The Art of Idleness.

Monday, July 9, 2012

This recent article prompted some re-evaluating 
of my current sitch,
my way of being. . .a summer-mom-at-home-with-children.
It's lovely.  AND challenging.
But I feel (for the first time,) like I have a nice balance
between being fun, entertaining,
spontaneous and adventurous with my kids. . .
{Blueberry picking on a random early morn.  Hey, I didn't say I was living life on the edge.  This is the extent of our 'adventurousness,'  but it's good enough for them.}
 I told you.  Grace.  Not impressed.  Nice tat.
But our summer days 'at home with mom' sprinkled nicely
with some babysitters and 'me' time, to achieve that perfect balance.
A MUST for me to survive summer.
Me, sneaking away for a weekend to photograph quiet Wisconsin country roads.
A sunset or two.
Dare I say. . .it's easy?
Well, easy enough with these three and the ages they're at.
Regardless, this article made me think about some new things.
The 'Busy' Trap.  Read it.
This IS my default response as well.
I TOO have fallen in to the trap, like everyone else I know,
to answer EVERY "Hey!  How are you?  What's new?"
with, "Oh, you know.  We're SOOOOOOOOO busy!  SO crazy."
It's lame.  And unoriginal.  And honestly, a lie.
We're really not that busy.
But it's my go-to response, a fake "boast disguised as a complaint," for sure.
And when people ask me how my business is going, which they ALWAYS do if I haven't seen them in awhile, I always find myself saying,
"Oh!  SOOOOO busy!  SOOOOO good, but SSSSOOOOO busy!"
But I'm not swamped.  I'm not struggling to keep my head above water.  I'm not stressed.  It's perfect.  I have a few sessions scheduled every month, but it's. . .not busy.  It's manageable.  I'm a full time mom, a part time photographer.  I'm relaxed.  I'm in control.  I get to do what I love but on my own time.  Loving the freedom of being an artist, able to hone my creative side, confident in the fact I could pack my schedule at any moment to fill the entrepreneur in me, but choosing, at this point in life,
to idle.
To spend a majority of my time,
raising kids.
Yet in those moments, where my life's accomplishments for the moment are called to the front of the line with a, "So!  What are you up to these days?"
I panic a little.  Having believed (until now,) that the success of my life, was riding on the busyness of my schedule.
That somehow, if I was overwhelmed, or appeared to be, that would make me a superhero.
Now that's just idiotic.
If it SOUNDS like I have 200 clients versus 50, does that make me look more awesome?
No.  Of course not.  My work does.  I'd rather be recognized for my style, my talent and skill, the quality of the time I spend with each family, the love I give to each shoot and time spent REALLY getting to know the individuals in front of my lens.
Not how crammed my schedule is, photographing or running my family to and fro.
But we answer such questions this way, believing it makes us look important, sought-after (or so I thought.)
Again, just coming back to what matters in life.
What floats your boat.
Does having a jam-packed schedule make you GENUINELY happy?
Does it fill you and make you feel important?
Then go on with your bad self.
For me?  No.  It doesn't.
I need to better honor and preserve one of the greatest things about me, something I learned from my own mother,
my ability to say no.
To slow down.
Take breaks.
Take naps.
Letting go of the feeling I need to 'keep up' with the flow of everyone's life around me, how THEY are living,
when really, I have no interest in that.
I want simply to make time for the TRULY important. . .resting, relaxing, making memories naturally, not through pushing everyone past their breaking point, late nights, long trips, overdone, or over extended.  
Doing 'just enough' of everything.
Allowing for plenty of time for the simple things of summer.
Swimming.
Sprinkler-ing.
 Biking.
More biking.
 
Give a 3-year-old an iphone and he'll take a sweet pic.
Glad he got my non-varicose vein-y calf.
Drawin' with Uncle Rusty.
 Two generations of hard core artists.
Diner cheeseburgers.
Lemonade stands on sweltering, hot days.
{They made $3.}
Slip n' slidin' with Auntie Barb.
 Losing a first tooth.
Oh yeah.
We've got time for it all.
And we're not even busy.
I'm not exhausted.  I'm not swamped.  I'm not overwhelmed.
I CRAVE down time, silence, an empty schedule,
between all the fun, I make it happen.
Why don't I boast about THAT?
The sense of balance I've found and strive for daily?
My sense of inner peace?
My contentment and pride for the self-induced slow flow of our life?
Why, like everyone else, do I feel inclined to say that I'm SOOOOOO busy?!
After reading this article, I can confidently pronounce that I have conquered and now own, the art of idleness.
That I do what I want, move at my/our own pace, respectfully know and honor my limits and those of my children.
Honor and stand with strength on the fact that we don't actually have crazy schedules, crazy amounts of activities, crazy amounts of work.
I will share, that although excessive TV watching makes me uncomfortable, 
we've had days this summer, too hot to go outside, where that's all we did!  
Spongebob, ipads, iphones. . .laying on our cool couches in an air-conditioned living room, 
just.doing.nothing.
I LOVE having things scheduled, but equally LOVE having nothing to do.
In those unplanned moments, we have peace, presence and the joy of having time at our fingertips when we're ready for it.
What I love about this article, is one line.  One I relate to.
"I am the laziest ambitious person I know." -Tim Krieder
Me too.
I have a list a mile long of things I want to accomplish in my free time,
in this one life,
and I've made some big ol' dents.
But I love more than anything, the days of ordinariness.  Where we do what we want.  And do nothing at all.
Accept the invites we want.  Decline the ones we don't.
Check things off and let things be, for another day.
"The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done." 
So we will continue to lounge under the blanket of idleness that covers our home,
a canopy that summer can and SHOULD provide to all those tired of being busy.
And just surrendering to a new pace and a more comfortable life.

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