Nike says “Just do it!” What in the world do they mean by “Just do it?” At 57 years old, I work like a dog most days, and I just want to be snuggled comfortably in my bed by 9:00 p.m. The only thing I want to do is spend a few less days trying to “Just do it!”
Why does it seem like in order to be happy we need to follow someone else’s magic recipe for productivity? I have never seen “The 9 Great Tips for Doing Nothing and Enjoying It!” If I saw a self-help book with that title, you can bet your magic margarita and a Jimmy Buffet song that I would definitely read it AND take notes!
Can I be completely honest with you? One overworked-and-exhausted-woman to another? Ideally, I think I would be glad to have a really over-the-top lazy day of bliss. An amazing day that starts with sleeping in until 8:00 o’clock, drinking 3 cups of coffee with no interruptions – not even from the dogs, reading the Word, and praying with peace and quiet where I can actually hear God. I would follow that with more laying around. Listening to some good 70’s music, sitting outside on the porch reading a good book, and let’s not forget –taking a nap. I miss that feeling when my eyelids are getting heavier and heavier, and I have absolutely nowhere to be and no one to report to. Sleep a couple of hours, get up, and watch a good estrogen-filled “chick flick” on Lifetime Television. (Even after the movie, there is still plenty of time left in the day. Amazing how there seems to be more time when we don’t try to pack a week’s worth of stuff into every day.) So I can call some close girlfriends – they make me laugh…Then my husband gets home. We order good Italian delivery. I have a good heavenly piece (or two or three) of New York pizza from Al’s Pizza (corner of Beach Blvd & San Pablo). You know, the kind that has greasy oil running down your face and chin? And of course I have to have a great antipasto salad with it. After waiting an hour (An “hour” is good foot etiquette, right?) I eat a nice big bowl of chocolate chip ice cream. My favorites are Publix’s Moose Tracks or Edy’s Chocolate Chip! And the clincher is … wait for it … and not gain a pound! Ideally, this would be my ideal day. While Nike and a few of the productivity gurus may have a problem with it, I think the problem for many of us girls is we are overworked, “overbooked”, and we have forgotten that sometimes “doing nothing” is the best therapy. “Unscheduled” can equal “unstressed”.
Do I want a day like this every day? Maybe not. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a day like this a little more often than once in a blue moon?
Oh! And how about a nice slow stroll on the beach, with the sand between your toes and the wind on your face. I don’t know about you, but I get such restoration and peace from a stroll on the beach … and time with God… Alone. That’s what I love.
After a quiet stroll on the beach, lunch with a dear friend sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? I mean one of our favorite places where we can catch up uninterrupted, make each other laugh and just enjoy time together.
Later on, with a nice cold brewskie in hand, I love wandering out to the front porch to sit and gaze up at the sky. I mean its restful, peaceful, and it’s NOT work. I love this kind of day. Is there anyone who doesn’t absolutely love this kind of day?
Okay – what’s the point of this, and why should you care about what my “perfect” day is? And why do I long for such a day “full of nothing?” Maybe because none of us seem to be doing enough of that lately, or even just a little bit. If we could fit in just one “unscheduled” day every week or two, it would add a measure of refreshment and renewal. Something many of us are lacking. Admit it, you don’t know why you are crabby, stressed and tired all the time. Most of us don’t need another pill, we need more unscheduled time.
Our society is so geared for being “busy, busy, busy” it seems the subliminal message is “if you aren’t over-scheduled, over-tired, and overworked, then you must be doing something wrong.” Down time is considered a bad thing, and many of us buy into the guilt if we aren’t doing something every minute of every day.
Between you and me? Many of us are not getting enough “down time,” We lack restorative time – “unscheduled time” – to just sit quietly and enjoy the sound of birds singing outside, When was the last time you gazed at the moon and the stars, watched the waves crash or enjoyed feeling the sand between your toes?
Stop feeling guilty, ladies, and start living. We can escape the “overscheduling” with a few small changes and a bit of thought.
How can we fit any of this in:
- Calendar it. Put it on your calendar for your next day off from work and stroll solo on the beach, or visit the walking trails of your local park.
- Lunch & Laugh. Plan a lunch date with your best girlfriend or daughter … make them smile – tell them you love them.
- Fresh air – a good read – music. Sit outside with a good book, or your Pandora full of your favorite musing playing.
- Star-gazing. Sit outside one night during the week. Gaze up at the sky and count the stars – by yourself. Breath in and out slowly … repeat.
Maybe it is all of these things, and maybe it is none of these things for you, but my point is, pick one of your favorite things to do when you are off from work. Make “unscheduled” time a priority. We really almost have to “calendar” some down time and make specific plans or it usually won’t happen. It is too easy to fill moments of down time with “to do” lists, chores and tasks. That’s what society has conditioned us to do. Unscheduled time, or down time for you may be riding a bicycle for a few hours; taking part in a 5K local run/walk; or going to the library and picking out three books you have been dying to read.
“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” (James Carroll)
My point is “JUST DO IT” may mean “JUST DO NOTHING.” Get “unscheduled” and “unstressed”. Get physically, emotionally and mentally recharged.
And as John Lennon once said, “turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.”
If you need me, I will be walking barefoot on the beach, watching the waves crash, and enjoying the feel of the fresh salty breeze on my face.