The other night my sweet April Marie and I sat in bed laughing at each other laughing for the better part of an hour. It was way past our bedtime and it was one of the best things that’s happened to me in weeks. I’ll of course never tell her that because in my justification of time-use it wasn’t productive and I would never want to incentivize those kinds of shenanigans – but I’m writing about it to convince myself otherwise.
You see, we have very different ideas of how to spend time productively.
Sweet April’s productivity
She likes to do the things she has to do, when she is good and ready to do them and not any sooner and not any later. When she is good and ready to do them, she sits in her chair, under a blanket (not at her desk we built because that would be silly) and does her homework or writes her blog post or plans the week’s meals or organizers her calendar. And she does whatever that thing she is doing in one fell swoop.
Questions are answered with nods and grunts and facial expressions are reserved for less productive times. She has Mad Men or Scandal droning on her iPad to fill the space where distractions belong. She’s closed off to the world, unless of course, she gets a text from Melissa McAnally, at which points she reanimates. And when she’s done, it’s time for flowers and sunshine and jokes and babies and snuggles and puppies and cooking and friends.
I on the other hand like to do all the things I’m doing while doing all of the other things I have to do. This way I can finish everything on the list as to maximize my play time (which is oddly also ruled by to-do lists). I like to have folks around while I’m hammering away at a new shelf or my homework. I want April to come talk to me while I’m writing or cleaning or doing whatever it is I’m doing – fun or work – because when I’m done it’s time for bed, reading or video games – and I don’t want to be interrupted during those times.
I don’t want to have fun with other people when I’ve allotted time in my head to have fun by myself and I’m, for whatever reason, very vigilant about what I consider wasting time. Any time spent doing things that I can’t check off of my various to do lists (Books to Read, Movies to Watch, TV to See, Thursday – Work, Monday – Yard, Games to Beat, Songs to Learn, Family to Call, Workout Count). And, I’m boneheaded about anything that gets in my way. As my good friend and brilliant songwriter Charlie Harden said, “My heart can be as hard as my teach sometimes.” I don’t mean for it to happen but I guess I’m just weird like that.
That typically (read always) creates a problem at bedtime. She’s done with her work and wants to play, I’m done with everything and tried to talk to her earlier but she was working so it’s time for me to read. I hate re-reading the same sentence over and over. She hates anything that isn’t snuggling and laughing while our faces are as close as they can possibly be together without kissing. A book creates an unwelcome barrier in her eyes.
But, last week we were heading to bed and I wasn’t too tired yet so I just started imitating her laugh, the one(s) she does right before bed every night. And she just jumped straight in with hers. We laughed and laughed and laughed. And then we laughed about how much we were laughing at laughing. It was a good time. And after all that laughing, I still had enough energy to read a little. You know how people who haven’t been married have this super fun idea of marriage and everyone who has been married has the awful realistic idea of marriage – that night was the pre-marriage picture of marriage. Pillow-fighting your best friend and staying up past you bed time.
This goes back to something I tell everyone in new relationships, and myself for than I should have to. We say no a lot. And why do we say no?
That’s not a good reason to say no.
“I can’t laugh at you right now because I have to beat this game so I can start that book that I need to read because it’s on a list I made.”
We need to say yes a little more and we need to be patient with the people around us as they deal with their own no proclivities. We’re not too busy to say yes. Trust me, you’re not busy. I mean we all are. How many times have you asked someone what they’ve been up to and they didn’t paint a picture of busyness. So if we’re all busy, being busy doesn’t make you special, it’s normal.
Let’s say yes, let’s hang out, let’s have fun, let’s help others, let’s build community and let’s laugh more.
We live on this beautiful planet and no matter how poor you are, if you’re reading this you have so much more than most. We have no reason to say no, we have no reason not to laugh.
Let’s say yes because we can. Let’s say yes in the face of no.