License to …
I’m writing this on a Friday. Today I have a do-to list and I feel the need to be productive. I’m planning to write this post, work on my WIP, sweep, make some phone calls, and probably do some promotional stuff for my books. All very productive and on task.
But tomorrow is Saturday. On Saturday, do I have a license to relax? Probably not, because Saturday is a day to be productive or at least plan something to do, even if it’s social. It’s got me thinking about reasons for what I do (habit, programming, necessity) and feeling the license to do…whatever.
My son recently introduced me to the Bullet Journal system to me. Quoting the website, “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” I am a list maker and I’m finding a license to make lists in my Bullet Notebook. It’s fun! So here’s my list of circumstances under which I have a “license to do …” and what those things are.
· Sunday – Sunday is a do nothing day for me. I spent a lot of years in the past going to church on Sunday and socializing afterward. These days, Sunday is the day to stay in pajamas all day and read or enjoy time conversing with my husband. It’s also become a time to socialize with my children and their spouses. Either way, I have license to relax.
· Children – Having children available has given me license to ride the water slide at a sort of advanced age. I’ve stood on the platform at the top of the water slide a bit self-conscious about my cellulite riddled legs but feeling comfortable with a young niece holding my hand. I mean, I have to do fun things like that with a child.
· Fitness walking – Where I live there is a wonderful trail that traverses the city, over rivers and through wooded areas. It’s great for walking. But walking it also gives me license to stop writing or delay housework and get outside. Fitness walking is a good activity to improve and maintain health. It also gives me license to chat with family or friends for however long we decide to walk. It’s not just a way to avoid writing or housework, and it’s not goofing off.
· Writing – When I began writing professionally, I finally had reasons to write sayings or interesting words – like “acute” – on pieces of paper. I was doing it anyway, but now it had a legitimate purpose. Writing also offers an opportunity to listen to music, make up stuff, and explore themes, characterization, and complexities of human relations. Oh, and sit and savor coffee.
· Research – Along with writing comes the need to conduct research. I find it fun. I don’t know, I feel I’ve always been curious by nature about anything and everything. My mind is full of questions. What do bounty hunters like to be called? Recovery agents. What is the natural habitat of lynxes in the United States? The remote Northwest forests. I also love doing interviews with expert sources. It’s fun and fascinating to interact with different kinds of people. I can be noisy without need for an apology.
Both research and writing make it acceptable to spend an afternoon at the bookstore and purchase more books. No, I do not have too many books.
· Overwhelmed – Being overwhelmed is not fun. It can raise anxiety and create chronic stress that can affect creativity, peace of mind, and memory. It makes me lose sleep and snap at my husband. Though I strive for balance, it doesn’t always happen. But overwhelm gives me license to just sit and do nothing. Let my insides rest. So I feel it is not only comfortable in those times to lie in bed and chill, but I find it necessary. A really “good” overwhelm can make a strong case for allowing my mind and body to simply exist, while sitting on the couch (maybe reading for pleasure), lying in bed with my cat and enjoying her presence in my life, or finding a spot under a tree at a local park and just soaking in the nature all around. All of these things are made better with a delicious cup of coffee, of course.
In the spirit of license and lists, under what circumstances do you have license to do what?