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Saving time for reflection.

Saving time for reflection.

I wrote a post a while back about the busy boycott, about allowing ourselves to slow down and enjoy some space in our days and in our lives.  Some might think that being a stay at home mom with “only” one kid would leave me plenty of free time, but with the terrible twos in full swing, I assure you that is not the case!  I have, however, been trying to follow my own advice and leave some time in my day that is just for me.  Time that is not spent cooking, cleaning, planning, packing, or even socializing.  When I first started scheduling down time, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.  Normally, if I have a few spare minutes, I can find something to clean or some way to get ahead for tomorrow, like laying out clothes or packing snacks and lunches ahead of time.  But, when you let yourself totally off the hook for a couple of hours, what do you do?

Sometimes I watch too much TV.  I think that’s one of the reasons that I  like to stay busy.  When I’m not busy, I feel like I waste my free time zoned out in front of some mindless show.  Like Vikings.  I loved Vikings.  I want to be a Viking warrior like Lagertha.  If you haven’t seen the show, you probably shouldn’t start because there are five seasons of it and you will waste months of free time glued to your TV.  Plus you’ll start wandering around your house using various objects as weapons and fantasizing about charging into battle with your sword and shield.  I  don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with TV for those of you have self restraint, but moderation is not in my vocabulary, so when I get into a show, it takes over my life.  I become Lagertha!

Anyway, watching TV is fun in the moment but it does nothing to improve my overall quality of life.  In fact, I think it has a negative effect on me.  For one, it’s not really relaxing.  I don’t feel rested after watching TV.  But it’s not stimulating either.  I don’t feel fulfilled or challenged or satisfied after watching TV.  It’s just a way to pass time.  And time has become such a precious commodity that I don’t want it to pass any faster than it already is.  So then, what to do with my free time?

I’ve found that I have been spending a lot more time reflecting on myself and my life.  I like to think about, and sometimes even write down, my beliefs and ideas about who I am and how I should live my life.  Surprisingly, I really like doing it.  It’s like getting to know yourself.  What a strange concept!  I  think sometimes we get so busy doing things that we don’t take the time to figure out who we are.  And that’s an important thing to know.  There’s an old country song by Aaron Tippin that goes, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”  What do you stand for?  Who are you?  Do you really like yourself?  Do you even know yourself?  These are the types of questions that I ask myself.  I don’t know, maybe I should just watch Vikings, but it seems like a worthwhile way  to spend a few minutes a day.

Sometimes I think we’ve lost the ability to truly relax and do nothing.  Think about it.  When you have a free moment in the evening or on the train or in the airport, do you ever just sit and think?  Or do you immediately grab your phone, open up your computer, or turn on the TV?  Maybe all three at once?  I find myself doing this all the time.  I will have five free minutes while my son is playing on the playground and instead of relaxing and enjoying the breeze, I automatically grab my phone and check my email, Facebook, and Instagram.  When did I become that girl?

So, in the interest of being less busy and slowing down my day, my goal is to use my phone only as a phone, texter, and camera.  I will sit down once or twice a day and send emails from my computer, but I’m not going to worry about them while I’m at the park with my son.  I can check out Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes in the evening after my son is asleep.  My days as a stay at home mom are numbered so I’m going to enjoy every minute we spend playing outside.  And when I  have a moment to relax, I’m going to do just that.

The busy boycott.

The busy boycott.

Do you ever have moments where everything seems to come together?  Have you ever noticed when those moments happen?  For me, they happen when I step back and allow them to happen.  When I take a break from the craziness that we call a life.  When I take the time to reflect on who I am and what I want to do with the short time I have here on earth.  And as my thirties race by, I’m starting to realize just how quickly the rest of my days are going to fly by.  This morning I took a few minutes to browse other blogs that promote the “simple life” and I came across this video.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  By the time I got to the end of the video, I literally sighed a sigh of relief.  The funny thing is, my sister and brother in law told me pretty much the exact same thing just the other day.  They said, “Lauren, relax.  You’ve done a lot in the last five years.  Just give yourself a break.  You’ve done enough.”  If I wasn’t such a hardass, I probably would have cried because I always feel like I’m not doing enough.  Like being a mom isn’t enough.  We live in a society where there is so much pressure.  Where you feel like nothing you do is ever going to be enough.  But it is.  No one can live up to the expectations that we have created.  No one.  So, if you feel like you’re not doing enough, not making enough money, not busy enough.  Just stop.  It’s enough.

Probably most of you won’t take the twelve minutes to watch this video because you’re too busy.  But what kind of life do we have if we can’t spare 12 minutes?  This is how I want to feel.  This lady’s voice is so calming because she’s so at peace with who she is and what she believes in.  In starting this blog, I’ve struggled to put into words exactly what I’m searching for, but this is pretty much it.  If you can spare the 12 minutes, watch it.

I want to boycott busy.  It’s exhausting and I know it’s effecting my health.  I never had acne as a kid but starting in my early twenties when life started to get confusing and stressful, it started.  I’ve also had painful stomach problems at various times during my life that I’m sure were just a manifestation of the stress I was feeling.  I talk to people all the time who have undiagnosed, lingering health problems and I would be willing to bet that stress is the underlying cause of most of those problems.  The two months I spent in Costa Rica were the only two months of my adult life that I have been acne free.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.  Although I think the salt water helped too.  I really like the idea of measuring my self-worth by the way I treat other people.  I want to have the energy and clarity to engage in meaningful conversations with my son about dinosaurs.  I want to take more of an interest in my husband’s hobbies and career goals.  I want to spend a day helping my sister and brother-in-law fix up their new house.  I want to cook my mom lunch.  I want to have time for the people who matter the most to me.  I want to feel relaxed at least most of the time.  Is anyone else tired of being busy?