Are you still watching? I always feel like NetFlix is judging me when it politely pauses my show to ask me if I am still watching. Why yes NetFlix, I am. Thank you for your concern. Continue Watching. I settled back into the couch and listened to the thunder growl outside. My mother had just stopped by to pick the girls up for a sleep-over and Jose would still be at the Gallery for another 4-5 hours. Once we safely stowed away two car seats and excited little girls into a tiny convertible and blew kisses from the driveway, I compared various to-do lists. One professional. One life. One house chores. All equally important - and endless.
As I weighed priorities and the week's schedules in my mind, my eye drifted to an empty puzzle box, a ball, a couple dog hair tumbleweeds, and three unrecognizable pieces of - something? All just, mostly, out of sight under the entertainment center. I glanced around at the current state of the house. It wasn't terrible. If you didn't count the scene under the furniture. It wasn't great either. The TV caught my eye as if the two sticky handprints gracing its screen were calling my attention. I bargained with myself at that moment. I will watch one episode of Mad Men, which I recently began rewatching for the second time from the beginning, and then I will start yard work.
And so it was, I secured one of my favorite beers into a koozie, and melted into our patched and crumb coated sectional. Away I went into my screen haven from all things political, violent, and angry that most media is so noisy with. Somewhere in the middle of the second episode, as if an intervention by the universe itself, clouds settled in and a storm began grumbling from afar. Anyone familiar with Florida summers knows that the afternoon thunderstorms typically run with such consistency that you could plan your day by them. Given the time of the day, I expected a downpour and grass too wet to mow. Having finished my beer and well into my third episode, I suppressed a little smile. I was in absolute heaven. Bliss.
Parenthood takes its toll on each person differently. No doubt it is one of the great challenges of life. As an introvert and the Full-Time Caregiver for my girls, recharging my batteries is a constant battle. I do the best I can to carve out little moments here and there for solitude and nothingness. However, as it is for most parents, it's difficult. For many of us, our life is full of juggling schedules where every minute counts for something. Things like kids, spouses, and work often dominate the top priority spots on lists - making it easy to push your personal needs aside. For most folks, this is a common challenge.
It's important to schedule time aside for yourself. Exercise, sufficient sleep, and fun/play time are examples of self-love time that is vital to our well-being, and effort should be put forth to getting it on the calendar. However, I challenge us to seize the sweet and unexpected moments that present themselves, also. Let's be aware of our current opportunities and savor them. I followed my beer up with hummus and pita and finished up episode number three. I wanted to write.
Considering that writing was at the top of the list number two, also known as the "Professional List," I counted this as a win. The sun peaked through the window. Not only did it not rain, but any sign of an impending storm had also burned off. Rejuvenated by my down time and feeling inspired by the break in the weather. I bid Ms. Peggy Olsen farewell and laced up my sneakers - with lightness.
The next time you find yourself with a few unexpected hours, keep them. Invest in your absolute top priority. Your health - physical and emotional. Keep them for yourself and do what you want. Sleep. Shower. Eat pizza. Have sex. Read a book. Get together with friends. You deserve it. You will be better because of it. Amazing things happen when you care for yourself. You'll be inspired to tackle your lists and do so with greatness.
Plus, as John Lennon Said, “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”
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