I sat with one foot tucked behind the other, shifting occasionally to accommodate Leo’s oscillating nap poses. It was pleasant in the shade of the balcony, the warm breeze catching my bangs as I drank in the fourth day of summer. I selected a page from Cats in Paris and began coloring. The rhythmic motion, both mindless and utterly engaging, melted away my stress from the week. I looked up to notice the façade of the towering Liberty National building across the way, its cool white brick dyed an amber glow from the setting sun, lending a serendipitous beauty to the contrasting cerulean sky. I glanced back down, took a sip from my still steaming mug of mint green tea, and returned to my sketch.
For me, these moments of pure relaxation come far too scarcely. It is both a blessing and a curse that I have learned to live with, my constant drive to accomplish something. That drive has pushed me to learn, do, and achieve some of my proudest feats. Yet, I find myself crippled sometimes by its pressure. Perhaps it stems from a fear of not living life to the fullest, of looking back ten years from now and seeing nothing but a inane montage of motions. To live fully, I feel you must infuse purpose into everything that you do. Without it, you’re just killing time.
Some of my favorite pastimes include browsing bookstores, stealing away to write, and going for strolls outdoors. Yet when I look at how I spend my days, I admit that I rarely indulge in any of the above. Sure, I may give each a few moments of time here and there, but dedicating an entire afternoon to one? Preposterous. But what a hypocrite I am! These are all things for which I have true conviction, yet I fail to see them as worthy uses of my precious time.
What I’ve realized today is that it’s okay to take a pause. You shouldn’t feel guilty for it. I believe it is better for the heart, head, and soul to spend some time enjoying yourself than it is to fill your day with endless tasks for fear of being unproductive. That’s something I do, and I know that it’s mostly to hide from myself. I don’t want to calm down, to be forced to process the events and emotions of my day. I get high off the commotion, the always-on attitude I cultivate. But with every high, there comes a crash.
By writing this, I hope to remind myself of this simple truth for when I inevitably forget it. And maybe, it will remind you too.