I remember those days when there was NEVER a dull moment in my life. Work, School, church, sports, birthdays, hospitals, friendships – drama at every turn. We spent our days running from one activity to the next, connecting and catching up in the car. No break during vacations either, they were usually jam-packed with activities as well. Trying to make the most of our time, how did we fit so much in a 24 hour period? Now I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Now and then we’d call a timeout. The kids would sleep in, or they’d watch Saturday morning cartoons as they waited to have a leisurely breakfast with all the trimmings. Pancakes or French toast swimming in syrup or eggs and bacon with an Italian breadstick from the bakery in town, where my Dad had stopped before coming over for coffee. Usually, he managed to get it to us still warm from the oven. We’d use real butter and watch it melt on the bread right before our eyes. Just to remember it, my mouth waters.
In the summer we’d pack a picnic and head for the beach early enough to enjoy nature’s sights and sounds before the crowds lined the shore. We’d lay on our blankets soothed by the surf, the birds, and the ocean breeze. Later we would head to the boardwalk for a stroll, some fried dough and try our hand at the arcade games. The most challenging part was choosing a prize with that would equal the number of tickets we had won. At the end of the day were ready to start the week all over again.
It seemed like this was the natural order of things, but I think when we are in the middle of living like that, we forget to pause. I don’t remember the exact moment that I decided to do things differently but somewhere along the way I told myself it couldn’t continue. I was burning the candle at both ends as they say and burning out my kids as well. Years later I read the book The Four Agreements by Dr. Miguel Ruiz, and it validated all my decisions and choices. There was nothing magical about it. There was nothing in that book that I hadn’t heard before, but because it was able to put into words what I had been thinking, I felt enlightened. For a while, after I read it, I was giving that book away to family, friends, and co-workers – anyone who I felt needed to take another look at life.
I still keep those “Agreements” with myself. It is my understanding that in life there is NEVER a dull moment. I believe every moment is special whether they are quiet and peaceful or full of drama and pain. I had a friend who would always remind me “It is what it is.” I agree, but it’s up to us to take whatever “it” is and make the moments count. We fine-tune our skills with each experience and put it towards a rewarding life. We learn to listen to our internal voice and realize that when things are getting out of hand, we need to take care of ourselves first. It’s not selfish, its practical, its common sense. To be there for others, we need to be oK.
Does it make sense?