It’s Monday morning. The week and my new to-do list has begun.
Check – I’m blogging. Check – I’m blogging and not still in my pajamas.
I love to make list. I love to mark things off and smile at my hard work — or sometimes not so hard work. I tend to put things on my list that don’t take a lot of effort so I can easily mark them off. Examples are watch Jeopardy, walk up or down the stairs ten times (with a brain like mine that one’s a given), get dressed, or my personal favorite - eat chocolate. The sweet taste is still on my tongue as I proudly check this off my list.
This morning, as I was running upstairs for the third time because I still didn’t have my sweater, I realized that we don’t live in a world made for ticking off boxes. Rarely do I have a day when everything goes as planned. People get in my way, work gets in my way and, frequently, my procrastinating self gets in my way.
It was on about my fifth trip up the stairs when I realized that my time was going to become my time when I was ready for it to be my time. Making a list doesn’t assure that I’ll carry out my tasks each day. I have to take action.
Let’s see, I can cut down on allowing people to get in my way. The truth is that most of the nonessential things I’m doing for others are things I choose to do for others. It was after one of my ‘rare’ whiny moments when my, so-much-smarter-than-her-mother, daughter brought this to my attention. She reminded me that she’s done her own laundry for a couple of years and she doesn’t ask me to do it while she’s home. Every time I do her laundry, it’s because I’ve volunteered to do it. Oh dear. That, of course, is an example of me getting in my way. Maybe I need to rethink the idea of other people getting in my way. This may happen less often than I imagine. And I could do a whole series of blogs with a psychiatrist on why I feel obliged to coddle my grown children. I, of course, blame my mom and, as a mom, that’s a scary thought.
Back to my list. Every list I’ve ever made has some listing about writing. Some days I accomplish this and some days I don’t. I want and need to write and writing a to-do list doesn’t count. Somehow the things I need the most in my life don’t always get checked off my list. I say things like, “I’ll write first thing tomorrow” or “I can do that while I’m doing laundry”. It never works that way.
Today’s revelation or ‘aha moment’, as Oprah says, is that I can’t do it all. I’m not one of those ‘super women’ whom we always suspect has a nanny or two in the closet at home or maybe a drinking problem in the closet. Surely no one can have a perfect house, a perfect job, perfect children, and still bake sixteen dozen cookies for the bake sale that she organized.
And with my ‘aha moment’ I realized I didn’t want to be that perfect person. I want to be me. I want to write and paint and take an occasional class. I want to enjoy a good book and a cup of tea everyday without feeling guilty.
I’ll still make list because, let’s face it, that’s just fun, but I’ll make sure the list isn’t completely cluttered with things I don’t enjoy. I’ll do what is required to maintain a clean environment but I’ll also maintain a closet to throw things in when company is coming. I’ll carve out time each week for work because that’s just not optional. But I’ll also spend time writing or painting or studying without distraction. This crucial tick box will move to the top of the to-do list, right above the chocolate box!