We started tennis lessons last Friday. I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to go because my husband was still out of town and we were supposed to play together. But I did go and I’m really glad I did. Not only did I get help with every stroke (holy moly, my serve is horrible) and work muscles that I didn’t know I had, but I heard something that I desperately needed to hear. You know how sometimes a message is delivered simply in one context but the message actually applies to a far wider area then intended? This was one of those moments.
I was trying to be ready, trying to be quick. I was missing every shot. First, Coach Chris said that my mind was moving faster than the ball. Then, he said, “You have more time than you think.” What was intended as a comment on my forehand hit me like a ton of bricks in the context of my life. I always feel like I’m up against a deadline. I only have three hours to do X. I’ve got to get the shopping done before library time. I can only take two hours to clean the house. I’ve got to get this post done before the kids wake up. I rush through everything. And I don’t even pull a paycheck.
I’ve been thinking about this approach to life over the last week. It isn’t healthy. In my hurry to cross things off my list (There’s a German word for the joy one feels from crossing things off of your list: Entlistungsfreude. Thank you to Laurie for today’s German lesson.), I’m missing what is going on right in front of me. I am missing my kids growing up and I am lucky enough to get to stay home with them. I’m not present. It seems entirely obvious when I say it out loud, but perhaps in order to be more present, I need to slow down. I have more time than I think.
I mentioned last week that Rob and I had a great conversation during our impromptu date night about summer lists after I saw this cool printable from Anne Marie Loves. His initial reaction to the idea was negative. He wanted no more lists in his life. But as we continued to talk about our goals for the summer, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family, we decided to approach the summer list as a reminder of our priorities for the next three months. It was obvious to me that in the “be” category, present was definitely high on the list. It became obvious after tennis that in the “go” category, slow was the right answer. The rest was just as simple. And I didn’t even feel the need to fill out every line.
We decided to engage everyone in the family in the process of identifying priorities. We gave no guidelines to the kids, we simply handed them a blank summer list and a pen. Thank you to Anne Marie Loves for the fantastic idea and the fantastic family activity.
We have our summer lists hung in the living room where we can all be reminded of our goals, priorities, wishes, and dreams. I love that our kids (mostly) shared theirs with us. Hopefully, they will one day appreciate that we shared ours with them. This might be the start of a new tradition in our family. I’ll let you know how it goes.