Here’s another 90 Days Love Note. We’re counting down to the start of this year’s 90 Days with a Love Note a day through March 11th.
Day 15: How to sneak it in
I don’t know about you, but I like to have fun. In some ways it is my downfall, in others my salvation. I will blow off responsibilities to have fun—but fun keeps me sane so that on other days I can face those responsibilities. I kinda think that most of us don’t get enough fun. We get overwhelmed by those life and death responsibilities, chained to the grindstone, taking care of others.
Wait, fun? What’s that? I know! We get so ground down we don’t even bother putting on lipstick, let alone eyeliner. We just wear sweats—all the time. It’s so hard to feel glamorous in dirty sweats with our hair tied in a knot as we rush from one useless take to the other (or sit and watch TV to keep someone company). We’re bored, tired, and overworked. Some of us have a hard time getting out, or don’t have any friends around. Our plates are just too full, and everything on them is canned spinach and overcooked liver. It’s jam yesterday and jam tomorrow—but never any jam today. So let’s get some jam.
How to sneak in some fun.
Pay attention to what you enjoy. I have found the smallest things can rev me up. Coffee with a friend. A phone call with someone I love. Drawing pictures (I haven’t drawn one since I finished the Cat book). Performing and teaching dance. Running around and hanging out with friends. I am a social bipolar—hermit most of the time, and the rest I’m a café society kinda gal. I even like sitting in a café all by myself, enjoying the hubbub and basking in my solitude.
Include your obligations
I usually hate for anyone to see me practice, and that has not been a productive approach. So after sulking for over a year (and not dancing), I now dance for my Mom. I made a tiny habit that when Mom gets up, I put on dance music. It doesn’t always work, but most days it does. I dance for 20 minutes. She’s happy, and so am I. One of our members dances with her kids. You can’t maybe roll around on the floor as much as you would like, but, hey, it’s a lot better than nothing, and it helps build the habit.
It always seems impossible, but it’s surprising how it can work out. We can’t control everything. Other people won’t do it as well. The world will end. Usually, it won’t. And while some of those things are life and death, most aren’t as important as they seem. So just announce it. I will be doing X instead of Y starting Monday. I will be going out for a coffee instead of vacuuming the house. No one will step up. Step back anyway. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Just blow them off
I had to study for a math final. I also had an invitation to a lunch party an hour away. I declined, based on the final. My friend, said, “Oh, just come. You know you’re going to procrastinate all afternoon and not study till tonight anyway. Might as well do something fun instead.” She was right. So I went. And at the party, I got an idea I used for an English paper—and that idea got me an A, the first in two semesters with that particular professor. Never underestimate the power of relaxation to free your mind.
Sometimes letting go breaks the pattern of interaction–it disrupts the dysfunctional distance that must always be maintained, and gives others the space to approach. It’s still dysfunctional, but it can be a doorway to change. (I’m in this motel in Eunice LA, drinking coffee and eating donuts. The innkeeper (who has a law degree), tells his daughter, “The only person whose actions you can control is you. If you want to go outside, go outside. He doesn’t want to go, so let him alone.”)
Be nice to your liver
See Day 12. Feeling trapped is a prime symptom of liver stress. Whenever you feel trapped and resentful, pay attention. The doorways are there, you just can’t see them. Sometimes difficulty is our karma (when my Mom came to live with me, I looked up one day and said, “Really, God? Really? This is what I’m supposed to do?” The answer was a firm Yes). Sometimes it’s just what we have to do for a while. But sometimes that yes is about learning how to manage in the face of great difficulty, and a healthy liver helps us find the ways. If nothing else, it makes the load much lighter.
So does music!
All my love,