No Rest for the Artist

The other day, my daughter came to spend some time with us after a particularly grueling semester of college. “Mom,” she said to me. “I’m just letting you know, for the first few days I’m home, all I’m going to do is sleep, read, and watch Netflix.” And that is exactly what she did. She recharged her batteries before undertaking an equally busy summer schedule, and I so admired her for it.

I have a hard time giving myself permission to “do nothing.” Now, if I’m on vacation, that’s one thing. That’s allowed. But just to take a day off when I could be/should be working, that’s another thing altogether.

There are days I sit at my desk and accomplish very little because I’m burned out or tired, but I make myself sit there anyway. It’s silly. I get nothing productive done, but I feel guilty if I take a nap in the middle of the day or head outside to read a book. Most days, I don’t give myself permission to “turn off” until 10:00 at night. How crazy is that? 

Maybe I have some sort of hang-up about how artists are viewed. I’m keenly aware that many people think artists are “loafers” who just sit around “playing at art” all day. Maybe I think I need to prove how professional I am by working the same hours my husband works in his corporate job. Maybe I worry that if I took an afternoon off to watch TV, it might become a habit.

Regardless of why I push myself so hard, the fact is, we all need a break sometimes. And maybe changing up the routine now and again frees the mind to think differently. Summer is approaching, so this would be a good time to see what happens if I give my imagination a little room to roam, if I give my mind a chance to unwind, if I give my body the opportunity to rest.

Sometimes, the child teaches the parent.

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