Learning How to Do Nothing (Yet)

I am a decision maker and a doer.

I don’t always get the job done well, but it is done.

Well, until I have to go back and redo it because, come to find out, doing a job pretty much right but not exactly often means having to fix things later.

I am still learning this lesson at 32 years old. I know. It’s kind of embarrassing, but mostly I’m proud that I am finally developing the patience needed to slow down and do it right.

Sometimes doing the right thing means doing nothing for a little bit.

When I was working on making my dress tunic at Lisa’s house, I struggled with figuring out how to attach the collar to the bodice. Then, at about 10 o’clock at night, we realized that I had cut the fabric the wrong size and there was no way I was getting that garment onto my body, even if I did manage to create a finished neckline.

I considered just finishing it and living with a shirt that didn’t fit me.

Maybe I could lose weight, or find someone to give it to.

I wanted so badly to be done.

Lisa suggested I go to bed and come back to it in the morning.

I didn’t want to go to bed. I wanted to do. I couldn’t stand the idea of walking away, even for a little bit. But then I remembered the whole point of the Life List is to have experiences that enrich my life, not to check things off an arbitrary list of my own making. I wanted to wear something I’d made. I wanted to get it right.

I went to bed, and the next day I came back refreshed and ready to start over. Today I have a beautiful tunic in my closet. I wear it with pride and remember the fun I had making it with my beloved girlfriend. It’s a symbol to me of perseverance and patience.

Now I am faced with a major decision and I am desperately trying not to settle.

Where will we live next?

I thought I had it all figured out.

I have always wanted to live in a city. I imagine running my daily errands on foot rather than by car. I fantasize about apartment living and neighborhood festivals. Whenever I visit a city, I long to plug into the power grid that I can feel pulsing all around me. Jared and I spent a good chunk of our 10-month road trip deciding where we’d settle when the trip was over (once we figured out that, yes, we did want to be at least a little settled somewhere.)

We fell in love.

We picked.

We decided.

And then we went home to Florida and realized we were already settled somewhere.

Just driving across the state line made me feel more relaxed. I felt comfortable in our friends’ home. I drove through my old neighborhood, past our old house, and I cried for the security we’d given up. I loved that house. There was never a day that I didn’t love that house, even when I decided that we had to give it up to have more.

I wanted it all back. I wanted to be home, to be safe, to be plugged into what I already knew. I wanted to reclaim the life we’d spent four years building for ourselves after leaving another home in another town.

That town in Iowa feels strange to us now. It’s filled with memories, but it isn’t our place anymore.  Choosing yet another place would mean turning yet another home into an old, disconnected memory. The only way to get that city life–a life that may only exist in my imagination–is to let go of the feeling of belonging I already have in Florida.

On top of all that, there are dozens of other unknown variables in the mix, questions about things like money. These questions won’t have answers for several weeks yet. It’s a little difficult to choose a home when you don’t yet know how you’ll be paying the rent.

I am willing myself not to decide right now, not to do. We have a little bit of time before we have to make anything permanent, and I’m trying to relax. I am breathing, thinking, and trying to open myself up to wisdom and affirmation.

I hate the uncertainty of not deciding, but I am trying to be patient.

I am practicing the art of doing nothing.

Thus far, I am sucking at it.

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  1. Allyson says:

    Florida misses you, too. If you knew how many times over the past 10 months I thought to make the two-hour drive to visit you and your family, and then remembered that you wouldn’t be at the other end of two hours… well, you’d probably think I was a stalker, and ask me to stop visiting your site.

  2. Hockeymandad says:

    You know I’m only saying this because we love you guys…

    Our neighborhood has festivals(I think you came to one once) all the time. Plus gatherings and family nights, movies under the stars, and parades. We also have that power grid, it’s about 2 miles away and you can see it from some angles. So when a nasty storm knocks out electricity, if ours goes out it’s the first grid back online. Our school is also #5 in the state and they recently won a global competition in science. The school is truly amazing and I am envious I didn’t get to go there. You can walk to the grocery store and our restaurants, but most prefer a nice bike ride. We have a great sense of community in my neck of the woods, even if it does look a little Stepford. ;) Also, we are regularly bathed in Florida sunshine.

    I’m just sayin’…

    My advice for you guys would be to choose a place that allows you to easily get to the other places you may need to be on short notice. Our location provides the luxury of being able to go anywhere at almost any time with many options to do so. It’s not something we often take advantage of, but it’s one less hassle when we need to, and it doesn’t make me fee so far away from the part of my family I rarely get to see.

  3. i can’t comment right now because i don’t want to sway you with how perfect i know squirrel hill, in the heart of pittsburgh, is for you.
    for now i will just say that your heart will always long for something it doesn’t have. if you have your ocean within walking distance you will want lower rent in a vibrant city. if you have three rivers and many parks almost the size of central park, you will long for the ocean. if you have 50 friends you will long for 150 more around the country. if you have a beautiful mcmansion you will long for an apartment in a diversified area. if you have that apartment you will long for a rice field in cambodia. longing for what else is out there is a part of you. a beautiful part. but i have a feeling it will always be there, my friend.
    hello haha narf’s most recent post: Couldn’t Post This on the First

    • Miss Britt says:

      You are so, so right. I’ve thought of this comment lots over the last few days and I feel like it helps me know myself better.

      So thank you. For seeing me.

  4. Megan says:

    I think Ms. Becky is right.
    Megan’s most recent post: Manifesto

  5. the muskrat says:

    I’m pretty sure I’d be certifiably depressed or insane if in your shoes right now, so you seem to be doing great!
    the muskrat’s most recent post: a muskrat in maryland!

    • Miss Britt says:

      Yeah… I’m trying to picture you living in your in-law’s with no plan and, well, it’s kind of hysterical, actually. :-)

  6. Lisa says:

    Florida is known and comfortable and easy, an maybe that appeals right now when you have so much unknown. Pittsburgh is unknown and you don’t have a comfort zone there yet, and so it’s intimidating. Sort of like when you first moved to Florida.
    Lisa’s most recent post: Who Finally Published a Life List?

  7. Transitions are hard. I’m sure you will figure it out.
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Follow Friday #1

  8. Darla says:

    Isn’t it interesting that what we all think we want is endless possibilities until we have it, then we just want to know what to do next. It’s like some oxymoron.

  9. naomi says:

    I suck at doing nothing too! Like, REALLY suck.

    Here’s a cheers to figuring out what the next days on the calendar will hold for both of us!
    naomi’s most recent post: HORN PLEASE

  10. Liz says:

    I hate waiting. I always want to know what’s going to happen. I feel restless until I have an action plan. I’m learning how to do nothing, too, and it isn’t easy. *hugs*
    Liz’s most recent post: SADE ON THE WALL an ABNA 2012 Quarterfinalist

  11. Marta says:

    Patience is a virtue I definitely do not have. At all. I always want things done now. Which is hard because most things don’t provide instant gratification and if you give up before you get there, than you never get there. Its hard to find a place to live because your options are seemingly endless, there are so many states, and cities, and neighborhoods and houses to choose from. I know you’ll find the right place!
    Marta’s most recent post: Biopsy.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Me neither. It’s more like a skill I have to practice over and over again, like – I don’t know, like some other hard skill. :-)

  12. Christina says:

    Wise words from Becky. Very wise words. I know because that is me. I am constantly hearbroken for the place I am not at for the moment – torn apart between my favorite places (means – LOVED by heart) in Germany, Croatia and USA mostly. I try to balance it as much as I can (hello frequent flyer cards). And I am considering to change the set up of this balanced system at the moment because one of the heartbreaks is getting bigger and life is ready for a change anyway. But lots of things need to be considered and priorities set – it is a difficult process.

    BTW … Squirrel Hill sounds like a perfect plan to me, but … that is just me … and Becky ;)
    Christina’s most recent post: Crossing the line – in- and outside of my comfort zone

    • Miss Britt says:

      Oh man, yes. You SO get it. Darn us and our ability to fall in love with so many people and places!

  13. martymankins says:

    Taking time to relax and not rushing a permanent decision of where to relocate to is a good thing. Reba and I have been talking about relocating and while my heart wishes to return to my home state (Calif), there’s a lot of thought- mostly financial – that needs to be worked out before we make any serious decisions.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Music Monday: “Murder By Numbers”

    • Miss Britt says:

      Your home state is awfully pretty. And this whole “taking time” thing? It’s kind of new territory for me.

  14. Mariza says:

    We are still in Florida. We are enjoying it so much and can’t leave. Florida is great!
    Mariza’s most recent post: Very Green Smoothie

  15. [...] change in medication, combined with a couple weeks of just letting things sit, brought about the peace and clarity Jared and I needed to make the decision about what comes next [...]

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