Getting Things Done

 

How can I sit and write a blog post when there is so much to do?

In any given moment, I feel a pull to be productive and creative at the same time.  I want to pamper myself (mostly, because this is what older, more experienced woman are telling me to do) but I also want to organize. Should I do a load of laundry or work on my collage? Should I journal or rearrange my kitchen pantry? Or maybe I should put my feet up…is it considered relaxing if I make a list at the same time?

So much to do!

I hear this clock ticking in the distance. The age of doing things on my own time is coming to a close–things like having lunch with friends, replying to emails, or scrubbing the shower doors. I want to make the most of this time and get stuff done, while savoring the last days of childless freedom. The pressure to do both is paralyzing. So maybe I should just watch another episode of Orange is the New Black

But in the end, it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not, if I’ve dropped off those trash bags full of stuff at Goodwill or if I’ve had that full-body massage. This baby will come when he’s ready, not when I’m ready. And life will have to wait. Mani-pedis and organized closets will just have to wait.

Take a deep breath and sigh it out.

That’s the sweet sound of acquiescence.

 

Evelyn Underhill

 

 

When I was a teacher there was always a point each afternoon (or evening) when I’d have to send myself home. I could have stayed all night organizing, planning, prepping, and so on. The list was never ending. The point at which I would give in and go home was prompted by a setting sun, hunger, or noticing that my car was the last one left in the parking lot. It was never determined by a completed to-do list.

As I racked up years of teaching experience, I learned how to stop and when to stop. Once I got it, my life exponentially improved. I had time for yoga and Pilates. I took up hiking and went for long walks along the LA River. I enrolled in a creative writing class, which eventually led me to grad school. I had more time for friends and the occasional weeknight out.

All kinds of wonderful things filled my life once I learned how to stop. I come back to this lesson now because the feeling of desperation as I rush to check things off an ever-expanding list is familiar. If I don’t make myself stop, I’ll miss the most beautiful thing of all–life.

So, in the midst of all this push and pull to do.  I took a detour.  My daily walk (I get to check that off the list too) took me to an unexpected lunch for one where I soaked up the bliss of being alone.  I think that’s what it’s all about, having a list–because lists are really useful–but being flexible enough to put the list away when the opportunity to live presents itself.

And here’s a little secret: the opportunity to live is always presenting itself. You just have to know when to stop and see it.

Not only is this lesson important now, but it will be crucial in two months when I feel I’ve recovered enough to try my hand at Supermom. No matter how many things I check off my list, there will always be more. Check one, add one. Life happens when you put lists aside and just live, with or without that mani-pedi.

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