The holiday weekend plan was full of guests, food, and events with anticipation of high step numbers on the fitness tracker. Then everything cancelled. Everything. Guests from the south stayed on the sandy shores of their home, sandbagging in defense of Hurricane Dorian. Here in the North, we went from a packed schedule to four days with absolutely nothing planned and no pressing chores (which, falls under the “miraculous” category).
Summer rain days and winter snow days are opportunities. Priorities shift. Everything we think is important, changes. Winter storms keep us off the road and at home instead of slogging through traffic to work. Summer rains invite time with a book, warm beverage and quilt. Hurricane Dorian reminds me (again) how often I keep my schedule full. My day may include things that help my well-being like meditation, reading inspirational authors and taking walks in nature. However, what doesn’t land on my calendar is this: time to do nothing – to allow myself to have no agenda nor check list.
NPR has been talking this week about the importance of play for kids. True for children, it is also true for us. I don’t mean “play” as in, “something fun to do.” That is of course important; it can also turn into yet another thing on that packed calendar. Adults need time in our schedule to do nothing as much as kids do. Unstructured time increases our creativity and imagination. It reduces anxiety and lowers stress. It stretches our attention span, it increases our ability to self-regulate and boosts our self-confidence. All this, by making sure we have unstructured time in our day or week.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
I have a four day gift. I don’t know what it will look like, or how it will be spent. However, I want to be intentional in my choice of activities and part of the intention is to consider how I might schedule unstructured time in my life. (I know… oxymoron, right?) What would it look like for you? Time carved out where you aren’t attached to a device, cleaning the toilet, or helping with homework. What if there was time every day to simply be. No expectation, no agendas, just to be.
Let’s try it. Let me know how it goes. I look forward to it, I think. (Or I will find out how addicted I am to activity…)
Hopefully, the “shakes” won’t last too long.