I slept in today. It’s still dark outside, though. I slept well and deeply, waking only once that I know of, and returning to sleep with relative ease. I woke with a stiff neck, eased by morning yoga and physical therapy exercises. It is a gentle morning, and I am not working today. The break from work, with the associated cognitive rest, is welcome. I yawn, and stretch, and sip my coffee contentedly, thinking about my partner, and the day ahead.

Capturing a similar sense of relaxed leisure during the busy work weeks, in those moments which are truly undeniably my own, is something that exists as a… goal? Intention? Ideal? Something like that. It’s a nice balance, when I succeed, to enjoy my limited leisure time in a fully relaxed, aware, mindful way, wringing all the joy and contentment out of them that they may offer. Sometimes I find myself enjoying it quite as I’d like, and happily so. Other times, not so much – my thoughts may be pulled back to work topics, or to actual work-related cognitive task-processing, thinking through the details before I even get to work, or lingering over them long after I have ended my busy day. It isn’t really helpful to over-extend myself, and good quality rest and downtime are a huge part of feeling content and well, generally. The hours I am now so often inclined to spend “sneaking back to work” in my thoughts used to be those hours I spent similarly mired in work, but doing so from the perspective of feeling resentful to be there at all. ever. Funny how difficult it can be to let it go and embrace my own time, for my own purposes. It takes practice.

This morning the pre-dawn darkness lingers past 7 am. Sunrise is not until almost 8 am this morning. The sky is only now beginning to hint at lightness, where the clouds part, silhouetting trees against the sky. Soon I will take my coffee to the cushion at the patio door to watch the sunrise. It’s not a fancy moment, really, just one that I enjoy sufficiently to make time for it. Isn’t that the thing that is so often missing? Time. In this busy life, so many things I enjoy don’t just happen; it is necessary to make time for them. Walks through the park. Conversation with a friend. Coffee and a sunrise. Watching the birds at the feeder. Writing a letter on paper. Reading a book.  It is necessary to make the time for the things I love. What matters most? The job? Oh, surely not! There is more to life – and not only somewhen beyond retirement, there is more to life right now than getting up and going to work, coming home and going to sleep, and repeating that cycle endlessly. We are not machines. Work is the least important thing about any one of us – even doctors, teachers, scientists. Our professional life is such a small piece of who we each are. I remind myself how critical it is to make the time to be a whole being, enjoying and savoring each moment.

Today is mine. It’s a nice luxury. Today is a good day to enjoy the woman in the mirror. Where will the day take me?