23 Apr 2013

things you do when you can’t do the things you do

It is hard to make any statements or judgements regarding the last seven days because, well, I am not sure that this seven days can be compared to anything else in the history of The Weeks of My Life. Or maybe the weeks of anyone’s lives, I don’t know. A holiday weekend followed shortly by a large-scale national tragedy, followed by unscheduled downtime in which I basically joined The Boy in his spring break, and a day-long, Stay-In-Your-Houses-This-Kid-Is-Armed stand-off. For good measure.

Oh, and this was also the week I didn’t read any books… or watch any TV or movies, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, or read anything substantial on the Internet beyond my emails.

Weirdest. Week. Ever.

I will confess that I did not achieve 100% abstinence. You try not watching the news or reading anything on Twitter the next time your city seems to be on the brink of descending into violent chaos. I also read about 50 pages of Janie Face to Face, which has been a trip because I was totally into Face on the Milk Carton…. when I was about TEN. And I just realized that I didn’t even read book #4.

Other than that, though, I did pretty good. And by did pretty good, I mean…

I ran a lot

The weather was gorgeous all week, and after five weeks of coercion, of “pretty please,” of running solo, The Boy is finally more into it than I am. Ran Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday again. Only one run under 2 miles. Completed Couch to 5k in just under 7 weeks. Said this phrase: “Hmm… we’ve already run 3 days out of the last 4… I know – let’s just do a nice short run into town and then buy a bottle of wine and take the bus home!”

I Instagrammed my cat a lot

What can I say? The weather’s warming up. I don’t want to say she’s cuter when it’s warm. It’s more like a different season of cute. Winter cute, snuggled up with blankets and cuddling on my chest, is ending; Summer cute, sprawling out of the floor and sleeping in spots of sun, is here.

I socialized

I know that I am a person who puts off making phone calls, doesn’t return Facebook messages, who begs off weeknight socializing nine times out of ten. This week, though, I answered my phone, I chatted with friends, I went out more than once, without thinking of a single excuse. Highly unusual. Maybe I am not as anti-social as I assumed, but really just someone adept at keeping herself busy, even when that busy-ness gets in the way of other things that are good to do (like interacting with other humans)

I did puzzles

I love puzzles. I pulled out a copy of Games Magazine and decided that in the absence of books and Internet surfing, my default “I don’t know what to do and I don’t really feel like being productive” activity would be puzzles. This was pleasantly nostalgic because I think I got my hands on my first Games Magazine in about third grade. Also, puzzles make your brain smarter. I’m not sure the same is true about Twitter.

And, I cleaned the CRAP out of my apartment.

Everything was put away, everything vacuumed, everything folded and everything scrubbed. I actively cleaned up after myself. I did the dishes every day. This was surprisingly time consuming, but that’s exactly why I was doing it.

And that’s the real take-away, I think. Usually, my days feel rigid. There are things that must be done at certain times – commuting, working, laundry, shopping, bed, etc. I can fill in the cracks with things of my choosing, but most of the time I am not really choosing them. Most of the time, I am just doing habitual things because they are habitual. Eliminating habitual things forced me to actually think about that extra time. To make conscious decisions. I didn’t feel like I was pouring sand into the cracks of an already full life. My free hours opened themselves up before me.

I could paint a picture. I could clean the kitchen. I could sit with The Boy at the kitchen table for thirty minutes after dinner, chatting. I could walk into town for some groceries, call my sister on the phone, or work on the family budget or send an overdue email. I couldn’t pick up a book or turn on the TV or do most things on the Internet, but the simple limitations opened up other options.

Not a lifestyle change, but definitely an exercise worth repeating a few times a year.

(Says the girl who broke her fast with three episodes of Switched at Birth…..)


Leave a Comment