I have really enjoyed my new relationship with wasting time. I think I have always appreciated it, but I don’t think I actually leaned into it as much as I have lately. I work hard, though not as hard as a lot of other people, of course. But I sure do know how to kick back and relax. I have my Artist’s Dates out in the world…plays and movies and martinis and writing on benches in random places outdoors. Those are wonderful. And then there are times where I do nothing but play on Pinterest and watch episodes of Family Affair (which I actually cared enough about to find and DVR, if that tells you anything about how I invest in the quality of my leisure time,) or watch all four hours of the Today Show, or reruns of the Love Boat. (Where, oddly, I always seem to catch episodes with Charo and one of the sisters from Eight is Enough.) I was introduced to Quiz Up by a beloved friend and I am afraid it brings out the worst in me. (The intellectually competitive high school girl who probably has a genetic predisposition to gambling addiction. That sort of person has no business playing video games against real people. Still, I play. And if you try to get me to stop before I am ready I will feel the urge to punch you.) Those are so indulgent, too. And I have been lucky enough to have a bunch of them in this beautiful June vacation.
I think my favorite, though, are these in between ones, neither the extravagant nor mindless, when I take a little while to just sit by myself in my garden behind the rhododendrons. (I say “garden” as if I do anything to it. I do not. I just pay a college kid to mow my grass and before I sit down I sweep the pollen off of the furniture. I also sing to the peonies, though that might be a mistake because I didn’t get a single bud this year. I am trying not to take that as an omen.)
But I digress. That sometimes happens out here in the garden.
I’ve done it since we moved here to this house I used to love so very much. I take my journal, a magazine, a glass of wine, and my phone both for music and because I know I need to keep being responsible to my life if I am needed. I sit in my wicker furniture that I bought from my earnings for directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and knowing that I earned it makes me feel extra grateful to use it year after year. I listen to the robins. I watch the clouds and notice the patterns the light makes through these oak leaves at different times of the day. Recently, I rigged out an extension cord so I can plug in my laptop out here, and write. I am writing this blog from here right now. It’s a little chilly, so I am sitting under the Wizard of Oz blanket that Auntie gave me in high school. With my glasses perched on the end of my nose, I am sure I look exactly like my own grandmother, convalescing in the fresh summer air. I am okay with that.
I do not always have time like this. I blast through my life like a freight train some seasons, for weeks or even months at a time. But, inevitably, there comes a time where I declare my need for stillness, for solitude, for the right to write. Usually it is just an afternoon or an evening here or there. It has just so happened that this month has been the longest ever string of them, and I have treasured every one. I’ve done some work on my new play. I’ve blogged a few times. I’ve journaled a TON. I feel replenished because of it.
In between, I worked with Andrea on finishing our play, and got it ready to launch for our summer camp. I paid the bills and helped throw a party and mindfully parented and made some positive changes in my life and outlook. I had some challenging conversations. I figured some things out. I got some important things done this June. But not as many as usual. I am okay with that, too.
I understand how rare and precious this is, and that not everyone gets to do this. I think of Lisa, six sons and a seventh on the way. She gets her prayer time, but it is no easy feat to find a moment alone. I think of Uncle Kevin, who is always running around fixing something, for someone. He should be long retired, but instead he climbs on ladders and fixes my garage door. I see that. I am humbled by it. But I also remember time spent hot-gluing Christmas lights into the Corny Collins sign at 10:30 on a Tuesday night. Saturday afternoons cleaning the paint sink or bolting platforms together. Nights crossing my fingers that the mortgage check wouldn’t bounce. Mornings weeping in the car, and having to repair all of my makeup before getting to my destination. (I still keep mascara in the glove department of my car, just in case. I guess I am never sure that the crying is really done for good.) I have my share of trials, too, just like anyone, and no one’s life is ever a rose garden, despite what it appears on the outside. (Or a rhododendron garden, as the case may be.) Some days are hard. In between, though, I steal an hour or a few from time to time, and I savor every moment of it. It’s a beautiful thing.
So, I leave you now, to read my Real Simple magazine, and my book about the making of West Side Story, and this Facebook article Elise sent me. I will drink my wine and watch the cardinals for just a little while longer, and then I will mop the kitchen floor and change the litterbox and get the girls packed up for their sleepovers.
But now? Here. This.