life.  Good things will happen.

It's definitely time to take my own words of advice.
The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit.  ~Marya Mannes

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