For context: Intro to My Happiness Project
This month I am going to focus on leisure. It sounds so decadent, right? Especially for a mom. Especially for a toddler mom. Especially for a stay-at-home toddler mom. Especially for a stay-at-home toddler mom who is leaving her husband to be a single dad for four weeks.
But that’s what I’m doing. I’m shedding that guilt (or at least trying to) and jetting off to the U.K. (For more info about the trip, click here.) I’ve dreamt of studying at Cambridge since I found out about the biennial cohort my freshman year of college, and I decided that I would go– despite being American, despite being thoroughly middle-class, despite being a wife, despite being a mom.
So since I’ll be beating myself up the whole time I’m gone (probably even years after I get back too) and will most likely sob as the plane takes off, I’m going to commit this month to leisure. To make it worth all my pain, all my husband’s stress, all PJ’s inevitable sorrow as we Skype across the ocean.
Thus, the tasks I have set myself are:
Postpone stress. Having finally finished reading Emma by Jane Austen for one of two classes I am taking for credit at Cambridge, I have time to think about the few short weeks remaining until fall semester (once I get back from England). These weeks are precious little time to prepare for applying to grad schools (i.e. taking the GRE and/or GACE), editing my work-in-progress thesis, getting organized, and starting my internship doing social media marketing at the UGA Press. Oh, and planning and throwing PJ’s second birthday party (eek!!!).
Be all of that as it may, I am channeling that little zen part of my brain that says “It will keep.” I am relying on the tried and true method of “it’ll work out, it always does” for now and postponing stressing about any of these things. (I did order my textbooks though, I’m not a sadist.)
Travel. The very dramatic part of me worries that I’ll never be in the U.K. again (or at least not for decades) and so is crazed to travel as much as possible while abroad. Which is why my fellow Cambridge scholars and I have planned a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland and the Cliffs of Moher near Galway. We’ve also booked a coach tour of Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge, are planning a day excursion to Brighton, have tickets to see Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe Theatre in London, and have every intention of exploring nearby towns and Cambridge itself. All in our spare time after classes, of course.
I want to eat British food (and Irish food! and British takes on Asian food!). I want to buy musty, old classics in vintage book shops. I want to do tourist-y things like take my picture with the submerged trolley at King’s Cross. In short, I want to make the most of this brief chapter in my life where I am a single, independent, tetherless woman who is studying abroad at one of the oldest universities in the world, living on her own for the first time, and making her way in a foreign country.
And while I plan to Skype with my daughter and husband every night (even though that means staying up until midnight), I want to be allowed to experience this fully.
Don’t travel TOO much. Obviously, I will go back to the U.K. someday (hopefully sooner rather than later), so I need to try to reign myself in a bit. I don’t want to overextend my body or my wallet by galavanting about every waking moment. I also want to lie on the green in Selwyn’s Old Court, have tea & scones & clotted cream at the nearby orchard, and take naps after 3:30 in my dorm.
As for continuing the habit of cultivating leisure, I plan to plant books in the car, the bathroom, etc. so that if I find a moment where I can read a page or two rather than scroll through feed, I have something on hand. I always feel refreshed from looking at print rather than a screen.
I’ll report on how keeping this month’s resolutions goes when I start the next round in August, so stay tuned!
UPDATE: Month 11 (Status Report)