There are snow flurries whipping around, outside my window and a blazing fire in the fireplace.
(Okay, so really they are gas logs. Because I am not married to a mountain man, who just so happens to love chopping wood. Or even buying chopped wood. But somehow, “I flipped the switch and the gas logs came on” didn’t seem like a great way to set the scene.)
Anyway. There are flurries. The fire is blazing. And the house is quiet. Except for the flicker of the flames and the clicking of the keys on my keyboard.
I inhale the hazelnut steam rising from my latest cup of coffee. Which sits within reach.
I am wearing a skull-patterned mom sweater and fuzzy house slippers. I am the epitome of badass.
I am almost embarrassed by how amazing this moment is right now.
It occurred to me this morning that I no longer remember how to relax.
Long gone are the days when I could veg out on the sofa, without guilt for an entire Sunday. All I needed were salty snacks and Lifetime television to pass the day.
(Clearly this was before the epicness that is Bravo.)
I would be on that sofa ALL day long. Never once questioning if I was still a contributing member of society.
Then something changed.
Today we are so fast paced. Everyone is constantly moving. Trying to have it all, win it all and be it all.
Even as a stay at home mother, I feel the pressure.
When you have children, you have to move constantly. There is always something that you should be doing.
I don’t have to supply you with a list of all the things that we as parents strive to accomplish on a daily basis.
Most nights I crawl into bed exhausted, wondering how in the heck we managed to pull off another day.
But what about me? There has to be time for me as well.
I try to work in exercise. Because after forty, let me tell you, there is just no other option. It is a must.
I enjoy running. But then it became something that I had to schedule. And I feel pressured to do it most days. Exercise is crucial to my goal of living long enough to see the ripe old age of 100.
(You see, my desire is to live so long that everyone is sick of me still being around. One last laugh for the road, so to speak.)
I enjoy reading. I like to read books. But instead of relaxing with a good book, it turned into squeezing in a couple of chapters before it was time to go get the kids from school.
Somehow even reading became a chore.
I also enjoy writing. I like to sit at my computer with no real thought and just start typing. My best work is when words just flow. But one day nothing came. I began to tell myself that I wasn’t a very good writer. Why couldn’t I just be witty and informative on demand?
Everything that I had once enjoyed doing in life, had become a chore. Add these things to the list that includes laundry and food shopping. They were no different. Merely items that I needed to check off of a list, in order to feel accomplished.
I had forgotten how to slow down.
I am well aware that with being an adult comes responsibility. And people have much bigger problems in life than trying to find the time to relax.
But I didn’t like the person that I had become. My one time zest for life had been replaced by my need to have all of the laundry folded and put away.
Maybe it comes naturally with age. You begin to take note of the things that really matter. Or maybe you begin to realize just how much of your life went by, without you paying attention. Really paying attention.
I have a need to live. To really live.
If I am going to drink from a cup, it is going to be a pink cup. Hot pink. Because hot pink makes me happy. It is the little things in life.
I am a high energy person by nature, and maybe that is my problem. I don’t know how to function any way except wide open. And these days I have way more responsibilities that my twenty year old, Lifetime watching self. I have a lot to get done.
Even with that, I want to live.
I want to stop and listen to people when they speak. Not just hear, but listen. Engage.
When my child hands me a picture of something that he drew at school, I want to take it in. I want to hear his story of why he drew that particular robot. On that particular day.
When my husband asks me to dinner, I want to realize that it is not just a meal, or an evening away from our children, but a plea to stay connected, because we are in this for the long haul.
When someone shares kind or encouraging words, I want to absorb them. See myself through their eyes. I want to appreciate the effort that people give in letting me know that I matter. My acceptance of their compliment is a gift back to them, after all.
I want to talk to my mother on the phone every day, for as long as she likes. Because I have so much to learn from her still, before I could ever let her leave this world.
When I interact with the world, I want to be involved. And present. And attentive. And appreciative. And accepting. And caring.
I want to breathe, Inhale and exhale.
I want to smile. I want the whole world to see my smile.
At times I will stumble. I am still learning. Thank goodness I have 58 more years to get it right.