Thursday, November 26, 2009

An X Day

What is an X day?  A very lovely thing.  Last month,  in a bid to ensure more time to do the things we love to do and to have more down time, I put a big X through a day on our calendar.  We stayed home, turned the phone off, didn't invite anyone over and didn't do any errands.  Instead we read, baked, had time for our hobbies, spent time outdoors and just....enjoyed.  It was so lovely and refreshing I decided to prioritize an X day each week.  On one week we managed 2 X days.  Even more lovely.  So now we are aiming for 2 a week.  Today is one and I've got big plans for my time. 

There will be time for knitting.

(still lots of gifts to make)
Time for needle-felting.

( I'm pretty sure this will turn out nicely even though it looks a bit strange now) ;-)

Time for putting out more greenery.  I can't resist tucking it in everywhere...even the bathroom now sports an old washboard on the wall filled with greenery. ;-)

Time for some reading - with the boys and on my own.  We've got stacks of library books waiting patiently on our shelves.
Time for yummy food.  I've been taking the time to try out some new recipes and found a red lentil soup we all really love.  Today E wants to try out something with the Shitake mushrooms we got yesterday and he is going to make portabella pizza (with the portabella as the pizza "crust")

And...there will be cookies baked. The boys sampled some cookies made by a friend at Lego club last week and really want to make them so the butter is softening on the counter.

I think what I love about our X days is that they feel like a little time out each week; a time out to celebrate...well, just our life, really, as simple as that is and time to just catch up with the things we want to do.

A funny thing - this morning I started this post and then went off to do a few other things with the boys.  I got an email from a dear friend asking me about our X days.  I think the important thing to me about them is that they really are a commitment on my part.  I don't see them as "just a day at home" when I could change my plans because something comes up or we are asked to do something.  I plan to treat them as I would any other commitment.   

I've been enjoying A Gift From the Sea again.  I've been reading about the instinct of woman to "perpetually spill herself away."  How we are taught, and how we naturally want, to give, give, give.   It becomes very easy to give so much and so often that one can end up exhausted.  The author writes of how "woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty" and how we seldom have the time alone, with peace and quiet, to fill ourselves back up. 

I love how Anne Morrow Lindbergh questioned why that was and why it is that an appointment  of any sort is seen as a reasonable excuse to not do something but an appointment with yourself, for time alone, seems selfish or strange.  Here is a line from her book that I really love.

"Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover.  And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude."

I imagine she would feel even more strongly about that were she still alive today, in these times when busyness is looked upon with admiration by most.  Perhaps she would even like an X day. ;-)


ipsa said...

Heather, I think time set aside like this is so important. I've been aiming towards something similar at our house but tend to end up cleaning or running errands.

I love the idea of committing fully to the day, without phone calls and, for me, I'd also need to stay off the computer for it to really work (a goal in the works, anyway).

I think we'll start with one day each week (Wednesdays usually) and then think about another day we can add to our roster.

Thanks for the inspiration and confirmation. :)

Nik said...

we love X days around here too. I really noticed when we weren't getting them, but then a day came free again and I declared it out "home day". Like you have written, it's not just a day at home that can be changed, but is a commited day where we are home based whether it includes a walk around the neighbourhood or whatever, but we all look forward to it and the kids visibly relax on waiting for x thing to happen. The flow is quite magical.

Anonymous said...

I tend to wait for these kind of days to just magically appear... which is very rare. This is something I am going to start to do!!!
Rebecca :)

Leigh said...

What an great idea. I suppose that's how we use Sunday, as a day of rest and leisure. I agree people need a break and these are excellent ways to do it.

Heather said...

Hi Rebecca, I hope you find that you enjoy X days as much as I do. I do still tend to do some tidying but even that I do with more appreciation because I've chosen to take the time to do it, KWIM?

And yes, "fully committing to the day" ( I like the way you've put that) makes all the difference, which for me means no answering the phone or even being bothered by its ringing - it just gets turned right off. Dare I admit that I often "forget" to turn it back on. ;-)

Heather said...

Hi Nikki, now that you say it I think that makes the difference here too - we all know we're at home with no outside commitments and we all completely relax into it. It really is wonderful.

Heather said...

Hi Rebecca, I used to do that too - wait for them to magically appear and it really was very rare. Too rare. Our days would pass in a blur with the boys getting bigger and bigger before my eyes. I really wanted to do something to just Pause things you know? I think it is a solution that works for us for now. I'd prefer to do as Thoreau did -
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

but I just don't see that happening to that extent anytime soon. ;-)

Heather said...

Yes, that's a good point, Leigh. I like to try to take Sundays as a day of leisure too, I think it is a great idea to have a weekly sabbath no matter what a person's religious belief.

Anonymous said...

Wow. We have a very hectic schedule, and even when we do have a day at home, we are usually catching up on school. We'll have to talk about this one.