Saturday, November 5, 2011

Busyness and Disorder

As soon as we cleared Halloween, the busyness descended. A party here, a dance there, an appointment, two, three. A workshop, a potluck, a cookout, an obligation and responsibility, two, three, more. And then we'll travel. How much time is there left to breathe?

So I whittle a few things away. I go late to the dance so that I can cook dinner. I skip a party to I can put the long-neglected house to rights and still have enough energy left over to support a friend. I hang the new curtains and fix the chair and throw out old shoes that are cluttering up the place.

The little girl goes to the park with her father, and I take an hour to rip through her room, thinning out Summer or outgrown clothing, and sorting the discards for donation or sale. The piles of unused junk recede considerably - yes! I wash the dishes, start another load of laundry, pick up windblown branches in the yard, take out another load of trash/recycling/donations. I can't think with the household lying about disordered.

I need my social time, of course, but an embarrassment of riches is sometimes overwhelming. I need time to breathe and pick up the inevitable debris left from our passing. Recycle that box, wash that crock, plant that flat of pansies, write that bill, write that post. Sleep.

I frequently remind myself to not let busyness get in the way of taking care of business. Meet a friend for lunch, yes, then don't forget to prep for dinner. Chat with friends on Fac3b00k, and don't forget to talk to your spouse!

Perhaps I am still an introvert at heart. Or perhaps I still allow myself to get caught up in social (or antisocial) distractions to the detriment of my everyday life. Or perhaps I need to reaffirm my "vows" to Flylady to do my daily and weekly tasks despite my distractability.

And what is the point to this post, eh? Well, I'm writing daily this month, and I'm getting my writing done between ripping through my daughter's outworn gear and putting in another load of laundry before makingdinnerchangingclothesleavingforevent before I teachSundayschoolmakelunchbeforetheconcert. Somewhere in there I'll start working on the projects that are due before I leave for family visits. Cue off-screen scream.

* * * * * *

My spouse tells me one should not feel bad about not doing everything. "Own the decision!" he tells me. If you are confident it's the right decision for you (to not undertake xy and z so that you can take care of other things), you will be less likely to waste energy bemoaning the reality of what you really need or want to do. Drop the self-imposed guilt! You deserve to take care of yourself.

Then there is the other-imposed guilt from various insistent requests and demands. Which often leads to another thing I am bad at: saying "no" to other people's expectations. Yes, I did make the decision to pass on that social event. No, I can't help you with that project. I'm sorry to not see you, but I need to take care of some other things. No, that really won't work for me.

The least I can do for myself is to drop the imagined list of demands from other people that augment the actual obligations I've signed on for. One way or another, I know I can't do it all, nor do I want to. Repeat after me please: No, I can't do that. Sorry, no. Uh-uh. No. Or to quote one of my cousins, Don't equivocate. Just say "I don't want that." I say "no" to that so I can say "yes" to this. Yes to family dinners with home-cooked food. Yes to dancing and writing. Yes to real letters and conversation. Yes to exercise and good food. Yes to recharging my energy. Yes to taking time to think and sleep.

Is this going to be one of those posts where I worry about offending people? Repeat after me again: I can't do it all. Sorry, that's not going to work for me right now. Nuh-uh. No.

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