It took me many years, now into my 30’s, to realise that there is something very important that I don’t know how to do. At all. It’s not something I am proud of. At all!
I don’t know how to RELAX. I can’t wrap my mind around ‘chilling out’. I don’t know what it means to just sit still. If I ever find myself in that situation, where I come home from daycare drop-off and work and grocery shopping and daycare pick-up and I just sit down… on the couch… I feel instant guilt about all the things I SHOULD be doing and I don’t ever allow myself that moment of … indulgent nothingness. It doesn’t even happen when I am on holidays. If I ever find a moment to myself, I make mental to-do lists or spend time on my phone engaging on social media.
I don’t know how to shut down and shut off.
I come from a very high energy and multi-tasking family. Some of my earliest memories of my dad include him on the phone on business calls, weeding our gardens as he closed deals (or, in the very least pacing the room- there were no sit-down phone calls). Same goes for my mom. Doing a thousand things (typically for my dad, brother and I) all at once.
My life resembles the fast lane and, if I’m being honest with myself, it’s where I feel most comfortable.
From a very early age, I had instilled in me some pretty fierce work ethic, motivation and ambition. For all that, I am eternally grateful! Having said that, what I have never taken upon myself to learn (FOR MYSELF) is how to spend some time idling throughout ‘the drive’. From a childhood filled with experience after experience and endless activity, I entered into an adulthood of ‘busyness’ because it’s what I know how to do best.
“Keep going. Don’t stop. What’s next. Don’t be lazy”, is a constant internal dialogue for me and I am beginning to understand the importance of- NO… the NECESSITY of!- abolishing these messages that are on repeat in my mind.
For my own sanity, but also for my daughters.
There are a few things that I wish for my girls in life such as confidence, acceptance of themselves exactly how they are, strength to make decisions that are scary and hard… the list goes on. Somewhere on that list, amidst qualities of empathetic and happy, I wish for my girls to also be very okay with taking time to relax. To think. To read. To listen to their favourite music. To take the time in each day to do nothing at all. Because our days do not need to be consumed with doing ‘something’ for the sake of doing it.
Sometimes, NOTHING times are often very important self-care times. Those times are crucial to our wellness. And this is what I am working towards at age 33 so that I can model it for my children.