Buckwheat Zydeco had us singing “Peace, Love and Happiness” over and over at the end of his set at this weekend’s Xponential Music Festival in Camden, NJ. It was our fifth year attending, and one of the best. We even made it the whole way through Sunday night, a feat we had not ever accomplished. It’s been a crazy couple of months and it’s difficult to wrap my head around how my world is spinning but a few thoughts keep circling back. I could drive myself mad, and sometimes do, thinking about recurring thoughts on my career, writing, home life, faith and the driving issues that are pressing us down in this world.
I’m reminded so often how little time we have to make this world a better place. I like to think we will get it all done but I also know that for some of us that might be impossible. Martin Luther King, Jr. died at 39 years old having accomplished amazing things and had done enough to cause a massive shift in the way race wars were playing out in our country. I have 8 more years until 39 – what does that look like?
I don’t want to get wrapped up in the ‘what ifs’ and agendas of life. Creating a bucket list goal of visiting all 59 national park units seems difficult enough, although a pretty fun goal! Having a checklist for life means that I miss out on a lot of things that never make the list, and I worry I’ll just skip right past those important moments that don’t make the cut. What if I tried living based on virtues and morals rather than goals and checklists?
Thoughts of “I should be writing, I should be working out, I should not eat this cake, I should make one more call” go on and on in my head like an illness. This constant stream of words reminding me what I’m not; a checklist of things still to do that creates a environment of guilt and longing.
I want to rest. I’m learning this. Life has given me some tough breaks lately that required that I do little but rest. And so I did. I used to feel guilty for taking days off, but I’m working on breaking that mentality. I don’t want to keep breaking myself to believe it’s ok to stop and soak life in, even if that means just laying on the couch and watching “The Good Wife”.
We can always do more. Yes, it’s possible but it may not always be the the best thing for our well being. When I don’t stop to take care of myself I’m not much use to the people around me. Hard things to realize, harder to actually do. There are a million things I’d really love to do that I’m not equipped to do, uncertain if it will be successful, and can’t find the time to begin. I dream on and off of these things every day of my life constantly feeling inadequate. It’s not a dream cycle, it’s like a nightmare of undone things.
That damn work ethic I was taught.
I don’t need to be the one to do it all.
It will take time (Thanks Myka).
So I could make that list of all the things I’d love to do. And I could take my rest days and watch it all not get done and feel worse about it. But I do believe there’s a better way to this life.
I think it’s stopping. It’s doing what I can. I believe it’s cheering myself on and being happy about what I’ve done in a day. I believe it’s finding peace in my choices. I believe it’s loving and being soft with the ones I cherish.
I don’t know if my mind is wrapping itself around these concepts quite yet but they seem pretty wonderful and they relax me, unlike the thoughts of to do lists, books I should write, places I need to see before I die, causes that need won, people that need helped, money that needs made. I believe if I embrace my now in whatever state it is I could be a lot more satisfied instead of feeling the beckon of undone things.