When I lived at home many moons ago, I always wondered what was wrong with my mother. She never sat still and just did nothing. She was always doing something - fixing things, making things, cleaning things or doing things. I thought it was just her. A dire case of ants-in-the-pantsitis.
Fast forward. Today that person with an inability to sit and do nothing is me. There is ALWAYS something else that needs doing. Usually its work. Or household chores. Or children. Or organising things. Or those billions of small jobs that never quite get done. As a result I am perpetually in motion. I think I have forgotton how to relax. To just sit and be and not do.
However, on Friday I stopped working for the year. I was even organised enough to have done the bulk of my paperwork so that I don't have to face it come 1 January. I have done all my Christmas shopping and have wrapped most of it. I am not having the world and their respective dogs coming to Christmas dinner so there is no need to make a big fuss. I'm going to wing it and pop into Sainsbury's on Wednesday morning and play pot luck to see what I can find for Christmas dinner (like Ready, Steady, Cook only with a few more ingredients to choose from).
So that means there is no making cranberry sauce or gravy in advance, or working out spreadsheets of what to cook when.
We do have a drinks party here on Tuesday evening and I will have to do a bit of work for that tomorrow, but not much. So after having bought the necessary bits needed for that on Saturday morning, I was officially done. I had nothing else that really needed doing. Sure I still haven't put the photos of the children into albums (since they were babies) and admittedly I haven't tidied my clothes cupboard. But neither of those things are mission critical.
So I thought I'd just lie in front of the fire and read a book. This felt thoroughly decadent and obviously going from do-er to be-er cannot be achieved in a single step. First I had to make the fire. Before I could do that I had to clean out the fireplace. And then once I had a bag full of ash, I realised that the bins still hadn't been put back since the bin men came and we had several new bags of rubbish that had to go out. Having done that, I realised we were out of firewood, so headed back into the garden to the log pile to collect a basketful of logs and kindling.
Having seen the state of the garden while out there, I couldn't justify lying in front of the fire reading a book when the piles of leaves I'd raked weeks ago were still sitting in forlorn frozen piles waiting to go into the green recycling bin. So I spent the next 40 minutes picking up leaf ice blocks and putting them in the bin. And raking up the left over bits.
A good hour and a half after I'd decided to do nothing, I returned to the sitting room, made a fire, lay down and read my book. I managed to do that for about 20 minutes before the children found me and said they were hungry and I got up to make dinner.
Sunday morning rolled around. A whole glorious day lay ahead with nothing to do (thank God given I'd been up all night with a poorly child). I had a lie in. Sort of. I had a leisurly breakfast. I went for a long snowy walk with the un-poorly child. I read my book in front of the fire. I played chess with the boys and my husband while listening to Christmassy music. I made some scones and we all had high tea. We ventured out to Christmas carols at the church. Enjoyed some mulled wine. Had a hearty dinner of stew with crusty bread. Put the boys to bed. And I reverted to the sofa with a book and a glass of red wine, with the fire still crackling away.
No TV, no blogging, no twitter, no talking, no doing, no thinking. Just quite simply being. It was bliss. It feels like I've been on a holiday. I think the book, wine, fire combo is going to be repeated a lot in the next two weeks.
So on the off chance I can't be bothered to remove myself from the sofa between now and Christmas, here's wishing you a very merry - and more importantly - a very relaxed Christmas and stress-free 2010!