When I was a kid, summer meant, by definition, lots and lots of unstructured time. Mornings were lazy, days unfolded in unexpected and unplanned ways. Time stretched on seemingly forever.

In contrast, I have found being “grown up” means lots of planning and tracking and doing. Family, work, friends, volunteer commitments, self-care – the lists go on and on. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy my life – but there is a lot to do!

Sometime last year, it dawned on me I wasn’t getting that summer feeling of expansive, unfettered time very often. On vacation, yes (my idea of a good vacation is a cabin, a bunch of books and a jigsaw puzzle). But that was it.

So I decided to gift myself one day month with no plans, no agendas, no chores, no nothing. The only self-imposed “rule” for the entire day was I would only do what I wanted, when I wanted, if I wanted.

I have to admit, it was a bit hard at first. There was a part of my brain that kept thinking about what I wasn’t doing that needed to get done. But, more interestingly, I found I actually wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, given the choice of doing – or not doing – whatever I wanted. Sheesh, I was a long way from that kid during summer!

Over this past year, I have gotten more in touch with what I want to do on my “K Days.” And, mostly what I want to do is not much. Having a spacious day of staring off into space, reading, pondering – it is like having a mini-vacation.

And, yes, I get the total irony of planning for unstructured time – hardly spontaneous. But given my nature, it wouldn’t be happening otherwise.

If you are a planner/do-er type, you might want to consider trying this out. We all need a balance/counter-balance of structure and open space.

Kirstin Lindquist, L.Ac.

Photo:  “Bikes on the Block” by Anne White – https://flic.kr/p/61djPa

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