Ignore the Shoulds. Do something you love.

Ignore the Shoulds. Do something you love.

Sunday morning: the sun was shining, the kids were playing, the kitchen needed tidying and the floors were overdue a vacuuming.

But I was slacklining. Aware, yet not caring about all the other things that needed doing.

I could have waited until all those things were finished. I could have waited until the floors were vacuumed and the kitchen tidied. But by then I would have realised that the laundry needed doing and the beds needed making and the grocery list needed writing and so on. There is rarely a perfect time for relaxing. For slowing down. For stopping and smelling those gorgeous flowers.

Because life is busy and we all have expectations of what it Should look like. (Tidy home. Nice hair. Things under control.) But sometimes you just have to go ahead and do the thing you need.

In my case what was needed was down time. Some slacklining. Some listening to good music. Some wilful ignorance of the Shoulds floating around in my head. Just for a little while.

Slowing down isn’t about laziness. It’s not about shirking responsibility. It’s not about mediocrity or lowering of standards.

It’s about being intentional. Being present. Enjoying the moment in front of you. And sometimes it’s about ignoring the things you Should be doing and opting for things that fill you up, make you smile, change your perspective.

19 Responses to Ignore the Shoulds. Do something you love.

  1. So true!

    It’s easy to associate slow with laziness or irresponsibility. We all love to tell each other how busy we are…I’ve done it.

    But like you say, the opposite is true. Going slow is all about intentional living… and that takes courage. Saying no isn’t easy but the reward are priceless.

    Thank you Brook! Love your weekly inspirations.

  2. I’m rarely spontaneous. I don’t say that proudly. There’s something ingrained in me that drives me to do work first and IF there’s any time left over, play or relax. The latter doesn’t happen very often. But 3 days ago, when I was in the middle of my to- do list, the sunny, warm weather beckoned me outdoors. At first, I placed perameters around the break I decided to take. No more than an hour. But once outdoors, I struggled within myself. Ooooh, it was SOOOO nice outside. One of our first real spring days. FOR ONCE I was spontaneous and what a reward I received. My husband and I stumbled upon an unmarked path at a scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is very close to our house. We took the path and ended up on a lovely hike that followed a winding, rushing creek with lots of little waterfalls. The creek was bordered by large, smooth rocks covered with bright, green moss. Everything around us was visible because the leaves aren’t on the trees yet. It was PERFECT!!! I SO GLAD I followed my instincts instead of my to-do list, for once.

  3. There’s nothing better than sleeping in on a Saturday morning! I build time in for my cups of coffee and reading/waking up slowly. Later I will walk the dogs on a beautiful spring evening just before the sun goes down. During the day I get a lot of things down though. So it’s a win/win day. What could be better! ENJOY :)

  4. This is so true! Writing has always been that “something” I love but haven’t made time for, instead letting the “should” fill up my days over the years. Recently, I decided to change that and stepped out into the blogging world.
    Thank you for reminding us all that life is a balance between the “shoulds” and the things that really fill us up!

  5. Very well said. For some reason we guilt ourselves into thinking we have to do the “shoulds” before we relax but it’s so true – if we don’t take the time out every now and then it’s not going to happen by itself, and we need that time out for quality of life.

  6. I often think about who made these expectations… I sure didn’t–but somehow I’m feel obliged to live up to this trend towards perfectionism. A messy pony, a few unmade beds, a less than gourmet meal served at my table is okay–I just have to make sure someone else’s expectations don’t become my own “life rules.” Today, I’m throwing caution to the wind and playing outside with my son…and there is a whole lot of laundry that will be there tomorrow:)


  7. It’s so easy to auto-load your todo list these days. Everyone needs some downtime. And you’re right – it’s not laziness.

    On Saturday, I was exhausted. I had laundry to do, a decluttering task, some quilting to finish, and I needed to go for a run. Instead, I just took a nap. And the world kept on spinning!

  8. Thank you for this reinforcement that it is okay to relax. I ALWAYS feel stressed about my to-do list in my idle time. Then, it doesn’t become relaxing. Do you feel a pull to blog when you have free time? That adds another level of complexity to my to-do list.

  9. Life is such a sequel to “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”. Sometimes you have to ignore stuff. :)

  10. Perfect timing Brooke. It is a beautiful sunny day here and my house oh so needs a good vacuuming. But instead my son and I are going to head down to watch the waves at the beach. Part of me is saying I should do the vacuuming. But another part of me, the part I am trying to foster, is saying if you want to play outside today, play outside today. The vacuuming will get done eventually. It may even get it done with a smile when I get home, re-energised from my trip to the beach.

  11. THANK YOU for writing this! This is something I have been thinking of very often as of late, trying to balance parenting with a full-time and a part-time job. Sometimes, we just need to give ourselves permission to do nothing. The work can wait.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful day! After reading your article I looked up a video about slack lining and my kids are super excited to try one. Thanks for sharing and motivating me to try something different.

  13. Agree! And that’s why a lot of relaxing activities are on my daily todo list. Like writing a thank you note, meditation, doing a good deed and writing a list of 3 things I am grateful for.

    It might sound weird and like no fun at all – but it really works great for me :)

  14. I have honestly had the most difficult time ignoring the “shoulds.” I’m one of those people who has to see the productive value in everything, so I started adding the things that I love to the list of “shoulds.” It might sound funny (other adjectives welcome), but it’s working. I should sketch for 20 minutes at 10pm because it relaxes me before bed (and I drink less wine). I should play in the pool because it’s fun exercise. On Sundays, I should watch Game of Thrones because… you know nothing John Snow! Anyway, thanks for the encouraging post :)

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