Permission to Breathe

Posted In: Work/Life Balance
Posted On: 8/1/2016

My mom died last week.

It takes my breath away to write that.  And even though she had been sick for months and this end was inevitable, it is still hard to fathom life without her. For those closest to me, I know I had become boring with all of my mom stories, frequently complaining about how she had morphed from my mother to my child.  But my care for her gave me a greater purpose and I see that now, as I am feeling untethered and wandering a bit aimlessly.

In retrospect, I was always in motion when I was with my mom.  We were going to doctors' appointments or running errands or moving her to her newest apartment. And if we weren’t doing those chores, we were at the Humane Society checking out little dogs or playing endless games of Sorry.  In the final days before her death, my brothers and I were on an hourly schedule of feeding her pain meds.  And in the days since she passed, there are a dizzying number of tasks to finalize her life.jane miller, jane knows, career expert

Motion. Constant motion.

This is not unique to me, of course. Most of us live our lives in this constant flurry of activity.  Endless “to-do” lists.  Back to back meetings. Our sense of value is connected with the amount of stuff we get done. The more we do, the better we feel about ourselves.

To commemorate my mom’s life, I am going to give myself permission to take a break from the constant motion. Permission to do nothing and feel good about it. 

If you are also feeling like you live in a whirlwind of activity, I ask you to join me and take a short break from it all.  Go for a walk with no destination in mind. Get a nice scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream and savor every yummy bite.  Sit with your significant other and do nothing but hold hands for as long as you can without saying a word.

We all grapple with balance in life.  But perhaps the first step to achieving that balance is giving ourselves permission. Permission to breathe.