unstructured time.

I'm out of the office this week, and it's been lovely.

When I was in my 20's, my first teaching job brought me uncommitted summers...I had large plans for superhuman fitness, for artistic adventures and a focused march through the canon of unread Western literature.

I lasted 2 weeks.
Two. Weeks.

At the end of those 2 weeks? I was hitting the gym with fanatical devotion, had reverted to an almost nocturnal state, and was totally, 100% miserable. I got the first retail job I could, just to have a place to go, a schedule to keep...crazy only begins to describe me without a routine.

(Life lesson: the beauty of vacation is in leaving those comfortable patterns and schedules. But sometimes it's hard to leave them behind when you're not really sure what they are...)

But here, almost 20 (LAWDY) years away from that first shot at unstructured time? I think I might be getting the hang of it... today consisted of:
- coffee/journal/dog walk, same as every day.
- email/writing/editing while waiting for the refrigerator repairman.
- 90 minutes in the gym, playing on all of the machines because they weren't being monopolized by large, gruff, sweaty dudes.
- A massage, in which I learned that I not only have knots under my shoulder blades (Freddie and Stevie...they've been with me a long time), but also in my butt muscles. What the WHAT?!?
- Browsing at a bookstore.
- Erranding.
- Grilling shrimp, and then using them as an excuse to eat a whole tomato and a whole avocado alongside for dinner. (My love for avocados runs deep.)
- Reading magazines on the porch. Surfing a little bit, polling facebook for good stories.

I didn't get everything done on my wish list, for sure. But I'm feeling pretty rejuvenated here at the end of it, ready for an early bedtime and a good night's sleep.

A storm is about to blow in - there's a fantastic breeze in the air, and the flowers are trembling in the breeze. The motion of the leaves are making the streetlights and storefronts dance like club lights. There's one stripe of sky that is light grey, as the clouds and nighttime sock us into dark. If I were that 20-something on a night like tonight, I would be almost buzzing with possibility, looking for meaning in every conversation, every twist of circumstance. But I'm pretty happy to be sitting on my porch, feeling that same sense of possibility and excitement, without having to get all gussied up and talk to strangers. "Floating on the Lehigh" by Grizzly Bear is playing, and indeed, this floating feeling with the breeze and the night is quite lovely.

I'm planning to unplug almost totally for the next few days - to really make some space, to notice more small things, to leave behind the digital treadmill for a little more presence. (Case in point - I just noticed that this crazy tropical plant that I've somehow kept alive for several years curls its leaves up at night! They were unfurled earlier today, but now they're rolled like cigar leaves. Wow. Gotta work on those observation skills.) I'm guessing it'll let me hit the office -and the upcoming season - with a little more generosity and room if I can unplug.

Starting to rain. Time to head inside. Good night, chickadees.


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