In case you feel sorry for me. Don’t. I’m not alone alone. I have a great family, awesome friends, a husband and kids who I’m not sure I could love more. I’m very much not alone in general. But today is my birthday, and I’m spending a good 4 hours of it by myself, which feels like a gift. What’s up with that?
Somehow in my ripe old age, alone time has become this precious commodity. Maybe it’s our season with kids in school and sports and careers, but it just seems there is constant noise and activity. Someone is always talking in our house, always following us to our room to “chat” when all I want to do is go pee in silence. I love my kids and I LOVE talking to them, but sometimes the only thing I want is to be left alone, and I can only credit this to age.
As a kid I was always told what a people person I was. I always had to be around someone. I didn’t pee alone back in the day. Ever. And by this I mean I was the girl in school who always wanted someone to go with me to the bathroom so I wouldn’t miss out on anything. However, I also had this fiercely independent side that was sort of buried underneath what everyone else perceived me as. I was a people person, but I’m also very much an introvert. A thinker. A dreamer. My brain rarely stops. You know on the movie The Holiday where Cameron Diaz thinks in movie trailers? I think in blog posts or in book titles or in adventures. And I’ve learned this past year that I’m a people person yes, but I’m also an introvert who needs time alone to decompress and let me mind wander. I need rest. And so do you.
It’s that word….rest. I don’t do it well and yet I need it desperately. I fight the inner turmoil when I sit down to eat lunch and put my feet up. It says get up. Clean toilets. Knock off your to do list and be productive you dummy. Grown ups don’t sit during the day to piddle online or jump in the pool after a hot run or heaven forbid READ A BOOK before designated sit down and read time(which is when again?? Is there such a thing in grown up land?). So, I’ve decided this year to allow myself time to be still. To savor. To enjoy the mundane and ordinary. To be alone sometimes. To work a little less at working more and soak in the moments that are quiet. Because there is guilt attached to this no? If we sit down just to simply sit down? We think we need to get up. We need to get busy. We need to move and work and produce. And that gets exhausting.
This year my word is present. I want to be present in the day to day, in the big things and the small. So, as I start a new year of life, so incredibly grateful for another day to wake up breathing and living, I think about it again. Present. Be in the moments. Less distractions. Less phone. Less laptop. Less busy bee worker mom who never stop and who likes to, as Shauna Niequist calls it, “fake rest.” Running around in my PJ’s or workout clothes working around the house tirelessly while the rest of my family seems to just enjoy. They enjoy the pool while I clean around it. They enjoy a show while I wipe counter tops. They enjoy xbox upstairs while I clean out bedrooms and closets. I may appear to be resting based on the fact that we’re “just hanging out at home,” but I’m not. I’m a machine(so I tell myself I need to be) but on the inside I just want some moments of alone time to sit and be still, and not have guilt attached to it. Because rest is biblical and necessary to our health, physically, spiritually and emotionally. We must allow ourselves this gift.
If I never stop to rest, to enjoy, to savor, then I miss out. I miss what God might have to say to me through the words to a song or through something one of my kids needs to say to me if I’d only stop long enough to really listen. If I allow Him a single moment to breath life into my weary soul, I might walk away feeling whole and renewed. Because as a mom, sometimes I feel weary. No one sees me, no one cares, no one acknowledges(even though my husband and kids are actually really good at encouragement, I think most moms struggle with these feelings every now and then). So being present and allowing rest means I allow God to fill me with His spirit. I choose to let my identity be in Him, not how much I checked off my to do list today. Not how many races I’ve run or blog posts I’ve written. I allow Him to guide my day to day moments. I choose joy in the ordinary. I enjoy a mani/pedi by myself and read a book and let the rest go for an hour. No guilt. I see what happens when I sit still, what surge of energy I feel just having allowed the rest my body, soul and mind need. So that’s what I’ll be working on this 35th year of my life. Being present. Slowing down. Being in the moments and not allowing guilt and shame to rear their ugly heads if I don’t hit my 10,000 steps. To simply be who God made me to be. To encourage other’s. To love my family. To listen to my kids more. Sounds like New Years up in here doesn’t it? Just reflections and goals with another coming year of living. Because I really want to live. In every sense of the word.
To savor means to “to taste(good food or drink) and enjoy it completely. That’s what I want.
“believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it.
I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.” ~Shauna Niequist