Yesterday I was very fortunate to half the afternoon off of work. I knew this was happening as of the end of last week, so I made a point of making some plans instead of just going home. My wife would be at work and our daughter at school and I envisioned that my afternoon would just slip away without me feeling like it was time well spent.
I left work about 12:30 and caught my usual bus towards home. Just before I stepped onto the bus I turned off my work email on my phone and promised myself that I wouldn’t turn it back on until I returned to my office. Instead of going home, I got off the bus in front of one of our big bookstores and went straight into the coffee shop inside. I ordered my usual steamed milk to go along with my vanilla chai tea bag which was already waiting in my travel mug, and grabbed a table. I pulled out some paper and my iPad (turning off my work email on that as well) and sat there for the next hour plus, with the sun on my back, music playing over the coffee shop speakers, and conversations going on around me.
I spent my time there going through an activity from Mel Robbins on reflecting on your year and planning for next year. I know that it’s only October, but the timing is right for me to be taking stock of my life. When I was done, I walked home. It’s about two miles and it was a nice enough fall day that I took my jacket off. It was a great couple of hours.
I hadn’t done something like that, going to a coffee place by myself and sitting there not doing either work work or school work in years. I mostly like being around others. I like having conversations and laughing and connecting, something I don’t do enough with friends either, but spending time alone, but out in public is good too. I was on a date with myself. I’d scheduled it, knew where I was going to go, and had some idea of what I was going to do, though the walking home part was a whim because I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like.
This is something that I’m going to start doing on a regular basis. I think it’s incredibly important, but also challenging for people who work full time and have families to make time for themselves. To make it happen, we have to schedule it. We schedule plans with others and we should be scheduling that time with ourselves as well.
Oh, and the fact that all I bought was a steamed milk and not yet another book or the scarf I was eyeing while I was at the bookstore is a miracle.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan McIntosh under a CC-BY-SA license.