Last night, for the first time ever, I took my daughter to a friends birthday party and I went home and left her there for a little over three hours.
When her friend's mum uttered the wonderful words "oh you can just leave them here if you want some childcare, you know," about five parents, replied in quick succession, "OK, byeee!"
For a parent, three hours without kids is like gold-dust.
Now, it's not like I've not had time without my daughter, but this was the first time my husband and I had had an evening to ourselves pretty much since she was born, over 5 years ago.
It was the first time I got to make and eat a meal in peace. It was also the first time I realised the real burden having a small person around places on us as a couple, especially at the time of the evening routine. We enjoyed a spicy meal, made ice-cream and could talk without being interrupted. I could peruse Amazon for some birthday presents - one of which was for the aforementioned friends birthday 🤦♀️ (it was last minute, OK!) - without feeling like I was ignoring a certain small person.
I reminded myself of the fact I actually enjoy cooking a nice meal in the evening.
I also got to spend an hour with my knowledge, in Obsidian of all places. For some strange reason, in this moment of calm, I felt the need to open an app which I had not touched for a good few months.
I forgot how much I enjoyed tweaking, exploring and watching others' methods of fine-tuning what works for them. As I achieved nothing, I relished in the exploration, of looking for the thing that would click and result in a new way of working.
I did not find it, but I did find my love of just playing about with a system that will never be complete, no matter how much I want it to be.
I was reminded of the feeling Obsidian left me with when I first started using it around 14 months ago. Switching to Capacities, whilst a wonderful app, has brought with it a new sense of knowledge municipality.
It's the difference between being a specialist and a generalist.
I was reminded of how I used to spend days sorting through stamps, just to find the one in a pile of 100's which was ever so slightly different; the one I was missing from the otherwise complete page. To the untrained eye, it looked the same as the rest, but to my specialist collection, it was gold. And it was probably one that was elusive and expensive should I wish to buy it instead. There was no option but to spend hours sifting through piles of stamps.
But those moments of time searching for something which I usually never found, were no less exciting and enjoyable.
I think as adults, we need to remind ourselves we are allowed to play with our 'productivity' and knowledge systems. We are allowed to spend hours repeating the same thing over and over again, tweaking it as we go, finding out what works and what doesn't. That's how we learnt things as kids, all those years ago, when we got to go out to those birthday parties and we were the ones away from our parents for the first time.
The joy was felt as both a 5 year old kid and as a parent - three hours of freedom to play and explore our own worlds.
And so the message I would like to give you this week is to remind yourself about what it is you really enjoy about learning, about acquiring knowledge, about reading, or whatever hobby it is you put aside a while ago.
Allow yourself time to wander aimlessly, because as the saying goes, "not all who wonder are lost".