March 16, 2014

Dessert Before Dinner

During the workweek, whenever I come home after work, I promptly remove my shoes, hang my purse on the closet handle and drop down my work bag, and then scurry around my apartment with my jacket on  (an important little detail) in a rush to relax.  The relaxing part often doesn’t come until two to three hours later, after I’ve worked out, darted back out to run to the grocery store, or triaged my vitamins for the next day, in other words, after I've checked a series of to-dos off my list. 

I know I’m not the only one, with obligations, responsibilities, chores and things that get in the way of that sweet spot at the end of the day when we bask in the glow of full-bellied peace and quiet.  The culmination of our days – when we finally get to that point – is not only the dessert but our sustenance too, though, so why don’t we grant ourselves a taste of that – a prelude or a snippet of this well-fed, happy-place feeling – during the day?  Why do we feel only deserve a dose of it right before drifting off to sleep or during that small sliver of time on a Sunday morning (one of my favorite sweet spots) when all the obligations of the world fall away for a quick minute? 

Rushing to relax is counter-intuitive, but it's something I do on the regular.  Why?  Because though life gets busy sometimes, I live for those moments of pure, unadulterated bliss, that cozy feeling, like a hot cup of tea in your hands but all over your body, and I want to get there as soon as I can.

Last Sunday, after a fun but bustling weekend, I found myself sprawled on my couch at noon, in my “loungewear” (who am I kidding? They’re PJs), book in hand, hot tea on coaster.  My apartment was quiet, my feet were reclined, and all of a sudden I felt my heartbeat soften to that slow thump when you’re about to drift off to sleep.  I could’ve eaten it up, that moment was so freaking delicious.  And I just sat there, fully aware, and basking in the calm emanating throughout my body and mind.  It felt incredible.

Afterward, I felt more recharged than I had been in what felt like weeks, at which point I realized how essential these isolated moments of relaxation are to our happiness and productivity too.  Why do we only grant ourselves these moments at the end of the day or end of the week?  By putting it off until every single obligation is met, all our to-dos are checked off our lists, how can we feel balanced and focused and accept and appreciate life's nuances?

Further, how can we be prepared for life's natural ebbs and flows if we're rushing through it, never taking the time to stop and take short time-outs midway through it?  And really, why must we cleanse our palates only at dusk when we’re often too tired to really taste it?

From here on, I am going to try and taste my dessert during the day, even if it’s just a bite or a nibble.  Because let’s be honest - life is too short not to eat dessert before dinner sometimes.

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