There is so much emphasis on what needs to get done in a day, the stress of needing a good job, of having an education, saving for retirement, getting all the work done before hurrying home to cook dinner so you can hurry to bed before you have to start the process all over. Because somewhere in the distant future we’re going to have it all, time to relax, more money to travel, a nice house and a new car, all this work and rushing around will pay off. Well the distant future isn’t good enough for me. The only thing that matters is every hour and every day and being happy and appreciative and hurrying much, much less.
I do get stressed out at the prospect of not doing enough, like every part of my day needs to be filled with things to do, productive from morning until night. Then I get stressed about wanting to simplify but not knowing how. What do I cut back on? What do I need that I don’t already have? I feel torn between pulling back from the rush of society and feeling like I don’t deserve to stop and do nothing for a while, to just be in the moment without feeling the need to be somewhere else. Since I started my new job I’ve kind of fallen into a new rhythm of being. I get up at 6 every morning and usually have an hour to lay in bed, then I slowly get up and have time to make lunch and breakfast and actually enjoy making it, taking my time to watch the morning news while having my first sips of coffee. I love the first sunbeams hitting the snow on the trees outside my windows and listening to the dogs snore on the couch. I have time to day dream and write and take pictures before I’ve even got dressed. I cherish these slow times because I decided to take that time for myself. I need that solitude to be happier. Because making that extra money going in to work early isn’t going to give me any of what I just described. It’s not going to give me the time or the experiences back.
I read about a woman who had worked many years in an elderly home, the kind where people spend their last months and years and she wrote a book based on conversations with these people called “the top five regrets of the dying”. Working too much, letting yourself be controlled by other people and not allowing yourself to be happy were the top three regrets. I feel so much lately that what I want is shifting from material, money and what I’m “supposed” to be doing, to quiet time alone, dinner with friends and family, baking my own bread, sitting around a campfire, planting a garden, taking more time for adventures and exploring and just appreciating the life that’s happening right now. I don’t know of that’s selfish and indulgent or if it’s the recipe for truly being happy but I’m willing to take the chance.