The most crucial task is to forge more life into your day. This does not mean new to-dos;it means less. It means creating space to think, walk, eat, sleep, read, love, dream.”
I could hear the exhaustion in her voice as we talked. I could hear the frustration. It is so difficult and tiring trying to be all things to all people. Not to get accolades but because people need you, or you need them. Because you just do what you need to do to take care of what needs to be taken care of. This, at times, could mean that you make no time for you, no time to forge more life into your day.
She was describing the running around, the caring for an aging and ill parent, the full time job, the work for the non-profit and so on and so on. I was exhausted for her. And I didn’t hear anything about her life, about the space she was creating for herself. And I understood why she wasn’t. I know I haven’t forged more life into my day either, it is all about getting things done.
It is moments like these that I wonder if this is what life is supposed to be. I see friends finding time to hike, eat, read, be with the one they love, and create space for themselves. I see family doing the same. Then I look at my day; and I don’t see that time built in. I also know it is a moment in time where all of life is converging. You don’t want all of it to end because you know what that means. It means that those you are caring for no longer need your care. In my case, that would mean my parents being gone, a thought I struggle with each passing day. But it does mean I am no longer needed and that scares me just as much.
As I read this quote I realized that I needed to forge more life into my day each day even as I care for my parents, work a very demanding job and schedule and care for a home alone. How do you do this without feeling guilty? If I am sitting and reading and not doing, I feel guilt. If I am out having some fun instead of handling an issue, I feel guilt. If I take a ride to nowhere to just think, I feel guilt.
Guilt. A self imposed feeling of anxiety or unhappiness because you think you have done something immoral or wrong, perhaps causing harm to someone. Why do I feel such guilt then? I haven’t done anything immoral (not recently!) or wrong that would cause harm to another. My guilt is my own. My guilt is something I need to let go so I can forge more life into a day, a week, a month.
I was recently reminded of some guilt and regret I felt because in my sweet loving grandmother’s last year on earth, I did not feel like I spent enough time with her. I was busy being a 20 year old college kid who thought she would live forever. I carried that guilt and regret for too long. I know she didn’t think that. She loved the time we did spend together, especially the year before she died when we took a trip together to a wedding in Michigan; just me and Stella. Yes her name was Stella and yes on this trip during my little drinking escapade with cousins at a wedding I did yell it like I was on the set of “A Streetcar Named Desire!” She just laughed at me and told me I was drunk! The memory of that trip is one of my favorites of the two of us together.
Forging more life into your day is important for your well being, for your life. It cannot be seen as selfish, but it does, in my opinion, need to be balanced. I cannot spend all day forging more life into my day, there are things that need to be done and cared for. But I know I need to find more time to be; to live.
Creating space to think, walk, eat, sleep, read, love and dream need to become more of a priority for all especially when life is pulling on you from every direction. As spring begins to be sprung and the weather takes it turn, the outside is pulling on me to join it, to revel in it. We should all take a lesson from nature and begin to awaken. It is time to forge a bit more life into our day, to dream about our next stage, to think and love. To live.