Tap, tap, tap.
It’s six AM on a Saturday, and my 4-year old is tapping on my forehead.
“Daddy, it’s Friday o’clock. It’s time to wake up.”
I grumble and open one eye at him. “Friday isn’t a number, Sprout. Time has to be a number.”
He thinks about this and says, “Dad, it’s Saturday o’clock.” Which is closer to correct.
I pull the sheet over my head. He climbs up on the bed and jumps on me. Why? Because he’s awake, the sun is coming up, and he’s ready to start his day of watching cartoons, eating fruit, drinking chocolate milk, running around in the yard, tormenting his little sister, chasing the cats, coloring on the walls, and all the other things he has to do. His schedule is a giant blank slate, but he runs from one thing to the next like he’s trying to stretch out time by moving close to the speed of light.
Seriously. He runs everywhere. To the kitchen. To the bathroom. Up the stairs to his room. To the car. After the dog. In circles around the coffee table. Everywhere. And, to shamelessly reminisce upon my post from a couple weeks ago, he does nothing halfway. With every task, every diversion, he throws himself into it like … well, like a 4-year-old hurling himself into a bouncy house.
He’s that kid that adults see and think, I wish I had that kind of energy. Imagine what we could get done! But the fact is, we do have that kind of energy, we’ve just forgotten how to channel it. We work at jobs that wear us out physically or mentally or emotionally or all of the above. We come home from those jobs tired, wanting nothing more than to collapse on the couch and watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or whatever Netflix show is binge-worthy this week. And it’s all we can do to haul ourselves into bed a few hours later to steal a few hours of blessed sleep before it’s time to do it all again. We don’t have energy because our momentum sucks.
We watch TV because it’s that time of day. We heave ourselves out of bed after hitting the snooze button three times because we can’t put it off any longer.
Meanwhile, my son has seemingly endless reserves of energy because he’s always moving. He doesn’t rest because he just got done coloring or because he just wants to sit down for a minute after a hard day. He rests because he has to. He’ll run fifteen laps around the playground, then come to me and say, “daddy, I’m tired, I need to take a break.” And he does. For about two minutes. Then he’s up and running for the slides again. In fact, I can hardly ever capture a decent picture of him because he is always in motion.
He has an urgency to everything he does that I wish I could recreate. He does everything in his life like he knows it won’t last forever.
And we can too, if we let ourselves.
We come home and watch TV for hours because our momentum sucks. We drag ass and sleep in and laze around on the weekend because we feel like we need the rest to muster ourselves for another week at work. But that’s only true if we view the movement, the activity, the doing of things as an obstacle in our day.
But these things are not the obstacles in our day. They are the stuff of the day itself. They are the stuff of life. Your job. Playing with the kids. Going to the store. Cleaning the house. This is life. And if it wears us out, well, okay, maybe that’s what happens. But energy is transformative. The more you spend, the more you seem to have.
It’s why I feel like I can get more done on a day when I run than on a day when I don’t. It’s why I feel like I need to write for an hour after I push through grading a whole stack of papers. The days I feel like I can’t get anything done are the days where I just never got started and can’t break out of the funk of the negative momentum.
So, back to my son tapping on my forehead.
Six AM on a Saturday. I’d rather be sleeping. But I’m coming downstairs. Making him breakfast. Taking time out to write a little bit while he chases the cats around.
And now, I think I’m going to go chase him around the yard a little bit.
You know, fill up the tank a little.
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.