A few weeks ago I had a weekend free of obligations. No chores, no visits with friends, no meet-up with like-minded writers – simply me and my space. My first reaction was to strip down naked and run around my fledgling apartment bellowing, “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” The sense of expanding freedom lifted my spirits to where I wanted to flame on and SOAR.
But soar where? Where would I go? What would I do?
Quickly my sense of freedom morphed into a daunting sense of dread. I had to do something, right? I couldn’t have a day free and simply not accomplish anything. Productivity was in order! I needed to embrace that Effort Engine and chug-chug-choo-choo to something wonderful or I’d feel guilty!
Whoa there, Nelly. Who said it had to be productive? Why not just get your ass out of the house?
So I did. For one day I pretended my life was one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Want to explore that cave — turn to page 23. Say yes to the handsome man offering you coffee — turn to page 17. Save the dragon from the army horde — turn to page 5. I changed my perspective from Getting Shit Done, to “How many cool experiences can I rack up today?”
I did some journal writing at my favourite coffee shop. I treated myself to an awesome lunch of awesomeness (with bacon!). I walked spontaneously into a salon where they were able to fit me in for a much needed hair cut and then I walked out thirty minutes later lighter on my feet. I knitted in public. When the day was slowly drawing to a close, I found myself at the neighborhood pub having a pint and a devilish dessert (regardless of the fact I didn’t finish my dinner. What would mother think??). Jotting some last thoughts in my journal, a bell went off in my head.
“Create your own adventure,” I wrote, “don’t wait for someone to offer you one.”
How amazingly simple. So simple, we tend to forget it in this age of RIGHT THE FUCK NOW and TWEET ALL THE THINGS and FB POKE ALL THE FRIENDS. The best way to connect to the World is to disconnect. I had conversations with real people in real reality. I interacted. I watched birds bouncing around for muffin crumbs. I laughed with a nearby toddler. I smiled at the sun. I thanked the Gods for a truly satisfying day and the delicious stout I was drinking.
Lately that has become my motto. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it’s partly due to one of my best friends dying back in October and then having my 42nd birthday. One could call it a Mid-Life Crisis, but I don’t believe it’s anything that shallow. I’m not dating a younger man or driving suped up classic muscle car. I believe the PTB (Powers That Be) are reminding me how fucking lucky I am to have a body that works, a mind that’s still sharp, a heart that’s strong, and a sense of child-like wonder and play that has not diminished over the years. Lift is too short to simply sit around and wait for someone to offer you an amazing experience. You have the power to create it all on your own.
So go do it.