As I write this, I’m sitting in the front window of my favourite coffee shop. I’m sipping a Paradiso Dark and listening to hipster folk over the sound system and watching life walk and drive by outside in Streetsville (yes, believe it; it was named after founder Timothy Street, and its slogan is “The Village in the City”, that city being Mississauga).
So, where was I? Yes… I’m sitting here and staring out the window and thinking. Thinking about what a perfect day it’s been.
I’ve walked the dog. I’ve taken the cat to the vet. I got my hair cut. I picked up a few things at the drug store. Oh — and I watered the plants.
What’s perfect about that, you ask?
It was perfect simply because it was my own. It was a day off. A day to do nothing. A day I didn’t have to work. And don’t get me wrong: I love my work. I’m a copywriter at a large marketing-communications company. It is a great job, and I work with great people.
But hey… we all need a day off. A mental health day, as it were. And with this cold, dreary spring we’ve been having, I’ve felt — more than usual, it seems — the craving for some down time. Some vacation time. I usually get the itch round about now every year. I start daydreaming of cottages and camping and last summer’s vacation. I change my desktop wallpaper to something with canoes on it. And I salivate at the thought of the first long summer weekend. In Canada, of course, that is the May 2-4.
This year, however, May 2-4 just couldn’t come soon enough. So, somewhat impulsively, I booked a day off. Just for the hell of it. I had forgotten, in fact, that it’s the Mother’s Day weekend. Now it turns out I get to start it early.
So here I am doing just that. I’m sitting in the Second Cup on my day off. And I’ve made absolutely no plans. Perfect, isn’t it?
There was a time when, not so long ago, a day like this would have been booked to the rafters. I would have planned to take the dog for a walk, pick up groceries, do laundry, catch up on the computer, meet a friend for lunch, take the dog for another walk, and finally dash down to my kids’ school to pick them up… by 2:15.
When I was in my 20s, I loved full days like that. Busy, busy, busy. Organize. Schedule. Plan ahead. Take notes.
Then I had kids. And “me time” — just plain old me-being-alone-with-nothing-to-do time — became a scarce and precious commodity.
For a few years after my kids were born (a year apart — yes, the first few years were busy, but now at 14 and 15, they’re pretty good buds), I tried to keep up the near-frantic time management that I had done BK (before kids). I organized weekend get-togethers with family and friends; we made the rounds on holidays like Christmas and Easter; I took my kids out for ambitious day-long outings; we even trekked around England and Wales for 2 weeks visiting relatives — “we” being Steve, one-year-old Fiona, and me, 6 months pregnant with Simon. (I get tired just thinking about it.)
These days, I take the easy way out. I’m not lazy; but I’m not out to prove anything either. Life is busy and challenging enough — not to mention the fact that the older I get and the more comfortable I am in my own skin, the less inclined I am to look for excitement beyond my own backyard.
Not that I don’t still love to travel and explore and spend time with people and “experience life”; I just don’t try to do it all in one day or weekend. I can’t — and I’ll happily admit it.
When I leave here in a few minutes, I’ll head down to pick up my kids from school. Then it’s home to walk the dog again and do some tidying before my husband gets home and my mother-in-law arrives. She’s coming over for an early Mother’s Day dinner and will be staying overnight. Then tomorrow my husband is helping a friend move and my son is going to a party and my daughter wants a lift to a friend’s place and…
See what I mean?
Yes indeed, it’s been a perfect day. Perfectly dull. The way I like it.