To look at my life from the outside, it probably doesn’t seem that busy. She works, but what else does she do? Well, you’re right. I don’t need a message center in my house to keep track of my scheduled activities and social events. In fact, to be honest with you, at this point in my life I dread scheduled activities and social events. My junior high, high school, and college lives were nothing but school, activities, traveling, and hanging out with friends. And I loved every minute of it at the time. Maybe it’s a bit of “been there, done that”.
More likely, it’s the personality I was born with. I have never in my life had a problem with boredom. As an only child I developed a great imagination and ability to entertain myself. My mom played with me and I played with the neighborhood kids, but if no else was around I could flip through my mental Rolodex of things to do and off I went by myself, happy as could be.
Don’t get me wrong. I love connecting with people. To me that’s the beauty of the internet. You can connect with people on everybody’s own time frame. I write an email on my lunch hour. You read it at your kid’s baseball practice. I write a blog post in my pajamas in the middle of the night. You read it while you’re cooking dinner. You write a blog post in a different city, in a different time zone and I read it while you’re sleeping. We’ve all connected, you got to cook your family’s dinner, I got to work on an art project and we’re all happy. We’re all happy and doing the things we each enjoy. Which brings me to…
REALIZATION ONE: I have a LOT of interests and things I enjoy doing!
Maybe I do need that message center after all. To keep track of everything in my massively overly-scheduled, overly-committed head. Seriously, if you all only knew how many thoughts/ideas/things to remember were flying through my head at any one time.
Some of them utilitarian. (is the laundry ready to switch over…the water bill is due…put toothpaste on the shopping list)
Some of them creative. (I should write a blog post about the kitchen redo…but not until I finish the art project…oh! the art project, I never made a decision on…)
Some of them related to my “thirst for knowledge”. (oh, that documentary is on PBS tonight…oh, I wanted to look up how to build a headboard like the one in that magazine…oh, and I forgot to look up the ingredients for that chocolate chip muffin recipe I’ll probably never make) (Funny note: My mom and I used to joke about our shared habit of staying up too late looking stuff up on the internet. One of us would typically say, “Yeah, last night I was practically tripping over myself trying to get to the knowledge.”)
Some of them story related. (I feel like watching a Bette Davis movie…oh, I still want to read that new post on (fill in name of any of a large number of blogs/web sites here)…oooh, a new book in the Bess Crawford mystery series is out in paperback…wait, that cover looks familiar…did I already buy this?)
The outcome of this river of thoughts flowing through my brain?
Utilitarian: Notes plastered all over my house to remind me to pay bills, buy toothpaste, and not leave laundry in the washing machine all week.
Knowledge: The headboard ideas and muffin recipes are bookmarked. The PBS documentary is recorded, but not watched, because I happened upon a different documentary on PBS Saturday morning and couldn’t help getting sucked in to that for two hours.
Stories: I have stacks and stacks of movies and magazines and books I never make time to enjoy. Literally, just in the stack of books on the shelf at the foot of my bed, I count 13 books. Three I’m somewhere in the middle of and ten I haven’t even touched. (I had purchased the latest Bess Crawford mystery, by the way. It was in a different stack.)
Creative: I went in circles so many times deciding what to write about I almost didn’t write at all this week.
REALIZATION TWO: Six hours is a finite amount of time.
Weeknights I get home from work around 6:00pm. If I go to bed at midnight, that is six hours. Six hours to be split between the “have to dos” and the “want to dos”. Even on weekends, if I sleep ten hours a night, which is what I would love to do, to make up for the six hours I sleep on weeknights, that leaves…what? 28 hours? Also a finite amount of time.
It is mathematically impossible for me to do all the things I would love to do each day. No wonder I never get to bed on time. I’m always trying to fit in just one more thing. Which leads me back to the most elusive item on my Every Day Eight list – Simplify.
This is so hard for me to do. But, I’m going to try. Again. I want to do fewer things and enjoy them more. Unfortunately that means putting some things on a waiting list and letting some things go completely. It also means learning that pursuing excellence is worthwhile, but perfectionism is a waste of time. (But that’s a WHOLE different post for me to struggle with.) Ironically, I have several ideas floating around in my head for how to accomplish this simplification. We’ll see what I decide.
My mind has always been a dichotomy. Part of me is as 21st century modern as the next girl, with my gadgets and my multitasking, and my love of the endless fount of information that is the web. The rest of me, the old school part of me, yearns for life to be simple. To lay down to read a book and actually just READ the book. To get absorbed in the characters and the story like I used to, without simultaneously making a mental to do list or wondering if I shouldn’t really be doing something else instead. To do one thing at a time and not have eight other things clamoring for my energy and attention. That can be hard to do in this day and age. But, I think old school me is getting desperate. If modern me doesn’t slow it down a notch and rethink her priorities, old school me is liable to do something drastic like unplug the gadgets for an entire day. I don’t think modern me could stand that, so I better start the mediation now.
A Note About This Post:
I was tired Saturday night, so at 12:30am all my screens were off, the house was quiet, and I was in bed trying to get to sleep. However, writer me would not allow it. Writer me had to get this blog post out of my head. Modern me suggested flipping open my laptop or even grabbing my phone. Thankfully, old school me cried, “Counterproductive!” and insisted on good old, tried and true, pen and paper. That’s right, this post was originally written entirely in longhand. Written with a pen I love (I have a slight obsession with writing instruments and paper), full of drawn lines and arrows, and crossed out words. Half of it barely legible, I was writing so fast to get my thoughts on the paper before they flew right out of my head. Written in the middle of the night and the middle of the quiet. How satisfying. Thank you old school me. And thank you writer me for waking me up.