Logan stayed this past weekend with us, and, among the things he said
he wanted to do, he wanted to make pumpkin pie from pumpkins. So,
Uncle Matt, Logan, Lily and Damian all crowded into the kitchen to make
homemade pumpkin pie from pumpkins.
18 October 2008

I have been working hard for the past few days “catching up.” I had descended into a bit of a funk, and, as I go into the murky mire, so does my house. I told Matt that if he ever wanted to know what mental state I am currently in, just look at the condition of the house.

But the house is clean again. For the first time in perhaps a week, I woke up this morning without an agenda. There was no crisis cleaning to be done because I had finally caught up on the household cleaning. So, here it is 1:15pm, and I have been kind of meandering around in a mopey sort of way. “What do I do next? I’m so tired; I just want to take a break today after so many days of work.”

So, ostensibly, I have a day off today. But I’m still in “responsible mode” and I’m having a hell of a time gearing out of it. After being so responsible and so reliable for years (ever since giving birth to Lily), I realized that I don’t know how to have fun anymore. I know how to clean the dishes and feed the children and do the laundry and pay the bills. I know how to plan and execute the fun of others — parties, trips, festivals — and organize, clean and cook while others are having fun during these events, but having fun myself… I’ve forgotten. My understanding of how to have fun has atrophied from lack of use over the past few years.

And even the things that I once enjoyed — writing, gardening, running — they have become too “goal oriented” to be fun anymore. I don’t write to enjoy the process of creating a story while playing with the English language; I write to have a chapter finished so I can upload a podcast. I write to have a completed story, not to create a story. I don’t garden to tend to and watch my beautiful plants grow towards the sky; I garden to have pleasant backyard for myself and my family, and I get impatient that the garden is not already completed. I don’t run to enjoy the feeling of my body; I run for exercise and to get to the goal of a marathon.

Children know how to have fun. They have fun all the time. They don’t go to the park to slide and swing and run with the intention of burning 500 calories so they can fit into skinny jeans. But as a responsible, reliable and really useful adult and surrounding myself with all these goals, the actual moment of life gets lost.

It’s so hard to reclaim though. Sure, I have the mental realization, “Hey, I need to be more childlike in my approach to life, fun, and not being so goal-oriented,” but it’s another thing entirely to grok that philosophy and have it become a natural extension of myself. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t think of another word that worked as well as grok, and thesaurus.reference.com doesn’t even have an entry for grok. Go figure.)

And, in the end, I still have to wash the dishes, feed the children, do the laundry, plan the trips, and execute the fun of others. But, while washing, cleaning and planning, I want to also reclaim the natural joy of life that comes from being in the moment — playing with words and plants and my own body — and appreciating this amazing physical realm where we are so privileged to live. This is something that children innately understand, but many adults lose this skill as we grow up, become responsible, and focus too myopically on our life goals.

Angel on October 22nd, 2008 | File Under Planning Nerd, Podcast, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 2 Comments -