cat-napJULY IS THE month when we Americans celebrate freedom. I’m grateful for my many levels of freedom, both as a U.S. citizen, as well as a human being; however, sometimes I find my biggest obstacle to personal freedom is myself. It’s interesting how many limitations I place on my day-to-day activities and thoughts.

As usual, cats have got this one covered.

My cats are blessed to live in a loving home with humans who offer them plenty of love and lots of independence. When they want to play, they have plenty of space to romp. When they feel sleepy, they stretch out in a sun-puddle. When they want a treat, we usually give in to their snacky-mouths. They really live a pretty charmed life compared to some cats who are still looking for their forever homes.

Like my cats, I am tremendously blessed with independence. I recently transitioned into freelance writing full-time, so I mostly create my own schedule. I have lots of dietary choices and can pretty much decide when I want to go to sleep and when my body feels ready to wake up in the morning.

Even with all those freedoms, I manage to limit myself on a daily basis. I’m not talking about limitations that are healthy, like not eating tons of sugar or watching hours of TV. I’m referring to simple limitations like, “I really shouldn’t take a nap ’cause I’ll just get behind on my deadlines.” I think this thought, even though my brain feels foggy and my creativity is next to nil. When I do allow myself to indulge in a short snooze, I find I’m way more productive and meet my deadlines much more effortlessly. Isn’t it funny, knowing that, and I still create these rules that infringe upon my freedom to nap? Cats would never do that.

I sometimes do the same thing with regard to leisure activities. For example, I’m writing this article on a Sunday. My rules say I have another article to write after that. It’s due sometime tomorrow, so I could let it go and spend this rainy day watching movies with my kids and cats or reading a book. Honestly, I’m still wrestling with that choice even as I type these words. Maybe I’ll allow myself to start the article and then finish it tomorrow. That’s a little bit of freedom, right? Hey, baby steps are OK! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

As a self-described overachiever, the freedom to allow myself flexibility within structure has been something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I’ve definitely gotten better at embracing freedom, especially now that I have a more bendable schedule. And my cats constantly remind me that I could take more breaks and enjoy each delicious moment of the day. In fact, they are huge fans of any additional lazy naptime they can score with me.

So this July, and every month of the year, I’ll celebrate my freedom and try to be as flexible as a cat — time-wise, that is. The physical flexibility will require way more yoga practice!

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