Date #24 – THE 24 HOUR FREEDOM DATE.
“It is indeed a radical act of love just to sit down and be quiet for a time by yourself.”
I am a single mom.
But I will not be defined as a single mom or let that be a label. It will not bring pity or favor. It does not mean it gives me an excuse. It is exactly what it states and nothing more. I am a mother who is single.
So often we attach ourselves to a label, name, or organization and let it define us. Organizations and groups are great, but if we are not careful, we can mesh into a mold or begin to let others define us.
The fact I have a child who lives with me 92.9% of the time leaves me with very few nights off a year from motherhood. (unless I pay a babysitter)
Therefore, these nights that I have to myself have become sacred to me.
I decided a few years back, that these days would only be for me and I could do whatever I wanted to do. My day. My decisions. I could make plans with people or not. I could go dance the night away or sit on the couch in sweatpants. My choice.
Over the years, I’ve stayed strong with this commitment to myself for the most part. But I have had some hiccups where I say yes to something and later realize it wasn’t really something I wanted to do, but maybe thought I did.
It’s actually REALLY HARD to truly have a day where you only do what you want to do and no one else has a say in it. Phone calls, invites, texts, facebook, meals, responsibilities, etc… These actions do not always line up with our choices in how we really want to spend our time. Yet, we let these tools run our lives and eat our time.
So for my 24th date, I wanted to plan nothing and shut down social media. I put zip zero on my calendar for 24 hours and made a plan to NOT even make plans with myself. I did this purposely so that I could ask myself questions all day and be quiet for the answers.
This makes us uncomfortable.
Because we’re habitual. We like to plan. We like to schedule it all out nice and pretty so that we are accomplishing goals OR so we stay super busy and don’t have time to look at what’s going on in our life.
I’m all for habits and planning to make life run smooth. But when is the last time you stirred things up? You make your coffee every morning without thinking about it. Your heat the coffee machine, pour in coffee grounds, wait for the hot cup of energy, and then dump some sugar or cream in. Have you ever thought to ask yourself, do I event like sugar in it anymore?
For the past 15 years or so, my cheat meal and food coma of choice was Chinese takeout. I LOVE CHINESE FOOD. Or so I thought. Whenever I wanted to kick my feet up, relax and watch a movie, I called my favorite Chinese Restaurant that would deliver that goodness to my door.
About a year ago, I came to the conclusion I was ordering Chinese food out of habit to “feel good and relaxed.” I didn’t want Chinese food, I wanted to sit back and think about nothing. I needed to zone out for an hour or two. I realized I really don’t like Chinese food THAT much. I like it, but what I really LOVE creating a space for myself to relax.
So that’s what I did for my 24th date.
I created space for myself to relax … or not relax. Whatever I wanted to do for a full 24 hours. Yes, 24 hours. No sleeping involved.
I won’t go through the entire 24 hours with you, because, quite honestly, you’d be bored.
Also, this was a special day for me. And with this journey, some things are sacred. These 24 hours are sacred to me because they mine and I claimed the day for just me.
We really do get chances to do whatever we want to do when we think about it. We just have to schedule a time to do that.
Yes, take the time to schedule nothingness.
And then stand in your house and ask yourself some questions to get yourself started.
Close your eyes and ask the questions. Take the day or time in sections.
“If I could eat absolutely anything for breakfast right now, what would I like to eat or where would I like to go?”
“I have an hour to relax. How do I REALLY like to spend my time relaxing in a way that RECHARGES me?” Sorry, but checking your Facebook feed and relaxing on the couch is NOT going to recharge you.
“I would like to exercise. What do I feel like doing right now to move my body?”
“Do I feel like calling a friend to meet for coffee or would I rather sit with a book in a coffee shop?”
It’s also easy to tell ourselves we don’t really care what we do or that it doesn’t matter what we do, because we’ll be happy either way. That’s super duper. And boring. Have an opinion damn it (I’m talking to myself).
Yes, we can learn to be happy doing anything, but right now I want to know what I desire to be doing over being content with something.
It’s our life. There are so many things that feel or seem decided and laid out for us. And in order to dig a little deeper, we have to be willing to start with some simple questions.
In my opinion, starting small is always a great start to a solid habit or exploring more about yourself or something you are interested in.
You can’t just go climb Mount Everest out of the blue. You start with baby mountains.
You can’t quit your job because you think you might like baking cupcakes. Start with questions like, “do I like being covered in flour?” “Does the heat of the oven ever bother me?”
I know, I know. It all sounds so silly.
I believe it all seems so silly because we think we know what we like in our life, but many times we’ve never really asked ourselves the question, … “Do I like this?”
I dare you to challenge yourself on some of your likes. Your answers may surprise you!
Spending 24 hours with myself was awesome! I explored, I was quiet, I took myself out to lunch, I went shopping in the middle of the night, and I tried to figure out what style of decor I like in my home (this is a never-ending challenge!).
I also read, walked, created, danced, played around on the computer, did some bizarre things and never sat down for about 30 hours.
By the time I picked up my daughter from school I was a walking zombie. But it was worth it. We came home, watched a movie and both passed out at 8 pm.
It’s nice to know I enjoy being with myself. And I don’t mean staying “busy” or checking-out of life with myself. Knowing I can be still with myself and be content in those moments makes me happy.
I must say, that’s a good sign of a GREAT DATE.
Until next time….
PS – If you missed Date #24, Part 1 – You can read it HERE!
PSS – I will also be backtracking and writing Date #21, 22, & 23 next. I wanted to start with my most recent date and work backward. Why? Because I can