Adulting: How About Giving Yourself a Curfew?
Give ourselves curfews? What a crazy thought. But I love it.
A perk of getting older is HAPPILY leaving behind those adolescent curfews usually set by parents or guardians; wasn't it like shedding a heavy, stuffy coat?
But now, even at 40, I’m realizing the benefits to bringing curfews back into my life (in a healthy way, of course).
A few months ago, I listened in on an interview with Lauren Paton. Lauren is a life coach in London who is incredibly passionate about helping others maintain a healthy mental state. She was a joy to listen to.
In the interview, Lauren said she had once found herself frequently checking and responding to emails, and it was too much (my paraphrase). So, to keep from working all hours, she gave herself a curfew and stopped engaging with email after a certain time (I think it was 7:00 at night).
If you are like me, you’ve heard of people limiting their work hours; it’s nothing really new. What stood out to me was her use of the word “curfew.” And I latched on to it. I even did a little digging and discovered more about its origins in a recent article from The Guardian:
“Curfew” is a contraction of the original French couvre-feu, meaning literally “cover the fire”. In medieval Europe, it was common for a bell to be rung at a certain hour in the evening (often eight o’clock) indicating that all fires must be covered or put out, in order to prevent domestic fires from accidentally burning down whole villages or towns.
I have never associated curfew with fire, but I love the connection. Like Lauren, we can use a curfew to limit certain activities – even fun ones – so we don’t accidentally burn ourselves with our lack of discipline.
No, we probably aren’t needing to cover up European house fires. But maybe we set a restriction on how long we watch Netflix at night. Maybe we give ourselves a time limit for online browsing. I’ve currently put a lunchtime curfew on my caffeine drinking, to help myself sleep better at night. (it’s been incredibly effective.)
Limiting how long we engage in a particular activity keeps us mindful and living with more intention. Bottom line: I believe such limits can be so good for us. Because, ironically, we can get “burnt out” on just about anything. No medieval fires necessary.