Readers, I’m just back from a quick trip to Memphis (for the second time ever) and Oxford, Mississippi (for the first). I’d always wanted to see Oxford for myself, but debated whether or not to take the time to pop down while I was nearby. As I hemmed and hawed about it, I thought frequently about this reader-inspired post, which first ran four years ago. I hope you enjoy it today, again or for the first time.
Years ago, a commenter (Hi, Jolene!) left a thought-provoking entry about priorities and time management on a very old post about practicing self care on a daily basis.
She wrote: “Someone once told me that women should do two things every day they love, one thing every week they treasure, and one bigger thing every month they will never forget. Because we’re worth the effort.”
I like Jolene’s idea. Since I read that comment, I’ve been mentally tabulating the things I do that I love, that I treasure, that I’ll never forget.
I’m pretty good at self care these days, and many things that are already in my routine could fall under the “things I love” category, and I usually do two of them daily.
I have a hard time distinguishing “things I love” from “things I treasure.” I’ve been playing around with it, and right now my “things I love” list looks like:
• Reading a good book with a cup of coffee
• Arranging flowers for my kitchen table
• Reading stories with my kids
• Taking a peaceful walk
• Picking vegetables in the garden
• Volunteering at church or for a local organization
Right now, “things I treasure” looks like this:
• A happy family walk or bike ride
• Browsing the library stacks or bookstore shelves
• A big family hike in the woods
• Having a glass of wine at the kitchen table with Will after the kids go to bed
• Coffee dates
• Girls’ night out
• Getting a massage (which doesn’t feel big enough to belong in the “treasure” category, except I’m so grateful for not just the time on the table, but the huge difference it makes in my well being for weeks)
• Making dinner with the kids (when everyone’s in a good mood and eager to help, that is)
• Getting together with other couples or families for meals or adventures
• Going out to eat with the kids. They’re old enough to enjoy this now, and for Will and me to enjoy eating out with them
• Talking Crazy Talk with Will or an old friend
This is what I’ve come up with for those “bigger things I’ll never forget”:
• Go to a play or show
• Have a big family get-together
• Go on an outing with a good friend
• Go on an outing with the family
• A very intentional date night
• Take a big trip—New York, Chicago, Europe
• Visit a museum or cultural institution (note: not all of these make the “never forget” category!)
• Properly celebrate a birthday, anniversary, promotion, or achievement
When compiling these lists, I noticed how fluid the categories are: many perfectly everyday moments (a walk through the woods right by our house, an ordinary play date with friends, a glass of wine at the kitchen table) become big moments in my history—the kind I’ll never forget. And many of the glam and glitzy moments are fun—I love being there—but don’t quite rank as unforgettable.
Ironically, Will and I have been talking the last month (yep, late at night at the kitchen table, after the kids go to bed) about being intentional about making categories 2 and 3 (even though we didn’t frame it as such at the time) happen more often in our family life, specifically booking weekends away and pencilling a local “Sunday adventure” into our family calendar.
Making a list like this is valuable (and I’m looking forward to your ideas so I can grow my own), but the real magic is in actually scheduling these things and carrying them out. They don’t have to be planned far ahead, they don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to happen. I’m a great dreamer; now I’m working on the concrete plans to follow through.
Wish me luck and send me reminders: I need them.
What things do you love and treasure? What falls in your unforgettable category? How do you make sure you follow through on your good intentions? Share your ideas and tips in comments.
P.S. That top photo is from my swoon-worthy Mississippi hotel, Graduate Oxford. Look close and check out all those books at the bar!