Lately I’ve been wondering about why I don’t schedule more fun into my life. I recently had a few weeks of really distressful events. A close friend lost her very young sister, our car broke down during the cold snap, the weather itself was distressing and some of my classes were cancelled due to the ice and cold, which means a financial burden for me. Additionally, my sick family member is not getting better as we all hoped and sometimes at night I can’t sleep I’m so worried. So in the third week of this crazy cold when everyone was getting cabin fever and I was sure I was going to bounce checks all over the state I took care of myself.
I did a really good job. In seven days I made coffee dates with friends twice, went to a great yoga class that was new to me, made it to the gym, went for energy work and got a massage. Not to mention I took long baths, took naps and read. And at the end of the week when I met with my mentor and told her about my week I couldn’t believe how well I’d done. We were both surprised that in the midst of all the sadness, worry and stress I’d come through with flying colors. And you know what else? I felt great. I met life on life’s terms and didn’t lose it.
My instinct this week is to get back in the swing of things. To really put my nose down and trudge. But why? I was far more effective, pleasant and happy and just as productive last week. And you know what? My teaching was better than it’s been in a long time. Perhaps ever. At least that’s how it felt to me. Why would I want to go back to the stressed out, harried, angry/sad/worried Melissa?
I don’t. I’m not going. I refuse. Part of my resolution this year is to fill the well. I’m not sure exactly what that means still, but I do know that it has to be a consistent practice. I think we’re taught that balance means going out of balance and then reigning it back in. I refuse that teaching. Balance means just that. Period. I know there are people who argue there’s no such thing as balance. I say that’s crap.
It’s about the choices you make. It’s about choosing your priorities and paring down. So far this year I’ve cut out things that weren’t serving me and added things that make me feel good. I’m indulging in my passions and only those things that feed my passion are part of my life. And it feels great. And I wonder how I didn’t make this move sooner.
And then I read an article about Pleasure Procrastination. It’s about putting off things that you know you’ll really love until “someday”. I do remember growing up with the “good” china and the room we tried to keep good for company. Ok, not my family, but it’s part of my generation’s memory.
So, Pleasure Procrastination is about putting off wonderful things like vacations, manicures, massages and special lunches with our girlfriends. We’re hoping that someday there will be more time/energy/space to enjoy these in-themselves-enjoyable activities. Why?
Why do we wait? What are we waiting for?
Well, apparently we’re thinking that one day will be a better time to enjoy our vacation/pedicure/massage/gourmet meal. This instinct is so prevalent that companies bank on it. When we buy a gift certificate we’re giving a company/corporation a loan. They get the money and they don’t have to produce the material good or service for awhile. They bet on the fact that we’re pleasure procrastinators and will never redeem that gift certificate. We’re giving them money and since most gift certificates are just that….gifts, it means that as the receiver we’re donating our friend’s/loved one’s money to a company that’s going to pocket it.
But I think there’s another reason too. I think we enjoy being overworked and harried. We love to complain about how many hours we work and don’t sleep. We brag about how crazy our life is, how busy the kids are and how we don’t have time for naps, reading or baths. And we have lists of Have Tos. We even put our friends in this category. We talk about we Have To go to this dinner with friends we haven’t seen in a long time or we Have To have coffee with the girls. We Have To work out, do laundry, go to bed early…all things that benefit us and on some level we enjoy. We enjoy wearing clean clothes, right?
Well, the word Have is out of my vocabulary in that context. Unless I’m saying I’ll have the double scoop of butter brickle, I’m not saying it anymore.
The same for Should. Except I never really prided myself on that one. I’ve been pretty content to never use Should.
So what do we do? How do we get out of our unhealthy patterns?
We live in the moment. We enjoy ourselves Now. We stop putting off what could be awesome-today.
And then what happens? We stop being hoarders of good times and fun. We start being those people we envy and I know you know who I mean. Those people who enjoy life in this moment. The people who never seem to worry that the good times will end. The people who take care of themselves, like to have fun and value themselves.
Wouldn’t it be great to know for sure that the fun never ends? That the good times will roll and roll and roll? How do “those” people do it. While we toss and turn, worry and worry they just seem to be full of fun. And secretly we’re waiting for them to crash. We watch closely to see if they’re really taking care of their responsibilities. We stop being those people too.
The answer is to put out what you want. I won’t even go into the reasons, the research or the philosphy. This is just what I know. Want more good times? Engage in more good times. Want more love, put out more love. It’s very straight-forward and easy, but few of us really engage in a way that will draw more good things to us.
Let 2010 be the year that brings more of what we want because we gave more. Skeptical? What’s the worst that will happen? We’ll give more? It will be a banner year.