I scored a long Christmas holiday from work this year—10 days, in fact—and enough time to ultimately reach that glorious what day is this? mindset. Travel completed, house de-decked, I began to wind my way through the hours, taking long look how pretty the clouds are today breaks as I cleaned out the massive accumulation of stuff beneath my bathroom sink.
There’s something really beautiful about allowing yourself that much time for a task that mundane. With every find, I opened and rubbed and smelled before deciding STAY or GO—including the rather massive collection of tiny shampoo/conditioner/lotion bottles I have amassed. My husband and I have differing views on hotel toiletries; he finds it silly that I even bring those plastic containers home. Fine, I think, you who will wash your hair with deodorant soap and not think twice about it.
Anyway. I cleaned the closets and organized my desk and created new files, including an entire ELIZA/COLLEGE section. I did the laundry—including the hand washables—and trimmed the herbs and mulched the garden and planted an entire new bed of smiley pansies. (That made me very happy.) And then January arrived, and it was time to go Back To Work.
This was my thought as I exited our neighborhood, pulling my SUV into the mad rush of The Holiday is Over traffic. Was it possible to hold on to some semblance of the calm I felt in those last days of vacation? Could I carry peace with me? What would happen, I wondered, if I unsubscribed to my own DO IT RIGHT NOW lifestyle, and instead, slowed down?
I flipped on the turn signal, choosing a longer, but prettier, route to work. For an entire 15 minute section (quite miraculously) there was not a single car behind me to apply let’s-just-get-on-with-it pressure. And so I drove along unencumbered, immersed in the audiobook tale of the charming (and surprisingly spunky) Elfida Phipps in Winter Solstice, marveling at the elegance of the bare winter trees lining the roadway.
Could autumn be any more glorious?
My day proceeded accordingly. Each time my email pinged or a meeting alert sounded, I resisted the urge to jump. I just might be on to something, I thought, as I walked with intention, slowly, measured, on my way to my car at the end of that first day. Perhaps control lies within me, in the way I go about my day.
I carried it through to Day 2, and then Day 3. Every time I felt the pressure rise, rather than breaking into sweaty run (literally or figuratively), I did the opposite. I slowed down.
Tomorrow will be Day 4. So I must say, there is not conclusive evidence of my theory. But it is looking promising. And that, my friends, is enough for now.
I’m thinking of a January filled with Do-Overs, Rethinks, What Ifs. Want to come along?