I took a nap yesterday. A nap! It’s been years since I’ve taken an actual nap. We ditched our plans to head to the whitewater center and had a lazy Sunday instead. Because, as it turns out, living life to the fullest on Sundays leads to continuous scheduled fun which, as it turns out, can also lead to exhaustion. So, every once in a while, (as it turns out), we need to stop and recharge our fun batteries. To let our minds wander, to practice idling.
You’d be surprised how difficult it is not to accomplish something. I mean, “have fun” is an agenda item in our lives. And so, if we’re not doing that, then we need to do something else on our list! Clean, preserve food, mow, etcetera ad infinitem. It takes a sheer force of will to idle. To just rest. To be.
It’s not habit alone that we must overcome, there’s also the guilt. The “I shoulds”. One of my favorite phrases, I think coined by Glennon Doyle, but maybe by Abby Wambach, is: “be careful not to should all over yourself!” Ha! It’s surely a cultural problem. The whole “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings” mindset. Who came up with that anyway?
The ‘shoulds’ and habit and culture all gang up on us to keep us in gear and the clutch is burnt out from fighting them. But Sunday we prevailed. We repaired the clutch. We disengaged. We took a nap.
My costume suitcase (doesn’t everyone have one?) is overflowing with delights. I opened it up yesterday to search for last year’s snake skin leggings from our WWE costumes and out tumbled some “jorts” (I just learned that word) and jean jacket from several year’s ago 80s costume. My mind skittered back to that rather epic Halloween party and my cheeks began their daily delight work out.
I’m not going to go as far as to say that costume gatherings are going to save the world or bring about world peace, but I do assert that costumes can up the joy ante just about anywhere. And this is why:
Costumes embrace our inner child, our inner silly (which we all have somewhere in there, believe it or not). Costumes free our spirits, and let down our inhibitions. It’s as if in wearing a costume, we become something other than ourselves and thus, free ourselves from self-consciousness. It’s intoxicating without the chemical intoxicant. It is through this that costumes increase the fun factor and deliver laughter in larger doses, both in the costume wearer and those around them. Yes, while the more costumers the merrier, the effect spreads to those around just one intrepid costume-wearer.
Several years ago, my friend and I were attending an event filled with awkward self-consciousness and nervousness. Just one man showed up in a batman costume and we were all suddenly free. The whole room lightened a bit and nervous laughter morphed into joyous laughter. Batman eventually dismissed himself but I’ve never forgotten the effect.
And so, yesterday my team showed up in full embrace of the silly to the (5th? 6th?) annual Farm Olympics. And I will yet again avow that the fun factor was increased 10-fold because of the “Tumbling Shoals Toots” Farm Olympic team. And now, to begin work on my Halloween costume.
Of the few things that are under my control, my reactions are supposedly one of them. I say “supposedly” because it turns out to be excruciatingly difficult to control said reactions. There’s a reaction reflex- and 47 years or so of reenforcing that reflex reaction-to overcome. It’s just not an easy thing and I don’t always (or often) succeed. So this year I’ve tried to implement a new reflex reaction question. I try to reflexively ask myself “is it a crisis or an annoyance?”. It gives me just a second longer to think about what is happening, to consider it, to classify it, so to speak. If it’s simply an annoyance, I should just let it go. It’s not important, I don’t need to “worry my pretty little head about it”. If it’s a crisis, then I should make a plan to deal with it.
If I manage to give myself that extra moment, it works pretty well. Turns out, there just aren’t that many crises in my life! This is a surprising thing to discover in my 40s. If you would have asked me in my 20s, I surely would have felt otherwise. I was a feisty little ball of reflex reaction bouncing back and forth between crises. Yet another reason to not envy the young!
I got to practice this in the extreme Sunday while standing in the middle of the literal flood. Literal floods can sure feel like a crisis, and my reflex reaction-had I let it consume me-would have been to start looking for jobs and canceling the rest of the season to be sure. But this is the third time in 16 years that we’ve had severe flooding, and I think I finally know better.
So we poked around a bit, counting on the fact that historically (the other two floods) the flood waters recede quickly and that it’s going to look worse in the moment of the flood than the actual damage.
There would be damage and loss, to be sure, but there was no need to panic (is there ever an actual need to panic??), that we would need to make a recovery plan in the morning, but that there was nothing we could do in the immediate moment. A bit more than an annoyance I can just let go, but not quite all the way on the spectrum to be classified as a full-blown crisis. Somewhere in the middle. A reasonable adversity.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.