Monday, May 21, 2012

Savoring Joy

Last week the sun was shining. This was momentous because, since moving back to Oregon, I can't EVER remember two solid weeks of May sunshine.

Our spring weather usually comes in the liquid variety, which is great for gardens and skin cancer prevention but leaves us all with a Vitamin D deficiency.

All week long I had been doing the same thing; namely ignoring the gorgeous weather in favor of getting things done.

I'd been working furiously on my edit of Losing Hope, swooping into school at the last minute to fetch my children, running them to after school activities, doling out snacks, making dinners, doing laundry. Most of you know the drill, and if you don't there's a brief outline for you to follow in the previous sentence.

On the day in question I had done all the aforementioned things when I suddenly realized I had twenty minutes of free time. Instead of focusing on the long list of things that I could have/should have/usually would have been doing, I wandered outside and sat down in the lounge chair in my backyard. 

Emails and Twitter alerts were piling up. Losing Hope was calling to me. Child #1 had to get to her concert by 6:00. Meals needed to be planned. A library book was almost overdue and there were dishes in my kitchen sink but instead of attending to any of those things I just sat in the sun.

Both children came out to observe me, like I was some kind of strange backyard art installation.

"What's she doing?" Child #2 asked his sister.

"She's lounging." Child #1 told him.

I pretended I couldn't hear them talking about me, despite their being six feet away and stared up through the leaves of my fig tree.

 A moment later the kids spread a blanket in the grass and were on their backs staring up at the sky. "Shouldn't we be getting ready for my concert?" asked Child #2 after two or three minutes of contemplating clouds.

"I set an alarm on my phone," I told her. "We aren't going to think about any to-dos until it goes off."

And we didn't.

We lounged, infused ourselves with Vitamin D and daydreamed from 4:25 until 4:45. After that we went back to the rush and press of our lives.

But I think our twenty minute break made us savor the rest of the day that much more. And, that we were a little more joyful because of it.

74 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes you need to do that - just sit back and enjoy the world.

Morgan said...

I love how happy your posts are! You always focus on the positive, and it's sooooo refreshing. Great post, Johanna. And too true--we need to focus on these moments more ;)

Beylit said...

20 minutes of sitting in the sun should be on everyones to-do list.

Christine Murray said...

That sounds lovely. I sometimes worry that I've so much to do I'm just missing out on the experience of just being in the moment. You're right to savour it while you can.

Jenny Morris said...

This sounds lovely!!! Good for you.

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, exactly!

Morgan, thanks. My husband suggested I do a month of negativity but I told him people probably wouldn't be in to reading that ;)

Beylit, I agree!

Christine, it's so hard to be in the moment.

Jenny, hasn't it been beeyootiful!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a perfect plan to me! Those small moments to recharge and refresh are absolutely priceless. Glad you got to share the moment with your kids too!

Stephen Tremp said...

What a very happy post! I feel better already. Thanks!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I don't do this often enough -- especially during the school year. However, once summer arrives, you might catch me in the hammock or on a pool float, just "lounging" as your daughter said.

Talei said...

Perfect break, my friend. I love doing things like that. And it's great to get your children involved too. Today I spent about 30mins in the park just playing ball with my little one, he loved it and it was pretty relaxing. We definitely need more of it! ;-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Isn't it wonderful to just ignore to-do lists now and then? Sometimes I'll just look at my list and opt to go for a walk with my husband instead.

Chuck said...

If there were two straight weeks of sun...you might not really have been in Oregon! Sounds nice though.

laura thomas said...

Sounds like a magical moment. We need to cherish these spontaneous events! Heres hoping for more sunshiny days:)

Tamara Narayan said...

I love the idea of taking a break from the hurly-burly of hectic schedules. Everything is so rush-rush all the time and my kids don't have more than two out-of-school activities.

EddiePlaksa said...

I loved this blog post of yours, Johanna. This is something that we don't take the time to do and/or make the time to do in our hectic lifestyles of today. In that being said, I feel that you were doing your children a GREAT SERVICE by showing them that doing "NOTHING" sometimes is actually better & more productive then actually doing something. Thanx for reiterating a message that we sometimes lose sight of!!! Eddie ;-))

Joshua said...

I have a hammock in the back for this purpose, but I don't use it. Hurts my back and makes me nauseous. As for just a blanket in the yard, I'm too OCD. I prefer my clean workspace.

Carol Kilgore said...

I love stolen moments like that :)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

It's definitely important to take time for yourself and just relax. Nice weather where the sun shines all day is rare in Chicago, so everyone (even me) spends as much time outside as possible; it's good to savor it because it makes us appreciate it more.

Julie said...

There's nothing better than just enjoying the sunshine and doing nothing. We've been lucky weather-wise here too and it can be so rejuvenating to just spend some time outside. Great post! :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

I love this.
Absolutely love this.
Heather

TL Cooper said...

It is simply amazing how reinvigorating a few minutes of doing nothing can be!!

Pk Hrezo said...

Oh hey, I'm taking my first trip to Oregon in October. Can't wait!! It's been sunny and too hot already in FLA. Glad you got some sun!

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