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We’ve all experienced it. The Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda life. For most of my life it was completely surrounded by either guilt or apathy. I either felt guilty because I was relaxing… or I convinced myself NOT TO CARE.
That’s just the way it is, right?
We all face time when either boredom or chaos derail any productivity we might have imagined when we built our strategic plan for the year, the quarter, the month, the week or even the TIME BLOCK we learned how to plan out in that latest good book we read.
AHH… the euphoria we felt when we read that book and blocked out our perfect day. We pictured all the things we’d get done and the satisfaction it would bring. Then, we find ourselves in the middle of a fire fight and we have no idea how to bring that line item on our perfectly planned day into reality.
Recently, I realized this all too clearly. I allowed myself to UNPLUG in front of the TV. After all, those shows I recorded aren’t going to watch themselves, right? They’re like one more to-do list and I need to get it done… (note to self: rethink my obligation to the DVR).
Suddenly I realized… I’ve got free time. Something I’ve dreamed of. Opportunity to do something special with Vicki, to make a memory, to connect with people I love, to talk about the important issues of our lives, dream for the future, get to know her better (even after decades there’s always more to learn)… but I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t in the right mindset.
You know what I’m talking about.
Then it hit me… One of these days I’m going to WISH I had this chance. I’m going to beg for one more opportunity to focus on this time of my life, my health, my relationships, and all the reasons I told myself I’ve been working so hard in the first place!
We work like maniacs because we’re planning to enjoy our lives someday, but our work becomes our life. We forget it was supposed to serve us so we could have incredible moments that we’re missing because we’re not prepared for them.
So, we have free time but we don’t know how to use it. We relax, but we forget our relaxation was intended to be the chance to explore and reflect.
No, I’m not saying we should have an itinerary for our down time… that’s not what I mean. Even total stillness and seemingly unproductive conversation can be the greatest joy of our lives. The key is not guilt… it’s just a little bit of preparation that helps us turn today into the day we’ve been waiting for. Into the day we’ve been working so hard to reach.
Don’t let the chaos happen without pulling the important into it. That applies to downtime as well. See the opportunity, even when it’s not how you planned it.
What if the time we have is right in front of us, but we’re not prepared. What could you plan to do, even if you had just one minute?
Could you make a tiny memory? Make a difference in someone’s life? Remind someone you care about them?
My experience? Minutes get filled by checking social media, answering email or watching TV. We’re addicted to being entertained rather than creating the stories of our lives. Hey, I struggle with this as well.
We need the important to exist in the CHAOS – in the everyday MOVES of our lives.
That’s why we practice.
Your life is full of opportunity to give and to receive. I challenge you to find the joy and the restoration of your spirit by investing your downtime in giving of yourself in relationship with others. All it takes is a little mischievous grin and a little practice.