When I was in high school my mother had a peculiar pastime. She would sit in a chair in front of one of the three big fish tanks we had in the house and watch the fish swim. Something about the way they would glide through the water, their leisurely swim, mesmerized my mother. She would sit in a rocking chair with a cup of coffee and stare at those fish for what seemed like hours.
At the time I could think of nothing more wasteful than to sit and watch soft bodied water creatures move within a glass tank. And now that I'm older, I feel terrible about myself if I "waste" even a small part of my day. And by "wasting" I mean things like sitting down to eat my lunch, or meeting friends for coffee, or reading a book.
That feeling has intensified as my kids have gotten older and many of my friends have gone back to work.
In my mind, if I'm a stay at home mom, and my kids are in school for the majority of the day, I should be getting three times as much done as everyone else.
If I'm not cleaning, or running errands, or shopping, or cooking, or helping the kids with this or that I should be doing SOMETHING. What is that something? Well, as it happens, that something is writing.
I feel like if I have a spare minute I should be writing. And when I don't use those spare minutes for writing I feel guilty. And although there may be no greater waste of time than making yourself feel bad about yourself, that's what I continue to do.
I thought my mother was crazy for spending her free time watching the world within a glass tank, but the truth is she was lucky. She found a way to relax. She found a way to bring her mind to a peaceful place. What a gift that would be.
In this world of go, go, go, sometimes we need to be able to stop and take a break. Whether it's meditating, gardening, yoga, or simply watching the fish swim, go do something relaxing today! You've earned it! Trust me. You have!
And I have too. So, today, instead of agonizing about word count, I'm going shopping. I'm heading to Ulta and I'm going to waste money on one more beauty product I don't really know how to use. Why? Just because it's fun, and no other reason than that.