Whenever I feel the desire to go out and do something purely for my own enjoyment, there is a voice in my head telling me, "I don't deserve it." We're bred to think that way, aren't we?
You want time off from work? Earn it.
You need to interrupt your morning to slowly enjoy a hot cup of coffee? Then do something measurable first.
You don't get something for nothing, and the early bird gets the worm.
Then I think back to the feeling I got whenever I travelled outside North America, where this "achievement" modus operandi isn't so pervasive. It is a feeling of indulgence, of luxury, but without justification. I would allow myself to enjoy, truly savour something-- a book, a cheese, an afternoon swim-- without feeling I needed to earn the right to enjoy it so. Each time I recognized this way of life in my surroundings, I vowed to adopt it, bring it home, and let it be transplanted in my own life.
Since my travel has slowed down and my participation level in the go-go-go working world has ceased, I realize it is completely up to me what I do with my time. Which is liberating. So why do I still feel a need to justify taking time for myself to enjoy something that has no added value? Why do I have a hard time ignoring the laundry, or the to-be-emptied dishwasher in favour of reading a chapter of a book, or taking pictures purely for the pleasure of it?
When free time is a finite and valuable commodity, I feel hard pressed to use it for anything not measurably useful.
Lately, indulgence has included finding new things to photograph, so that I may improve upon my skills, and learn to make basic edits. I am finding beauty in scenes I see with my naked eye almost every day, but in the quiet, slow processing of an image, I have time to see all of its elements: Hailey's squinting smile, her wispy hair, the way her irises are the same colour as the sky when it's at its most sunny.
I have been slowing down my getting ready for bed rituals and making them much more pleasurable. I am often racing at day's end to squeeze what I can from its fleeting minutes, before I rush into bed. You know what? A few extra minutes of self care and time to exhale fully before closing my eyes does wonders. I make sure to wash my face well (with that same bar of olive oil soap I bought last winter), spray it with homemade apple cider vinegar toner, rub in a rich face cream, brush my teeth, moisturize my lips, and do a big, slow stretch. My tired mama skin has vastly improved, and I just feel better.
Today, the kids have all agreed to take a nap at the same time, and though there are a number of things I could do to be productive around the house, I have chosen to instead ask myself, "Sarah, what do you want to do?". So, I sat on the couch to read some of my favourite blogs while eating four cheese strings, drinking a litre of water slowly, and petting Skylar's sleeping head every few minutes.
Then, I was Pinterest-inspired to clear off the top of our entryway dresser and set up a little scene: a jade plant, a sea salt candle, a copy of Late Nights on Air, and a framed picture of our very first night in our new house. I hung the wooden N I painted last week. Feeling crafty, full of processed cheese, and thoroughly hydrated, I will now bid you adieu and get back to being completely unproductive in other arenas, like an afternoon yoga session.