Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Jorinde Berben
Today, we held my son’s 7th birthday party, the one to which he could invite any children he wanted (and then decided to just invite the 9 children in our family to). My partner and I had set out a treasure hunt based on the film Spirited Away which my boy is really into. During the hunt through the forest, they met different characters who all gave them tasks, such as tasting fruit with a blindfold on, playing tag or making a forest house for a mouse (see picture above).
This evening, as my son decided to spend an extra night with his dad, my daughter and I had a mother-daughter evening that included a movie (Matilda!), Belgian fries and an hour and a half reading from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets over tea and cookies (in fact, she still hasn’t put her book down and it’s nearing 10 p.m.).
At the end of the movie (Matilda, as I mentioned), the little girl finds out that, in fact, you can have a whole lot of fun in life, and she decides, smart as she is, to do just that. On the one hand this made me feel grateful, on the other hand also slightly bothered.
See, I’m one of those people who can very easily spot what’s standing in the way of having fun: dishes, laundry, lesson prep, administration, cleaning, children fighting, and… did I mention the laundry already? Much of this mantra of ‘do useful stuff first’ was handed down through the generations on the maternal line. My mother knows it all too well, as did her mother before her and hers before her. As far as my mother may have already learned to let it go, at times, I still find myself struggling with it. The fear of losing control seems to trump the fear of missing out.
And yet, with my path of personal development leading me ever more into the present moment and more into my own senses, I also learn to enjoy what begs to be enjoyed. I learn to drop the chores for a moment and enjoy movie-time with my girl. I learn to leave the ironing for yet another week (I dare say it’s been a month now) and fold a paper airplane with my boy. Or I learn to soak in the tub after I have cleaned it instead of taking a quick shower. I do this by consciously reminding myself, several times a day, to enjoy myself.
Like many, I need practice in this, but it’s enjoyable practice. I’m learning to let go of control by being aware of my impulses to grasp it. When I hear myself saying ‘no’ to something my children want to do, I stop and think of why. I hope, for one, I can break the tradition of the ‘must do it now’- inner dialogue and opt for the ‘must enjoy it now’ instead. And perhaps, the next generation can figure out how to enjoy what needs to be done as well.
I don’t think we only have one life, but whether we do or we don’t, there’s no reason not to make the most of the one we’re living right now.
Why don’t you join me?