the ability to do nothing really is an art.
Many of my friends have small kids, or even babies. I still see myself as the woman who has small children most of the time too. When I envision my life, the life of Wendi, I see my kids at various ages and development, so there are times when I am shocked into remembering my kids are grown for the most part and don’t need me as much and I have more and more time to care for myself.
The practice of doing nothing is difficult for me some days. My life has been a long journey of taking care of others. A husband, a son, a daughter, several pets over the years, homes, gardens, work environments…so to have a good chunk of time to just simply focus on me has been brand new territory. My mother calls me The Engergizer Bunny because I’m always doing something and don’t do sitting still very well. I have to be moving, planning the next thing, cleaning something, washing something, cooking something. I have been the exact opposite of lazy most of my adult life.
That has changed in this last year. Really, it’s really begun changing these last six months or so since my daughter graduated high school. I have given myself permission to spend time, sometimes hours, sometimes an entire day in complete sloth mode. This morning is a perfect example. It’s a crisp, chilly Sunday morning and I woke up when I wanted, having nothing planned for today, took the dog for a walk, did 30 minutes of yoga, and then climbed back into bed with a cup of coffee and my laptop. I plan to stay here the majority of the day, streaming a favorite show and at some point I will pull together some spicy ramen broth and let it stew all day in the slow cooker so it’s not much work. Then I will probably crawl back in bed tonight with a glass of wine and a book.
I know there are Moms out there, some of whom are probably those friends I told you about who have small children who are shaking their fists, raising a middle finger and cussing at me. I remember how that was – thinking I would never have time to do whatever I wanted. I want to encourage you Mom’s that there will come a time when there are no more butts to wipe, no more high chairs, parent-teacher conferences, no more Saturday’s or Sundays at the field watching kids make goals or touchdowns and no more sliced oranges for snacks. There will be time for just you.
These are the days when I am so grateful to be divorced. I know that sounds strange. We are conditioned in our society that we should split off into pairs. We should have another half, a partner to share our lives with. We are taught, especially as young girls that our goal in life is to find our mate. Procreate and then grow old together. That’s supposed to be the plan, right? Ok, I did that first part and it didn’t turn out great. My kids are outstanding and my best and most proud accomplishment. My marriage on the other hand….meh, not so much. I actually cherish my divorced status. I don’t answer to anyone. I make choices because the impact only me.
I listened to a podcast recently where the great Ellen Burstyn was being interviewed. She’s in her 80’s now, living alone and still performing on the stage and screen not because she has to, but because she wants to. She said something that I loved. She allows herself ‘Should-less’ days. She only does things she wants to do, not things she ‘should do’. If that means laying in bed all day watching TV and eating ice cream, than that’s what she’s going to do. I have those days a lot now, and I love them.
I really think for those of us who have raised a family the ability to do nothing really is an art. It’s a transition that I’m sure all retiree’s can agree with is a challenging shift to make, but once you’re there, you never want to go back to the grind of go, go, go. The time to breath and find the stillness is beautiful. I think that’s another reason I can’t see myself dating anytime soon. I just don’t miss it, and I don’t find a desire to do it. At all. This time of taking care of myself is exactly where I want to be and exactly what I want to be doing.