I see a trend with my peers, older women with spouses, grown children, and often grandchildren. We’re all busy. Our days are full and, especially during the holidays, we approach each day with a long to-do list.
I never expected this. I thought my main concern at my age, 60-something, would be making tee times or dinner reservations. I imagined myself sitting by a pool or in my kitchen over a cup of tea, alone and bored, wondering what to do next.
I don’t want to be that person in the kitchen, the one who has too much time on her hands who spends her days mostly alone and in silence. But isn’t there happy medium? How did it come to be that my peers and I are so overbooked and overloaded? Could it be just during the holidays? Maybe. I’m sure the holidays are why I am writing this blog on the day that it’s supposed to be posted. If I’m lucky it will at least make the west coast deadline, but the east coast one is long gone. The holidays, although the reason for some of the busyness, doesn’t account for the rest of the year when my head, and so many of my peers, is still filled with lists of what needs to be done and calendars full of engagements.
One reason for my schedule is I like being busy. The picture of the lonely woman at her kitchen table or by the side of the pool is not an accurate picture of me. I’m social, enjoy having people in my life and have many interests. But as the end of the holidays approach, I ask myself when does being busy become an escape or is simply too much.
New Years is a time for resolutions. Mine are usually to lose 10 or fifteen pounds and finish my work in progress. This year, instead of the weight loss resolution—although continuing to be a wish seems, after all these years, kind of trite—I’m wondering if I should vow to schedule and do less. Could there be a happy medium between sitting alone at my kitchen table nursing a cup of tea and a woman whose calendar is so full of engagements there is scarcely time for any spontaneity?
Maybe it’s because I’m still in the midst of holiday recovery, but I’m thinking that instead of filling every day with obligations and challenges, my resolution should be to pare down what I do, learn to say no and take some alone time doing nothing. It’s occurred to me that my head shouldn’t always be stuffed with what I need to accomplish. There should be space for taking detours and even occasionally days of doing nothing or, heaven forbid, lunching with a friend.
This goal is so revolutionary that I’m betting my husband, children and those who know me well, doubt I can do it. But I’m going to challenge myself to try. I think the resolution to occasionally do nothing is long overdue. I’ll report back about my success or lack thereof.