Top 40 timeout

Ah, Sundays. It couldn’t have been THAT long ago that Casey Kasem rattled off the Top 40 hits to me from the single speaker of my radio/alarm clock. Friday school let out, Saturday was a whirl of all the things that hadn’t been done during the week and then suddenly it was Sunday morning. If it was a particularity relaxing weekend, Saturday might have been spent at the beach but that meant that Sunday would include vacuuming the sand out of the car in addition to getting homework and school clothes and lunches together for the week. By middle school, I remember the great care I took in coordinating nail polish to my outfits and reviewing my makeup game plan for the week (the forecast included a 99% chance of Cover girl compact and a few swipes of Revlon Coffee Bean lipstick).

Sunday now includes the weekend editions of the NY Times (which I have thankfully started receiving again), figuring out if the lack of coffee in the house is a sign that I need to buy more or quit drinking it once and for all and of course trying to prioritize all that is coming up for the week. I know that Ryan Seacrest does the new Top 40, but I have found that I don’t have the patience for commercials and I fail to connect to most of the music on the radio now, which makes me sound like a curmudgeon.

Usually Sundays in our house run at a pretty quick pace – meal planning, errands, etc. and today it is blissfully, quietly humming along. The girls are each in their rooms, their school clothes laid out and homework tucked into folders inside of their backpacks, organizing their rooms with satellite radio on. Mr. Take-a-year, in one of the few still moments he has a year is channel surfing between golf and baseball, falling asleep briefly in the space between settling on what to watch. I’m phoning it in as far as meals go today, settling on sandwiches from Publix with big plans to order Thai for dinner tonight.

There is a centered feeling of peace to today, where I have let things be and not tried overly hard to make something of the day. I used to spend a great deal of time in turmoil on days off like this – what should we be doing, or where should we be off to and how should we plan on getting there/eating/leaving/cleaning it all up. I was in an impossible race against myself to a never ending finish line that I kept trying to find the merit in. It routinely made me miserable and as a result pretty unbearable to be around.

But I have come back to my roots lately, kicking it a little sloth style. By slowing things down, I have realized, priorities fall into place pretty quickly. Tired people sleep, for example, or those who are chaotic and unable to find anything seem to make the space to sort out what they need to do before their deadline creeps up closer and panic sets in.

It is almost like I had to do it wrong first, whipping through free moments Tasmanian Devil style so that I could sift through the debris and piece together what really matters. I used to think that not going full speed was somehow a waste; that it was a huge missed opportunity to get things crossed off the old to-do list. But right now there is a peaceful easy feeling to this whole home. Yes, there is dog hair, though I just vacuumed yesterday, on the floors (and carpets, and any fabric surface in our house) but that is because a dog LIVES here. All the time. Same goes for fingerprints and hair bands and Dr. Seuss books, they all live here because two little girls live here.

Yes, I like a clean and tidy house. I like looking back over the day and feeling productive. But sometimes, I have found that it’s better to recharge when you are running low then to burn out altogether. That is what that time out for top 40 listening taught me all those years ago. To slow down and take a break to relax and enjoy something that didn’t happen every day; which is exactly how I am spending this Sunday. I am hoping you are doing something like that too.


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