Catching up, in my life, usually involves rushing around in twelve directions at once, working my way through lists of projects, chores, aspirations and dreams. On any given day (that is not already committed with meetings, appointments and work at the hardware store), I’ll sit, over my morning coffee, with a mental menu of possibilities.
Shall I give the house a really thorough cleaning, to make it easier to start on the rest of the list tomorrow? Or perhaps I should jump right in to any number of other tasks, that would only mess up a clean house, anyway. Or, I could say to hell with household agendas for now, and concentrate on the studio, where at least a hundred new or “in-progress” undertakings await.
I could sit here at the computer, and continue working my way through my writing “assignments,” so that I have a few blog posts written ahead. That would help to prevent me from missing a scheduled post, as I did last Sunday. Or, I could make bread, and get a pot of soup simmering on the stove. Or concentrate on my badly neglected exercise program…or even just take a long walk. Or a long bath…with a good book.
Too often, by the time I run through all possibilities, offering judgement (“too lazy” “self-indulgent” “already so far behind…”) on each choice, I am pulled in so many directions, it’s almost impossible to act. I do one of two things: I run, like a madwoman, through the house, trying to do everything simultaneously…or I do nothing. Because it’s all too overwhelming.
I asked a question the other day, in my morning journal writing:
“Why am I always so disappointed in myself?”
I’ve been thinking about it. Why do I constantly feel that I’m falling short? I’m working my way through a third self-help book since the first of the year. Why this never-ending struggle for improvement? Whose standards am I basing my judgement on? And should I just go easier on myself?
My response has been to try to relax my expectations. To slow down a little. Just to see if that makes a difference, not only in what gets done, but in whether those tasks become more enjoyable activities. There is a quote from the Talmud that I love:
“Life is so short, we must move very slowly.”
Good advice! So, right now for me, it’s one thing at a time, and no disaster will be called if something doesn’t get finished. And I’ll see how that goes.