Slowing down isn’t my cup of tea
Last week one of my best friends, Shayna, came to stay with me while she worked the Keeneland September Sale. On Sunday, her final morning in Kentucky, I woke up, crawled out of bed and peeked outside through my curtains. It wasn’t early nor late morning, but the sun was already going about its business, brightening the neighborhood. Despite missing the crack of dawn, the time of morning I find most precious, a gentle fluffy pink and yellow shade glinted off the clouds. Perfect for a Sunday morning walk.
I pulled a sweatshirt over my zebra pajamas and took a loop around the neighborhood. When I got back I started on my favorite part of every day: making breakfast. Overcooked sunnyside-up eggs for each of us (I’m not a big runny yolk person) and fried potatoes with my favorite Spike seasoning. Washed down with some ketchup and stout coffee. Mmm. So. Good.
Shayna gathered her luggage and came downstairs to dine with me before rushing off to the airport to catch her flight home. One of the saddest, emptiest feelings is when a best friend hugs you goodbye and walks out the door, leaving you with dirty dishes, lonely thoughts and a blank day ahead to mull them over. We had had one heck of a week, not doing anything particularly thrilling, just enjoying spending time together and doing normal things that are more fun with someone you love hanging out with. Like jogging or grocery shopping.
I sat at the dining room table scrolling aimlessly through my phone, waiting for my mom (other best friend) to respond to my sad, lonely text messages. My phone buzzed as her call came in, Big Momma swooping in to rescue me from my self-inflicted puddle of droopiness.
She let me vent about all of my friends who had gone out the night before and wouldn’t respond to my texts to join me on a hike. I hung up and decided to go by myself. Any hiking is better than no hiking. Just as I was about to walk out the door, snacks and water bottle in tow, my phone buzzed as a friend agreed to push through the misery of hungover hiking. An hour and a half later, we were hiking the Grays Arch Loop in Red River Gorge.
On my favorite podcast, called “Let’s Not Panic,” Maggie talks about her “Self Care Pillow Fort,” her term for what she does to decrease her stress and anxiety and maximize happiness as she travels South America with her husband, Adam. Movement is my medicine. To me, there’s hardly anything more depressing than a day with no plans, spent doing nothing productive and making yourself feel insignificant as you look at the exaggerated personas others spew all over social media.
So I try to pack as many things into a blank day as possible. Fill it with tasks and activities like a page of a book with words. A blank page has no fulfillment, no significance. The words give it meaning and purpose, just like busy-ness does to my day.
- Pre-Shayna’s departure I walked and made breakfast.
- Post-Shayna’s departure I hiked.
- I downloaded two running apps.
- Grocery shopped at Kroger.
- Washed dishes.
- Satisfied my craving for pancakes by making a killer pumpkin pancake recipe that everyone will have to hear about for at least two more weeks. (Upcoming periodic blog series: “Annise’s Eats”).
- Meal prepped (AKA baked sweet potatoes and called it good).
- Washed more dishes.
- Listened to three podcasts.
- Went for another walk
- Talked to a friend on the phone during said walk.
- Wrote a card and packaged a gift to a friend.
- Did bedtime yoga.
- Sent emails.
- Watched a portion of a Spanish movie.
And at the end of the day, there was no room for loneliness. Maybe the word “Fulfillment” has the word “Fill” in it for a reason.