What if I took a break this year?
Took a break – broke myself of the habit of – broke out – for a whole year – of needing to achieve something?
What if I took a break from guilt?
What if I broke myself of the need to accomplish anything this year?
What if I just enjoyed myself, took pleasure in my life, relaxed in the moment, relished my children and relationships, didn’t face each day with the burden of needing to do something Big, feeling bitter and guilty by the end of the day that I had done nothing worthy?
See, especially as I approached my birthday this year, I’ve been struggling hard with the sense that my life is going by so fast and I’m doing nothing with it, and I’d better finish those manuscripts and get published and do some art and focus so I can finish projects to have Something to Show for Myself, some evidence of adequacy, some great career or good work begun that will use all my skills and maximize my talents and give back and balance out my negative footprints and contribute something to the greater good and fulfill all my promise…
Everyday I am mentally straining against the thick heaving tide of life to Do Something. It’s extremely tiring.
What if I just gave up?
What sweet relief – how decadent and indulgent and selfish but oh, what a delicious prospect. What if I just gave myself one year to live happily, without needing Make the Most of It?
Somehow, I feel that following my bliss, indulging in what pleases me, will somehow make me more productive in the long run. And there’s something very Taoist about not trying to do things (wu wei) that adds some principled morality to the idea.
But would it be a cop out? Would I be lazy, lacking ambition and follow through? Would it mean a wasted year? Is this an excuse to not believe enough in myself to work hard to achieve things?
Could I do it? Give myself permission to just raise my kids and do my work and love my husband and weed the garden and read books and watch movies and swim in the sunshine and be myself?