Saturday, February 18, 2012
It’s a curious thing, this “time to oneself”. As the mother of a little person who works part time and also has a busy creative (and inner!) life, I actually get a surprising amount of it.
I work two days a week and, although that is technically not “down time” I do have uninterrupted time to sit down, research complex work-related issues and write papers/proposals. All of which I enjoy. My little ‘un goes to kindergarten two mornings a week and she also naps for around two hours most days. Once she goes to bed of an evening, husband and I tend to alternate hanging out together and pottering around doing our own thing.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I do not tend to devote much of “my” time to things I “should” be doing i.e. housework or cooking. I tend to race into my study/studio and put a layer of paint or glue on something, or tap away at the keyboard or typewriter. If my soul is feeling damp or flaccid, I’ll tend to numb myself with hours of blog hopping and impulse Etsy purchases (which, generally, makes me feel worse but that’s a post for another time...).
The week before last when my husband mentioned that he’d be travelling for a few days for work, my first thoughts were for all the creative projects I had on the go. My first thoughts were for my art and writing, as if I had suddenly been gifted with a whole heap of extra time for my self.
It’s funny: I almost feel embarrassed writing this now.
I don’t really get it. What was it that I was anticipating? A stretch of three long evenings when I could create... what? Without guilt? Without interruption? Without limitation?
I already have these things. Every day.
[And there’s a tiny voice that nags me as to why my first thought wasn’t for my daughter, but let’s park that one for now.]
And here’s the even stranger bit: when he went away and the evenings rolled around, I didn’t actually feel compelled to do any of the things on the list I’d been so eagerly compiling.
Instead, I sat and watched DVDs with a bucket of ice-cream and pulled a well-thumbed book off my shelf. Instead of feeling energised and motivated and inspired, I felt glum and unsettled and a bit directionless.
Let me go back and qualify that. I watched two DVDs, mainly because I’d borrowed them from my Mum ages ago and needed to return them. And my husband wasn’t all that interested in watching them with me, so his absence did create an opportunity.
I also only ate a quarter of the tub of ice-cream... evidence that Body Restoration and copious therapy are working!
The book was something I am researching, something to do with the origins of my deep-seated notions of romantic love. I am beginning to realise the impact that Jane Eyre had on a certain ten year old girl! [Again, a post for another time...!]
The second night I watched another DVD, then picked up my paints and added a new layer to my “Flora” canvases.
The third night, I waded through the Body Restoration tasks for the week.
So, actually, once I found my stride, it was quite a productive few days. But: no more than usual.
So my initial reluctance and subsequent disinterest make me curious. I wonder what all this is about. Guilt? Unworthiness? Need for perceived time limitation? Hankering for a structured day? Habitual longings that don’t have much bearing to reality?
Does this happen to anyone else? What comes up for you when it does? What, do you suppose, could it be about?