I find it nearly impossible to sit back and relax. The moment I sit down to do something enjoyable, I almost always stop and get working on something that I feel has to be done. In my head, I feel like I am being lazy if I am doing something enjoyable and there are things to do around the house.
About the only way I am able to escape this is to leave my house. If I am not in my house, there isn’t anything that I need to be doing at that exact moment. Those are the times that I can actually enjoy take a breath and enjoy the moment. When I have a chance to leave the house to go on walks, hike, paddleboard or even just go on a drive, those are my moments of peace.
Right now, I have a to-do list a mile long. There are things on that list that have needed to get done for years. I write and rewrite that list about every month. There are several reasons that they haven’t gotten finished, but that is another post for another time. It will come soon though.
That brings me to this past Friday night….
The kids had gone to their dad’s house for the night, which left me with an evening to myself. So, what would you do with a free evening? Watch a movie? Eat ice cream? Read a book? Go to bed early… (Mid 40’s talking here)? Yeah, not me. Instead of taking a me moment to just relax and breathe, I take on a project. I decided to strip and repaint my bedroom furniture. That has been on my to-do list for a very long time, and I was tired of working on the garage (another HUGE task that depresses me every time I start it.)
So, I went to my room, grabbed my nightstands and brought them to kitchen. I pulled out the industrial (and very expensive) furniture stripper (that I bought last year) and went to work.
Now, you have to know a little bit about the furniture. It is about 100 years old and belonged to my great grandparents. It got passed down to my grandma, then to my mom, then to me. It is ornate with lots of detail work, medallions and engraved edges. It was finished with cream colored lacquer and gold edgework.
It sounds impressive, but it really isn’t. It has seen better days. By the time I had received it, it had water stains and damage, the paint was chipping and there were dents and dings everywhere. I repainted it about 10 years ago. Although I did my best at the time, I didn’t know what I was doing.
So, when I went to strip the nightstands, it was a bit of an effort. It took layers of paint stripper to get through the paint and the lacquer. I used paint scrapers to get layers off. Then I got to the detail work. The stripper was doing a great job, but getting into the detail work was really taking a toll.
By about 9:30, I decided to do the practical thing. I called my dad. I told him what I was doing and asked him for suggestions as to how to get the paint off the details. He gave me a few suggestions and then stopped short and said, “Darci, it is a Friday night. Your kids are gone. Stop. Just stop… watch a movie and relax.” I went on to tell my dad that I couldn’t just stop and relax. I didn’t know how to do that. I feel guilty every time I sit down for “me time.” I feel lazy. So, I stop being lazy and get up and work.
My dad went on to say, “Darci, Darci, Darci…. you work harder than anyone else I know. You NEED to take time to take a break. You have to take time for you. I laughed it off, thanked him and we got off the phone. I got into my car and headed to Home Depot to buy what my dad suggested. About half way there, and it hit me as how tired I was. I thought about what my dad said, and I turned around. I drove home, sat on my couch and watched a really stupid movie. I would tell you what the movie was, but I would hate for you to waste 2 hours of your day.
About 5 minutes into sitting on my couch, I received a text from my dad, with this thought in it:
It was perfect and exactly what I needed to hear. My dad is perfect at giving me the exact right message at the exact right moment. I am so busy doing that I neglect being. I neglect being calm. I neglect being centered. I neglect being balanced. I want everything done right now. I don’t want to wait so I work my tail off to get monumental tasks done yesterday. I need to learn to be patient with me and give myself permission to take a break. I struggle with this, as I have never ever been able to do this. I need to take a hint from Shel Silverstein…..
It will get done. It won’t get done now, but it will get done. Just take time. Hopefully, it won’t take eighty-nine years, but it will get done.