Weeks after returning from the beach, it’s hard to conjure up those warm, the-sun-is-on-my-face and I-have-a-book-in-my-lap feelings. Work is busy. Birthdays are coming. Each weekend in the summer seems scheduled, arranged and preordained, each moment maximized for our enjoyment.
I’m a busy person, and I do that deliberately. When I’m in a “slow” period without many plans, social or otherwise, I tend to start thinking too much, worrying and becoming obsessive — especially about things beyond my control. As we grow up, we learn so much about ourselves — and what we need to be happy, fulfilled people. For me? It’s scheduling. Organization. Basically, I need to get on my feet and stay on my feet, running to the beat of a well-executed plan.
Lately, though, this tiny voice has been piping up from somewhere deep in my chest cavity — the same chest usually swelling and pounding with anxiety as I try to accomplish all this stuff on my ridiculous to-do lists. It’s weak, but it sounds like me — and I know it’s me. It’s whispering, “Let’s play it by ear.”
The idea of looking at wide-open Saturday, all fresh and shiny, and telling Spencer or my family that we can “wing it,” “see what happens” or “see how we feel” regarding the day’s plans is basically crazy. This is me we’re talking about: the Queen of OCD Organization. I make lists for everything. I make lists of my lists. I consult my Google Calendar as one would a religious text, searching for answers to any question. I like color-coding things so my eye can scan them quickly, taking in an entire month’s worth of business at a glance. I’ve got scheduled book reviews, dentist appointments, barbeque, bridal showers, day trips and concerts all mashed together in one colorful grid, blinking up at me like a promise of good things to come.
But lately, something’s begun to happen. On the days Spencer and I meet up early to have breakfast, go to yard sales (yard sales!), attend photography club meetings with Mom or other random activities, a strange sense of excitement comes over me. And looking back through the months, those days hold some of my favorite memories. Spencer and I eat when we want to eat; we go where we want to go. Holding hands in a hot car, we turn to each other and say, “What do you want to do now?” Sometimes we go for drives. Sometimes we stay home and watch TV, eating ice cream on the couch. Sometimes we run to Target or go take pictures. And sometimes? We do nothing at all.
Regardless, it’s delicious. And feels . . . almost rebellious.
I’m not saying I’m completely changing my ways. I still firmly believe that planning is necessary to avoid boredom — my boredom, at least. I know I thrive when busy and making plans. I’m not one to wander or loaf around, and I hate the absent looks that come from a group of people turning to each other and muttering, “OK, but what do you want to do?” I take charge. I plan stuff. But this whole getting out of the house without a major plan? Well, it’s exciting.
And I just might get used to it.