To do or not to do? That is the question.
No, I am not on Facebook all day, which I suppose would be the equivalent of sitting on the couch eating bon-bons in the old days. Monday through Friday, I drive Cole to and from school, (45 minutes each way) check five or six campers in and out of camp and take care of their needs. My house is clean and tidy, and most of the time we have clean clothes. We seldom live out of a laundry basket. I make my bed. I answer about fifty emails every day between my various businesses. I don’t owe anyone a thank-you note. Bills and paperwork are more or less up-to-date, and I drive a clean car.
And yet … my pictures are not organized, my Ireland trip needs planning and enthusiasm, taxes … well, can we just not talk about taxes? We need a new pooper-scooper, crates need replacing, and the cleaning lady said we were out of Pine-Sol for the second week in a row. My pups need pawdicures. Light bulbs need replacing and windows need cleaning. I must call Jimmy, my carpet cleaner, and Dr. Charlie to schedule dentist appointments.
Lately, I have trouble starting and trouble finishing. So I have fallen into “to-do default.” I would rather do laundry than paperwork, so I do laundry to avoid paperwork. I would rather answer email than return phone calls, so I answer emails to avoid phone calls. I peel old Scotch tape off the ceiling to avoid heading out to the grocery store. I do what needs to be done, but everything I leave undone eats away at my energy. Every time I walk by a task that needs attention, I have the thought, “I need to do that,” or “Why haven’t I done that?” and a little bit of energy is slurped away. After a while, getting a manicure becomes hard work.
Joe used to ask me, “Why do you only notice what needs to be done?” I would answer somewhat along the lines of, “Well, duh!” He would also suggest I show more gratitude for what we had accomplished. You have to admire a man who can make that suggestion to a woman who had to open the toilet top and re-adjust the thingy that made it flush for nine months.
However, now as the sole adult to-doer, I realize blaming Joe for never doing enough made life easier for me. I could use my energy to make him bad and wrong, which helped create energy for me to get busy and do it myself, damn it! The added bonus was I could complain to my mother and friends about how much I did and how little HE did. Making someone else wrong may not be a healthy motivator, but it is a powerful one.
These days, my to-do list is long and my energy is low. Some of you, I know, would say, “For God’s sake, just leave the bed unmade!” However, I will never take that chance. Others of you would suggest hiring people. Hired people hate me. They just do. I don’t know why. I could whine. But if a woman whines in her house and there is nobody around to hear it, does it even count? Probably not.
As I considered all the things I did not want to do this week, I did have a few insights … small insights … very small insights. I realized that my to-do list is a process and not an ending. Let’s be frank, when everything is checked off the list, more than likely we have checked out of this lifetime. Joe’s honey-do list is done, although I can still feel him shudder when I pick up a hammer.
I could also look at my to-do list as a choice and not a chore. That is a little like suggesting to myself that I eat an apple when I want a candy bar, but it is an option.
Speaking of apples, my small insights propelled me towards the kitchen for a bowl of Lucky Charms. They are magically delicious, you know. I flipped the kitchen light switch on and the light bulb popped. I looked up, paused and then smiled. The light bulb may need to be replaced but I knew the light was still there. I felt enlightened.
Naturally, I am just dying to know, what kind of cereal do you like?