I like the work week – the structure of it, the routine, the habits. Knowing what I’m supposed to be doing at all hours of the day. I keep myself busy, and I like it.
But sticking to that busy-ness on the weekend is pretty stupid. The more I do it, the more it stifles me.
My mind, my stomach, my creativity.
The constant knowing of what to do, what to read, where to be from moment to moment. Living in strict routine for too long doesn’t allow my brain or body any space.
Space to be
A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning, Kyle and I picked up Yoshi from my friend Cynthia’s house after we had a weekend away. I brought coffee and we stayed and chatted with Cynthia and her boyfriend for a good two hours or so.
Time went by without me watching it. It was awesome.
We don’t do stuff like that often, just hang out and catch up with friends. But I had a feeling that for Cynthia, taking time to visit with friends or family was much more the norm.
On the way home, I said to Kyle, “Cynthia is so cool. She’s ready to chat and catch up any time. She’s not in a hurry.”
He knew what I was thinking. “You say that because you want that for yourself, but you never let yourself do that.”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Not live by a schedule. Even on a Sunday.”
I hate when he’s right.
Space to live
On another Sunday, I went to Sutra Splash, a free morning yoga session at a the Found:RE hotel pool in downtown Phoenix. After a blissful hour of yoga, you get free access to the hotel pool and 20% off brunch at Match, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. The call to action is to stay, hang out, just be.
But the minute we came out of savasana, I rolled up my mat and put my flipflops on, preparing to go back and start my marathon meal prep session.
The girl on my left jumped in the pool. The guy on my right went into a handstand. The instructor ordered a second mimosa. No one was in a hurry to go anywhere.
Seeing this, I stopped myself and wiggled my feet out of my flipflops. I took a seat on the edge of the pool and let my toes flutter in the water. Seconds later, I was having conversations with new people.
The tattooed girl who had jumped in the pool said, “I don’t plan anything on Sundays. It’s my one way to do whatever my body tells me it wants to do.”
Could I actually do that? Could I survive a Sunday without a plan? Could I let conversations and events of the day unfold how it wanted, unplanned and untimed?
Space to rest
Later that night, Kyle and I watched the Cubs game. I sat cross-legged on my corner of the couch with my computer plopped on my lapdesk, my planner on the cushion next to me. While “watching” the game, I edited reports and planned the week ahead, only looking up whenever the broadcasters’ voices indicated a “high fly ball.” Or if Javier Baez was up to bat. (Thanks for always letting me know, Kyle!)
Baseball games are kind of a paradox for a type A planner. You can plan out your evening based around the times that your team plays, but the game itself is completely out of your control. The calls, the score, the duration – you can’t plan for any of it.
And the game we were watching was as unpredictable as you could imagine.
The Cubs were down 3-0 in the bottom of the 8th. At that point, anyone would feel about 100% sure that they can go to bed. Leave the game. Count it as a loss.
But thanks to our wacky Mountain time zone, it wasn’t quite bedtime yet. We kept the game on after I finished my reports. Why not watch the Cubs take one more at-bat against the Nationals? You never know what could happen…
And we gave the bottom of the 9th our full attention…
One out. Then two.
Then one on. Then two.
Then three on. Bases loaded.
David Bote, the 25-year-old fill-in for MVP Kris Bryant, was up to bat with two outs and the bases loaded. We were down by three.
Kyle and I got all excited. “Wouldn’t that be something if he hit a grand slam?” Kyle said.
My heart raced at the 1-2 pitch.
Bote made contact and knocked the ball out of the park, far over the centerfield wall.
Did that just happen? The best possible and most improbable outcome of that one pitch???
I thought about that grand slam and all of its randomness for the entire week.
The Nationals starting pitcher had pitched seven scoreless innings, a stellar performance. But eventually he would have to rest and give the game up to his teammates.
The Cubs pitcher also had a stellar game, even though we were down by 3. But he would have to rest, too, and hope that his offense could make something happen.
For one team, it worked out epically.
Space to think
I claim that I long to be more spontaneous. Do what I feel. Even do a little of nothing. But I also know that not too deep down I crave knowing the plan.
But a pitcher hardly ever makes it all 9 innings. And, of course, even God rested on the 7th day. Surely, I can benefit from letting go of lists and schedules one day of the week.
One day of no structure, just the space to be, to rest, to think, to create, to play. Whatever the heck I feel like doing. Maybe putting away my planner will help me learn to trust that the girl underneath is still capable of making and letting great things happen.
The most memorable moments are often ones you can’t plan for, like a grand slam at the bottom of the 9th.
How about you? Do you make time in your week to do nothing? Do you like lists and routines or are you more of a do-what-you-feel type of person?