This week I did something very strange for me, something I’ve written about at length but failed to do: I took a day for myself.
On Tuesday, I dropped Amanda at work and for a full day proceeded to do nothing but small things for myself. This included driving to Benton in search of a soda and a used bookstore, both of which eluded me. I also sought out a microfilm set which again eluded me. The lone thing sought with any luck was a few cans of a beverage I enjoy and a Star Wars book. I also enjoyed an audiobook as I drove. Nothing major.
I’m telling the truth when I say this: I found it the most fulfilling experience I’d had in weeks. That’s something I’m not sure I’m ok with saying but in thinking about it I get why. After all, I don’t like admitting when I’ve been selfish and in truth, I do everything I can to not be that person. There’s no denying this was a profoundly refreshing moment, but why?
I think the answer stems not from my present but from my past. What are the actions of a small trip, a few dollars spent on minor things, and a general aimless wandering if not the 2015 version of a Saturday in 1999? I took a moment to reconnect with the small minded traveler in me. I remembered the joy I felt in those moments. It didn’t come from what I obtained but from the simple act of getting out, wandering.
It’s funny how great the joy is that came from such a simple step as taking a moment to have agency over my day. Again, not a major quest. Just going out, wandering. But I think I needed that. Life as an adult is often the opposite. We’re driven and pushed to do all we can at the highest volume.
We’re also focused so hard on money. I had a bit of extra cash, but not much and it wasn’t spent on much. One of my great indulgences was a dollar scoop of ice cream and it honestly game more pleasure than so many things I’ve wasted my money on. It also required me to stop for a moment and sit to consume it.
Ah, and there’s the key: I stopped. For a moment I was at peace as I stopped and let myself relax. I wasn’t racing to get home. I just simply stopped for a moment. And I think I need those moments. Having a car makes racing too easy. I need to stop.
I should stress this: I wasn’t cured of the darkness I’ve felt. I had another episode awaiting me a bit later. Those are out there. The HFA mind is a perennial minefield. But I learned something. And for that I’m grateful.