Some of us are lazier than others. I'm going to count myself in the former group. While I can, and do, get the job done, it's been a lifelong struggle to get industrious, and I know what is necessary to spur me on to action. That takes an absence of laziness in itself, so for me, getting stuff done is the kind of the albatross of my life. Of course I do get things done (my kids are clean, fed, get to school in a timely fashion; I've completed two entire manuscripts, a Bachelor's degree, and the litter box gets cleaned), but given my druthers, I'd probably take more time to not do stuff.
But that always makes me feel lousy.
So I put on my gym clothes (once I'm dressed, actually going to the gym is the easy part), I make lists and strike the items off the list throughout the day, I make my bed each morning both because it makes me feel like I'm off to a good start and because I know a woman who could afford to pay someone a full day's wages to do only that in her home, yet she does it herself because that's what you do, and it inspired me. I walk the dog, fix the dinner from scratch more often than not, I sit down and write.
|My son, a fellow contradiction, in a blur of activity.|
But now it is summer. My schedule really needn't much change just because we are past the solstice, other than not throwing the kids out the door by eight o'clock, but there is something about these June, July, and August days that whispers to me it's okay to be lazy. Okay to sleep in, to skip the list, to let the writing wait a while. The litter box never gets a bye, though.
Honestly? I'm not sure if letting the excuse of summer, slow glasses of lemonade and lolling in bed until the sun is high in the sky, is the best idea. My nature, as I said, is torpid, but the past ten years I have made a real effort to overcome that as much as possible. I don't feel too vain admitting I'm pretty proud of how much I've managed to change and improve. I like this more industrious version of myself better, I feel better for it, mentally and physically, and I think those around me benefit from this 2.0 version as well.
Our childhoods are so brief, adulthood long if we are lucky, yet the impact of those early years never seems to waver. My thirteen years in public school, followed by another six of college (let's keep that our little secret, shall we?), those long summers of glee and sweat and boredom and fun, have shaped my expectations for the now more numerous years that have followed. Summer is a time to relax, let the rhythms and schedules loosen, be lazy.
Which makes me feel lousy.
What is really funny is that I am a terrible relaxer. Whether facing a free hour at home or a free week on vacation, I have a lot of trouble letting everything around me go, grabbing that sweating glass of lemonade, and just letting life slide by without any intervention of my mind or activity. I know, I know, I just wrote how lazy I am, how indolent--which means I am a freaky or perhaps typical contradiction: one who cannot let go, but who at the same time struggles to be proactive. Which means that, left to my own devices, I get a whole lot of nothing done. Make the list, though, decide on some specific task and bestir myself to get to it rightnow!, I get a good amount of useful stuff done.
Which makes me feel better.
I have some really great leisure time planned for this summer, and I am really looking forward to those days. I also have many more days without a specific plan or agenda, and I am perpetually responsible for the smooth running of four human lives. I feel bad when I'm a slug, I feel good when I get stuff done, and I feel great when I get stuff done and then exhale into a state of deserved relaxation at the end of a fruitful day.
It's summer. The days are lazy. I should be, too, to a certain extent. But not too much. I've come too far to let go of the person who can get something done. The person I like better. The person who might not be published yet, but who has a better chance at it than the one who doesn't get the job done.