Time. It flies and crawls. We long to slow it down and we want it to hurry up. There’s kairos and chronos. There are deadlines and “to do” lists and crossed-off errands, chores, and tasks. We want to be mindful, yet don’t think we have time to do that.
Face it, we’re messes.
Since the end of 2014, I’ve been living with the strange rhythms of time that come with those dreaded words, “I’d like to get another scan – I don’t like the looks of this.” Ever since then, I’ve had multiple opportunities to observe how I look at time and I’ve had some revelations along the way.
Yesterday, I had the best news possible, which was that I’m too dull and boring a patient to stay under the care of my medical oncologist, a delightful woman who I was nevertheless glad to say good-bye to. I’ll be part of a medical follow-up community, but it looks different from the “gown and prod” appointments I’ve had for years now. (Side note – GO GET SCREENED! Early detection was the single most important key to my story!)
Once I received the news, I took the rest of the day to play. I really cannot emphasize enough how much we ignore this crucial aspect of our lives. With the stress and strain of living in a pandemic over the past year-plus, most of us don’t quite realize how much tension we’re living under. It’s just been there for so long that we function without consciously being aware of Just How Bad it is for us. Yes, I could have done other things like tick off an item or two on my work list, or sort through my winter clothes to straighten my closet, or something else practical. (I mean, look at that cat. Is he practical? No. No, he is not. But he’s quite the dapper fellow in his seersucker suit!)
Nonsense. I needed to play, so play I did. And I want to encourage you to play, as well.
Now – what your “play time looks like may vary greatly from mine. These are just examples.
I was out of “the sticks” and in the Big City for my check-up and I have my list of favorite places to see and visit. Don’t plan to go to more than two or three – the last thing you want on Play Day is a strict schedule! But it’s good to have a list – weather in my part of the world in April can be oddly chilly (in which case indoor activities are fantastic) or the pollen can be at Apocalypse Level (see “indoor activities” note). I was enjoying solo time, which is another good reason to just slow down.
Always check up on museum and arts exhibits. I’ve enjoyed a number of online tours (have you seen the Louvre’s tour site??) but as we emerge from the pandemic, live shows are slowing starting back up.
It’s also a good idea to have a few favorite lunch spots and a bakery on your list. For me, it’s the same place. It was a warm, sunny day and the flower-filled patio was open, so I took my lunch outside and ate slowly, with tremendous relish. I had a book with me – a silly, fluffy thing that I enjoyed reading a bit of with dessert. (Don’t even THINK about skipping dessert on a Play Day!)
It was, as I’ve said, a dazzling April day, so I took down the top of the car (purchasing Kitty Convertible was truly my moment of divine madness) and went full-out 1950s Hollywood glam with a scarf, large sunglasses, and a “Rat Pack” era Vegas soundtrack. (Wearing a mask for so long made me forget the red lipstick – oh well. Perfection is over-rated.) I visited a few favorite shops – including an art supply store where I restocked on new paper, brushes, and watercolor paint. (I’m part of a “sidewalk show” this Saturday from 11 – 4 so come see me at UnCommon Artisans in Kings Mountain! Details in the link – and new paintings are in the linked gallery here!)
My crazy-extravagant side trip was to browse a fine jewelry store. I wanted to get my engagement ring cleaned (a service that nearly all good stores provide gratis) and this was one of those stores that goes all-out. you walk through a very nice door into an airlock with a receptionist ensconced behind glass (no doubt bulletproof) and go through a vault door into the store itself, which is staffed with attractive folk and armed guards. Yes, I got my ring cleaned, along with a complimentary beverage and personalized attention as I played dress-up in the store. Just be polite to the staff and they’ll let you play. (Seriously, I tried on a graduated diamond necklace that cost more than my HOUSE!)
Stroll through a bookstore. Eat a hot dog at a ballgame. Sneak off to see a movie. Have a makeover. Ride a bike up a steep hill for the sheer joy of going down the other side. Just play.
We have a limited amount of time. And pity anyone who says on their deathbed, “I should have spent more time at the office.”
Go play, Divas!