“Finish Columbo Episode,” and other things on today’s to-do list

Today is the first day of spring break.  Last night, I folded up my lunch bag and put it on the shelf, where it will stay for the next ten days.  I washed out my travel mug and committed myself to only drinking coffee out of real mugs until April 4th.  I dropped my school bag at the foot of my bed and have no intention of picking it up until I go back to work.  I woke up this morning at a luxurious 7 a.m. and flatly refused to get out of bed until a quarter of eight just because I could.

I don’t have any plans for today.  I only just made the transition from jammies to yoga clothes (which are really just trendy jammies…)  I am almost done drinking my way through a 10 cup pot of coffee.  I get to sit at my kitchen table with the sun (looking far too wintery to be spring break as it reflects off the snow-covered roofs) streaming through the windows.  I have a list, of course–I’m a big one for lists–but my list includes things like, “Cut up and freeze pepper.”  (Yes.  I mean one, single pepper.)  “Call Mom–what to bring to Easter?”  And (my personal favorite) “Finish Columbo episode.”  (Yes, I did that.  On purpose.)

My need for lists probably says a lot about me as a person–the fact that I feel like I need to make sure things are written down, because I can’t remember everything to do it…

When I reflect on the speed of my life, and I mentally tally through the roll of my weekly “Expected’s”–my job, yoga class twice a week, the choir that rehearses for 3 hours on Wednesday, running at least ten miles, helping out with a youth choir, voice lessons, church–that’s busy!  Then I add all those things that aren’t every week–dinners with friends, visiting family, writing letters to my grandma, working on my novel, reading…I realize my life is really, really busy.

This is definitely not a “Oh, pity poor, Millennial me” moment.  I know I did this.  I choose this life–I love the hobbies I fit in because they make me feel more alive.  I treasure my friendships and they are worth creating the time to maintain.  I very much buy into the idea of “living life to the full.”  It will not be said, when I go to meet my Maker, that I did not avail myself of the opportunities in this life He gave me.

I used to just think about having to stay busy all the time–the more I did, the more successful I’d be.  I needed my lists and schedules to make sure I did the absolute most all of the time.  I didn’t want to stop moving because that would be like quitting.  I would be wasting time.  (And we all know, if there’s one invaluable thing in American culture, it’s time.)

But I don’t think that’s true anymore.  I’ve learned that doing nothing–checking things off my to-do list like “Drink all of the coffee”–is not wasting time.  It is pausing and stepping back.  That my body and mind and spirit need that rest.  That break.  (This is probably why God gave the whole “Sabbath” thing.)  When I take time back to do nothing, to be bored, to stare at the sun coming through my kitchen window, my heart sings a little song I don’t usually hear.  I breath a little deeper.  The knots of the stress of my zany, modern life relax.  I feel whole.  I feel better.  I feel alive.

14 thoughts on ““Finish Columbo Episode,” and other things on today’s to-do list

  1. I!

    You’ve captured the crazy lives so many of us lead and, better still, the reasons we must — we absolutely MUST — take the time to be still.

  2. ” (This is probably why God gave the whole “Sabbath” thing.) ” I burst out laughing at that, It took me SO LONG to accept that for myself. My days off were always so planned to the max I never really got rest. It literally came down to me saying to myself “If God can take a day off to rest, maybe I need to get over myself and do the same thing now and then.” Only when I decide it’s time to check out it’s HGTV’s “Property Brothers” for me. Great slice, enjoy the break.

  3. Hurray for self care! I love the detail of you folding up your lunch bag and putting it on the shelf and your decision not to touch your school bag until you go back. It is so important to recharge. Enjoy your time off!

  4. Sounds like you’ve found the perfect bliss for yourself. Lists aren’t a bad thing until they begin to control your life. Enjoy your time drinking coffee out of real mugs for the next two weeks. 🙂

  5. Why do we feel guilty when we take time off to recharge?? I never understood that about myself. But we become better people when we take time to relax and enjoy life, noticing all the little things that make life wonderful! enJoy your time off – you deserve it!

  6. ” It will not be said, when I go to meet my Maker, that I did not avail myself of the opportunities in this life He gave me.” That line says it all. So many people waste their lives-I’m glad you are living yours to the fullest. I really enjoyed the slice.

  7. Those first breaths of freedom, when you feel your shoulders drop and your forehead smooth and your breathing steady. That’s what’s important. Kudos for taking care of YOU! Enjoy your ten days!

  8. I love lists. I will put “get out of bed” on my list, just to cross it off. Or, since it’s Easter break: Stay in bed and read until 10. That one will feel great to cross off. I thank the Good Lord for making the Sabbath and sticky notes (my go to list collector). Enjoy your boredom.

    1. I am a sticky note freak…a colleague and I regularly wonder how teachers got anything done before its invention! 🙂

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