I’m back in my home office after being on-site with a client for 18 months. The project included a daily commute to work in a corporate environment. While I enjoyed both the client and the project, working away from home and driving a lot were quite draining. I was exhausted by December.
Because of this, I was excited to take January off. The entire month. I wanted to refresh, regroup and do absolutely nothing as I contemplated my next steps. New directions. New plans. New passion.
During the first two weeks, I stared at the wall. Seriously, I would spend hours in my safe, comfortable La-Z-Boy recliner, staring the wall. I would think, “I’ll get up.” Then I would think, “Maybe in 10 more minutes.”
I was determined to chant my mantra “Be lazy! Savor life!” as much and as often as possible. Laundry filled the hamper. Paperwork piled up. Dishes went unwashed.
Even though I was moving at a glacial pace, I didn’t fully relax. I slept well, but I generally sleep like a rock so that was nothing new. Sleeping wasn’t the problem. Apparently, being awake was.
I kept having a nagging feeling that I should be doing something.
This surprised me because, after working from home for nearly 15 years, I thought I had relaxing down to a science. I learned a long time ago that separating your professional and personal lives is one of the most important things any home business owner can do.
So feeling like I should be doing something when I had absolutely nothing to do was strange and uncomfortable. I struggled.
It was a weird month.
I Had a Dream
I had a dream where I was watching a Sandra Bullock movie. Sandra’s character is responsible, reliable and always busy. Because of her reliability, she’s asked to “lend” a small part of her soul to a woman. The woman needed to start re-growing a new one because hers had been damaged. Sandra agrees.
The woman is Sandra’s 180-degree opposite — A bohemian artist, a free spirit who regularly depends on the kindness of strangers and has a relaxed, go-with-the-flow attitude about life. Sandra’s patience with the woman is stretched to the limit. She gets frustrated with the woman and storms out before the procedure. Feeling guilty for walking out on a commitment, she decides to go back.
After the procedure, Sandra is exhausted. She’s so tired, she can’t get out of bed. The woman comes to her bedside and begins gently caring for her.
Next, I see a montage of Sandra’s recuperation: She’s trying her hand at painting, lying in a hammock, walking on the beach, eating ice cream and people-watching at the outdoor mall, etc.
After a few weeks, Sandra looks refreshed and content. She smiles and laughs easily. She has come to terms with the woman. She doesn’t just like her, she loves her and all that she stands for. Tears flow. Music swells. Credits roll.
Then, I Woke Up
When I woke up I remembered it was February 1, my last Friday of sleeping in. Starting on Monday, it was time to be responsible again. I had to get back to work. I had to make things happen.
A sense of dread set in.
Then I distinctly heard a voice say, “You know, this doesn’t have to end. You can continue living this way. You can relax and get back to living life on your own terms. Easily. Joyfully.”
In an instant, it became clear. The past year and a half of being out of my comfort zone had me reverting to the “old” me, which was the Sandra character in my dream.
The “old” me believed that hard work created results. That working 40+ hours a week was synonymous with a strong work ethic. That being busy meant being successful.
But the “new” me knows that life can be as easy as I make it. I know I can go with the flow and still get things done. I manage my time well during the hours I choose to work, and I don’t try to impress anyone with my oh-so-very-busy schedule.
I’ve relaxed and embraced my deep need to “be lazy and savor life.” I go to bed when I get tired and I wake up…whenever. I’m not as quick to respond to personal emails, texts or calls. Great, new opportunities are showing up regularly. Things are getting done albeit at a slower, more relaxed pace. Other than taking care of clients, my days don’t have much structure.
It’s not pretty. In fact, it generally looks downright messy but that’s okay. I like messy. I’ve decided that messy becomes me.
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