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I don’t do well with free time

He told me to get out of the house. “I’ve got the kids, get out this afternoon – do whatever you want.”

Turns out, I don’t do well with free time. Normally my “playtime” is careful scheduled, ahead of time, babysitters or husband securely in place, friends and destination lined up. Or I need a pedicure and my destination and timeframe are set by default.

But I find myself with an offer for free time, no friends, plans or destination lined up and would you believe I panicked? It’s like getting the chance to meet your favorite celebrity and stuttering when they say hello.

I can hear you now, “WHO CARES WHAT YOU DO, just GO.” But I care. I care what I do and where I go when life allows. I want to maximize my joy, relaxation. No offense to you Target lovers, but the aisles of Target or (insert anywhere you shop here) do not bring me joy. I actually save my Target runs for the kids because it brings THEM joy and that is a win for us all.

I thought about my options, where I could go, what I could do that WOULD bring me joy. If we’re being honest, I wanted to go see ‘Little Women’ but the showtime didn’t work. Instead, I swung by Nugget (the best grocery store of all time) and picked up a selection of frivolous and moderately unhealthy foods, and I headed for a local winery that has phenomenal outdoor space.

I’ve never been to a winery alone. It was weird. Also, my attire may have contributed to the weirdness because getting ready does not bring me joy, so I threw on leggings, a sweatshirt and uggs. My hair was wet, makeup nearly non-existent. Needless to say, when I walked in, looking like a basic, tired, and haggard woman, the heads turned. No one wine tastes alone.

But here is my chance – to step out of my zone, to embrace myself and only think about myself and treat myself and that was a lot of “selfs”. I’m not very good at selfs.

It’s a new year. A new decade. A new page. I don’t care about the new year, but I do care about myself and right now I’m sitting alone, sipping wine in a peaceful, quiet, gorgeous atmosphere – thinking about the year ahead. A year that won’t be as eventful as the year prior, but will no doubt bring change, pain and growth.

I sit here reflecting on how things have changed in my life, drastically, in the last year. I reflect on how I’ve weathered those changes and I don’t like what I see. To quote a friend “When did I become this angry?!”

But every day, every year, every decade is a chance to change that. Every second is a chance to change.

Chances are I’ll change this year out of sheer coincidence – my kids are getting older, my puppy is getting older. The things that are so hard now won’t be so hard in six months, in a year. New things will be hard, old things will be easy – but it will never be easier, it will only be different. So it’s up to me to change, to adapt, to decide that I will be better, have more patience, more compassion.

New year new me? Hardly.

New year, same me – with more awareness, more grace, more understanding. My eyes are open.

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