Last week I was laid up in hospital with a lot of time to ponder. I mostly pondered how bad hospital life is, but occasionally my thoughts did wander elsewhere. Apart from the fact that it was a very bad time for me, it was a very good time for me. I thought, “It’s not often that we are given permission to just do bugger all.”
And that’s when I realised something.
Whose permission am I waiting for exactly?
If I want to hang around doing nothing whatsoever, why can’t I just do that?
If I want the weekend to be all about me sitting on my front verandah watching the birds, why can’t I do that?
If I want to laze the night away in front of Gogglebox*, why can’t I do that?
If I want to spend time at the beach without thinking that at some stage we’ll have to leave the beach and deal with all the sand and the hungry children and the wet towels and… why can’t I do that?
I never give myself permission to just stop. Ever. My mind is always asking what happens next and my feet are always moving me through what’s happening now. I’m a constant hum of doing and as much as I complain about the busyness sometimes, I do wonder when I decided that halting that forward momentum was a bad thing.
Many, many, many people lead quiet, day-to-day lives of contemplation and reflection. They are not particularly concerned with bettering themselves (they are already pretty good, thank you very much) or packing as much into life as they possibly can (they are already pretty happy with their lot, thank you very much).
I kind of want to be one of those people.
I rather long for the ability to shut my front door and not be concerned with what’s happening beyond it. Or to shut my eyes at night and not already be planning tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be nice?
It’s harder than you’d think to gain permission from yourself. So far, me is saying “no way, dude! You’ve been flat on your back for an entire week, you are behind in life” and I’ve been more planny and pushy than ever since hospital.
I just don’t seem to get it. I do wonder if I’m subconsciously raising my kids to be a flat-out maniac like their mother. I don’t want that for them. I want them to always have permission to lie in the grass and dream dreams that wiggle and float and will never, ever be made into goals. Ever.
* Hospital made me watch it, and now I can’t stop…
Do you give yourself permission to stop?