As many of you know, this past Christmas/New Year my mum visited London to see me for the first time since I moved here. Before she arrived, I had a long list of wonderful London things I wanted us to do. Visiting Paris and Madrid was also on the agenda. Mum had never been to Europe and I was set on giving her the best time possible, which meant having a packed itinerary for three full weeks.
A couple of days in I realised that though she appreciated my efforts, she was just excited to see me.
She didn’t care about getting stuff done. The holiday was about us spending time together after almost five years apart. To her, it was about rich conversation and laughter and fun. It was about connection. It was about relaxation. After all, it was a holiday for both of us. She was eager to see the city I call home but what mattered is that she was doing it with me.
One day I was frustrated that we hadn’t been able to do all the things I had planned. And mum said “Don’t be disappointed, we’ve had such great conversation!”
On the days that we shared our hearts and swapped stories of what we had missed in each others lives, mum was satisfied with our day. She was happy. So I put my agendas and to-do list aside and gave her what she really wanted; my full attention.
That experience made it glaringly obvious how task orientated I am. How I am a slave to my never-ending To-Do list that is never quite satisfied. That I don’t feel satisfied with my day unless I’ve got loads of things done. That I don’t feel good enough or worthy enough unless I’ve ticked boxes.
Meanwhile, people everywhere just want to be connected with. Talked with. Listened to. Noticed. Loved. And obviously, I want those things too. But I won’t get them and neither will the people in my life if I don’t make time for them. If I don’t let people interrupt my to-do list then I’m missing out and so are they.
This past weekend I had a long list of things to do that I didn’t tick off completely. However, I spent time with people that are special to me and it felt good. I felt topped up and I can only hope they did too. I need people. My to-do list will never be able to do what my friends and family can.
Tasks can wait, people can’t. Or maybe they can, but I won’t make them.