Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so it’s not unusual to find me at a nearby restaurant most mornings. Which I how I ended up at my favorite table after carpool on the last day of school. But this breakfast was different. Rather than spend time checking email, catching up with Facebook happenings and devouring a few chapters of the latest book on my Kindle, I stepped into my favorite restaurant last Thursday, my heart a bit heavy, my brain focused on making some serious changes in the lives of myself and my family this summer.
I’m determined that the seventy-three days stretching in front of us between now and August 12th (back to school eve), are going to be different this year. It’s time for change. We need fewer places to be and fewer things to do and more creativity, family time, and downtime. We need more margin and less scheduling, more lunch dates with friends who live across town and less time spent on activities that don’t refuel us. Although I hate to admit it, while we’re incredibly busy these days, my family isn’t always thrilled with the things we find ourselves doing and that opens the door for a truckload full of regret.
We went to the beach last summer for a get-a-way weekend and guess what? I never actually went to the beach. It wasn’t until we were on our way home that I realized I didn’t put one foot in the sand the entire trip. Even now, almost a year later, I sit and wonder how in the world that can happen? And while I don’t like the answer, I know exactly where I went wrong. I took work. And that’s exactly how I spent my weekend, sitting on the balcony working, watching my son play in the surf instead of standing beside him and letting the waves that made him laugh splash over me as well.
I guess what I’ve been craving is a promise that my family won’t get to our annual back to school dinner in seventy-three days only to find our biggest summer memory is a list of regrets regarding all the things we didn’t do that’s longer than the menu. You know the list. The missed opportunities, closets we didn’t purge, space we didn’t make for new experiences to flow into our lives, no time to learn new hobbies, too few pool days, too few afternoons free to have friends over or host a backyard BBQ type regrets?
As I finished breakfast and wrestled with my list, several realizations washed over me. Work is always going to be there, lurking in the shadows, demanding a part of me because I like to have several projects going at once. But I’m more than just one of my projects. For the past year and a half, I’ve been trying to keep the varied compartments of my life separate and my efforts have done nothing but leave me always feeling a step behind. The truth is, I’m not a mom one day and a writer the next and a craft hobbyist only on the weekends. I’m all of those things, and more, everyday. It’s up to me to balance my obligations and it’s time to merge the many aspects of this crazy thing I call my life. This is what my family needs from me. Simplification. As you might have guessed, I'm starting with this blog space, which will now include more facets of my real day-to-day like my hobbies (and other creative outlets) and my family life.
While I’d like to lay the blame elsewhere, it turns out I’m the one who needs to grab the wheel in an effort to halt a list of regrets from stacking up in my life. Which means I’m the only one who can keep me from the beach.