This morning my dog was bugging me to go for a walk. Yes, really, he knows how to communicate this to me quite clearly. What can I say, he has me well trained. I did have a few things I was planning to get done before heading to work. But it was a beautiful morning, and it would be too hot to walk later, so off we went. He even pulled me in the direction of one of our longer loops, thus ensuring that nothing on my To Do list would get done before I had to get ready for my work day.
I didn’t get an extra load of laundry done, I didn’t get the kitchen cleaned, and I didn’t get a gift wrapped. I did instead get a little exercise (not much, he’s pretty pokey because he has to stop and sniff every tuft of grass), I did breathe in fresh air, and I did admire how lush everything looks after so many days of rain.
So he was right. It was a nice walk, and a good way to start the day. But don’t tell him that, it would go to his furry head and give him even more ideas on how to control me.
We Real Women put way too many “should’s” and “need to’s” and “to do’s” on our plates every day. We are in perpetual motion, trying to fit too much into the hours we have. Of course there are things that can’t be ignored, and have to happen. Yet we apparently aren’t satisfied with our regular every-day chores and must-do’s, and just heap on more. Lately I’ve been obsessing about trying to clean out the house in preparation for a tag sale this year, and worry if I don’t work on it some every day. Then we all have people in our lives who we feel should be getting more of our attention, and home projects that ought to be done, we should be exercising more, we should be planning summer activities, we should be schlepping our children to events or helping them with their homework, we should be doing this, that and another thing. YIKES.
Sure, we talk a good game. We post lovely quotes on our Facebook pages and buy cute wooden plaques for our homes and offices, all reminding us to “enjoy life today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never promised”, or “live in the moment”, “life is short”, and of course “YOLO.” There’s no question that we are all living very full lives. But are we filling them with the right things? Are we filling our time with the right stuff? Do we have to be in Turbo Super Woman mode every waking moment (and many moments when we are supposed to be sleeping)?
How often have any of us said things like: I don’t have time to take lunch, I have to answer these emails. I need to clean the house, I can’t stop and sit and watch a movie. No time to stop and chat, gotta run these errands. Would love to go get a pedicure, but I’ve got too much on my plate. If we could somehow step outside ourselves and listen to what we were saying, and watch ourselves run in our frenzied manners, wouldn’t we say “oh, holy cow, just STOP it.” Would we see that rather than living our lives, we were running them over?
Alright, maybe that sounded a wee bit dramatic. We do know how to pause and enjoy time with friends, or sit in the sun and read a book, or go out to a movie, or go on vacation. Yet we only seem to do these things after we feel like we’ve taken care of everything else we “should”, or “need”, to do, and made all appropriate arrangements, so we are exhausted by the time we are ready to have fun.
This morning on the Today Show, Natalie and Jenna did a story about their time at “Campowerment”, a “sleepaway camp-inspired experience designed to equip women to live life better.” AKA for women to take a few days off and have fun. For about $1500, you can relive your childhood summer camp days and get away to a beautiful location for four days to do things like boating, ziplining, dancing, crafts, even face your fear of heights on rope courses. I watched their story and had a couple thoughts. First, that’s nice, I’m sure many women would love that. Second, that it was a bit sad that places like this had to be created to convince women to disconnect and enjoy themselves. Third, that it was a bit over the top. Most of the Real Women I know struggle to find the time to go get their hair cut, or have lunch, or take a nap, or just sit and do nothing. Shouldn’t we start with the basic slow-downs? Oh, my, I said it again, didn’t I? I said should. Ok, I’ll make this more simple: let’s stop saying should. Ixnay on the ouldshays.
We all need to start small. Log off the computer and go take a lunch. Sit and watch a chick flick. Get a pedicure. The “shoulds” will still be there when you are ready for them. So what do you say, let’s all drop one Should off of our weekend, then please report back with your success.
If you have a tough time determining which “should” to give up, perhaps it is time to listen to a dog. After all, they live by the motto “if you can’t eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away.” Pretty smart, if you ask me.