When was the last time that you took a break from life and did something completely relaxing? I can tell you that I don’t remember the last time I took a few minutes like that. Sure, I play Minecraft, but my stress level never goes down. It’s just a way to stop actively thinking about work, but in the back of my mind work never goes away.
Today I made some time for myself for the first time in FOREVER! In fact, I’m still here, sitting on the patio at Starbucks in my neighbourhood. When I first arrived with my MacBook Air, my intentions were very different. I’d been working from home all morning (I’m on “vacation”) and wanted a change of scenery. I tried to connect to the wifi but for some reason I was having trouble. Realizing how nice the sunshine felt on my face, I threw my plans away and decided to relax.
I’m enjoying one of those Cool Lime Refreshers. Now that I plan on relaxing for a bit I should have ordered the Venti. I can’t help but think it would probably be delicious with some gin in it. Before starting to write this, I let myself relax completely for 15 minutes. I sat there sipping my drink, closing my eyes while the sun kissed my skin. I listened to the breeze, the birds and the sound of the cars speeding by (wow – they really should enforce the speed limits around here). Cliche, I know. It’s like when coaches say “give it 110%” even though it’s mathematically impossible. But I really was listening to the sounds around me. It’s something I rarely do. I find I’m often living for what’s next, not what is right now.
I watch people run in and out of the coffee shop, much like I do every day. In and out as fast as they can, because there is always somewhere to be. But not me, not today. Today, I’m actually just taking a well deserved break. It’s weird. I find myself glancing at my watch, like there is an event I must have forgotten. It’s been so long since I took a break that the slow pulse is making me nervous! But I put that thought aside and remind myself that I rarely take vacations. And even when I do, I work at least half days the whole time. I deserve to just sit here for as long as I want, and I only have to leave when I feel like it.
Life gets busy. Money has been an issue in the past because we were paying for fertility treatments. That was $70,000 in savings and always had us wondering where the next treatment money was coming from. We maxed out every source of credit we have. We’re in a slightly better place now, so I can put that worry aside. Work is crazy. Working at a law firm regularly means you have no control over the timing of projects. Managing a department is even worse in terms of time management. I’m thankful that my job gives me energy and I’m passionate about it. Sure I am going to have to work more this weekend because I took this break. But I will probably be a lot more productive. Unfortunately, the courts won’t accept us being late because I wanted to sip a drink on a patio. But will an hour away from work really make that big of a difference? I don’t think so. So I let that worry go as well.
So now I have nothing to worry about except groceries, what I’m making for dinner and finding the Real Property Report that my old builder’s lawyer said she sent me in March 2010. WTF, how did I lose something like that??? There’s plenty in the pantry if I don’t get to the store, which means groceries and dinner aren’t worth worrying about. The RPR? Well I can always order a new one if I can’t find the old.
So after evaluating my life today, I realize that those things are my daily worries. And even though most don’t matter, I typically let them disrupt me. I’m getting much better at asking myself “by tomorrow, will this really matter?” before I freak out about something, but I need to keep working on that. The truth is that very few things actually matter enough to be overly anxious or worried. I’m not going to beat myself up when I have those feelings. I’m ok with being a typical type A kinda girl. It’s gotten me far in life. I have a successful career that I’m passionate about. I actually like make-work projects that help me advance my career. Financially, I enjoy making budget spreadsheets and figuring out when our debt will finally be paid off (sometime at the end of 2016 I think). Don’t ask, most people don’t understand my ways.
So after 35 minutes in the sun, I’ve composed a blog post, reviewed how I handle some basic life stressors and decided that today, I’m going to enjoy this break. There will be time to deal with work and money and groceries later. I can promise you those things won’t go away. I’m going to do my best not to worry about the things I can’t control.
My drink is empty, so I probably won’t stay here much longer, but it has been a really nice break. I don’t allow myself this time on a daily basis, and I feel like a weight has been lifted from this short time I’ve let my brain turn off. Deep breaths are hard when you’re anxious, so it’s new to me how much oxygen my lungs actually hold, and it feels intoxicatingly good.
I’m a really smart girl, I have to wonder why it took me this long to understand the value of taking a break.