One of my favorite books is Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik. Aside from the fact that I wish I'd lived the life that inspired the book, what I really love about this book is that it's about living life without making excuses, without holding back. So often, we are told that when we have children, we have to delay gratification, put things on hold, wait until they're older. Paris to the Moon recounts the experience of Gopnik and his wife moving from New York to Paris when their son was six months old. It was a long-time dream of theirs to live in Paris, and being parents didn't hold them back from taking a huge leap of faith to achieve their dream.
It seems that there is almost always a reason to not do something when you have a child. J and I aren't the most motivated people in the world, and we often fall into the trap of making excuses for why we can't do something or go somewhere or just generally live a more interesting life. It's one of the primary reasons why we feel we're just not suited for the small town/suburban lifestyle - it adds one extra hurdle. Instead of being able to drive 10 minutes and end up at a museum or a baseball game or an awesome sushi restaurant, we have to drive a minimum of an hour, plan on being out for most of the day, and at this point in E's life, haul along most of his worldly possessions. So we tend to stay home, occupying ourselves with the many chores or projects in the house and yard. While we usually get a lot done, we end up feeling frustrated and bored, and that the weekend has passed almost without our noticing it or really even spending any time together.
Recently, we decided that we need to make more of an effort to spend our time consciously, to do the things that feel like real life instead of just filling up the hours. There are some great things within a 1-2 hour drive of our town. We keep waiting for the perfect time, for the weekend when there is no birthday party, no projects inside the house, no yard work, and I've come to realize that weekend will never happen, so we might as well just dive in. Below is a list of things we want to do. It's not quite packing up everything we own and moving to Paris, but it's a start.
Visit the farm that produces our meat
Visit cool small town with lots of fabulous local food markets, about 80 miles away
This past weekend, we checked the art museum off the list. Our weekend was incredibly busy - Saturday morning swim lesson for E, dinner with friends Saturday evening, Sunday trip to the city - yet, this morning, I felt more rested and refreshed than I have in a long time. During the course of our weekend, J and I didn't have any spats about whose turn it was to do some random household chore and E made it through the entire weekend without a single meltdown (unheard of lately). We were focused on each other, focused on doing things that fill us up and renew the connections between the three of us. The house is a disaster and the yard work was left undone, but I count this as our most productive weekend in a very long time.
I'm interested in how other families experience this issue of making excuses and of waiting for the "right" time that in reality will never come. What do you put off, thinking that you don't have the time, money, freedom, etc., to do? If you've found a way to stop making excuses, what motivated you to break out of that pattern?
21 Days to Get Excited for Paris
2 days ago