Look at your daily schedule, datebook, or to-do list. Is every hour of the day accounted for? Do you have something that needs to be done every minute you are awake? If so, you may be too busy for a happy, joy-filled life. This means you are so busy, you do not have time to look up, enjoy the world moving around you, and take it all in. You are missing your whole life, and you don’t even realize it.
Perhaps you think that if your daily schedule is complete, you live your best life. This isn’t true unless your plan is only filled with things you enjoy. Maybe you have scheduled time to take in what’s going on in your life and the world around you. Still, the chances are good that you haven’t planned enough time for just living, as opposed to working, cleaning your house, looking after your children, doing the laundry, running errands, paying bills, attending social functions related to work, or maintaining relationships with people who aren’t doing anything to make the relationship worth your time and effort.
A fully scheduled life leaves no room for randomness. Random decisions to go out for an ice cream cone, take the kids to the park for a game of kickball, or go to the mall and do a little people-watching, are where people often find the most memorable moments in life. This “randomness” you are missing could also include needed moments of rest, such as taking a nap, reading, or calling friends or loved ones on the phone just because you want to talk to them and not because a schedule told you to.
A full schedule of things that have to be done instead of items you want to do causes stress, high blood pressure, and even unhappiness; such a schedule can also put too much strain on your marriage or relationship and your relationship with your children.
You don’t just need free space in your schedule for the health and strength of your family bonds; you also need free time for yourself. Sometimes, you need to take an hour or three and sit on the porch swing and not think about anything at all. You need to “be.”
Imagine the older person you may someday be. Maybe you’re retired, and the kids are grown up and have moved on to build their own lives. When you look back over your life, what will you remember? Will you see a life lived by a schedule full of things you didn’t want to do and didn’t enjoy doing?
Wouldn’t it be better to tell your grandkids about a trip to the beach with their mom or dad when they were young and how they tackled you and buried you in the sand until you agreed to buy them snow cones? Maybe you can tell them about the weekly game nights you had back then and how their mom or dad would always win at a particular game. You can be sure that those grandkids really won’t be interested in how you spent your days working, with no joy or fun in your life.
Maybe you will remember being the best on your bowling team and place the other team members with fondness and a smile. Perhaps you will still bowl with the same team. Hopefully, you have photos of all of those good times.
You will probably have very few pictures of yourself at work or cleaning the house. There probably won’t be pictures of you mowing the grass, driving back and forth to work, or taking the children to all of their activities. So, if your schedule is constantly full, taking no time to enjoy the life you have, you probably won’t have many pictures at all. Kids usually learn to do things the way their parents did, so your grown children are probably living an over-scheduled life, and they probably have very little time to spend with you now.
Look at your schedule once again. Do you need to spend two hours washing the car this weekend? If so, at least try to make it a family affair. Spirt the kids with the waterhole. Dump a bucket of water over your spouse’s head. Grab your cell phone, get pictures, then turn the phone off and enjoy these precious two hours with your happy, giggling family.