Last week, a friend gave me a much-needed reality check. Over lunch, I found myself starting sentence after sentence with "I need to" — as in "I need to call her" and "I need to try that" and "I just need to figure out a routine." I didn't realize I was doing it until she interrupted me. "Laura," she said, "what you really need to do is just cut yourself some slack." Ha. Right.
It's the sort of thing only a real friend can say, and I ended up laughing at her expression, which basically said, "Tone down the crazy." I took a step back to realize how anxious I'd been acting, and for no real reason at all. She was right, and I vowed to cut the phrase from my vocabulary.
The thing is, I couldn't believe how often I had to keep myself from thinking it. I've always been one to write multiple to-do lists throughout the day — in my phone, on a notebook, along the back of a receipt. The lists include everything from errands to phone calls to birthday presents. So much of my time, I found, was dedicated to thinking of what I need to do. And so little of what I want to do.
This weekend, what I really wanted to do was lay low. To sleep in and take after-dinner walks and watch the sun dip below the golden hills across from our house. I wanted to organize my sweaters (I know) and send letters and dive into a stack of magazines. I wanted to do some yoga, write some fiction, gossip over coffee with my best friend while sitting in our PJs on a rainy morning.
And so that's what I did. For every few "need to dos" on my list, I'm adding a "want to do."
Because we all need to just cut ourselves some slack, you know?