Upon awakening at 8:02 AM Saturday morning I flung open the curtains, switched the computer screen on, and promptly sat at my desk intending to clear the piles of paperwork surrounding it. My screensaver happens to be the empty beach of my childhood home and an hour later I found myself still absently staring into the screen; memories flooding me. After a trip to two bakeries I returned; hot green milk tea in-hand, ready to start the day.
And continued to sit; staring into space. Completely still. Doing absolutely nothing.
I stepped over shoes, clothes and Halloween costumes as I headed downstairs at 1 PM. The counter was cluttered with glasses and more paperwork and my teeth began to clench. I, unlike the rest of my household, cannot function with clutter and disarray. But instead of furiously grabbing things and cleaning I mindlessly sat on the couch. I was not motivated to do anything. Am I depressed? Hormonal? I asked the hubs aloud. Am I subconsciously on strike? Since the school year has begun I have lost any interest in cooking. Upon returning home from work I gaze into our refrigerator and find nothing to cook. After clearing my front flower bed it sits empty; my desire to garden gone. I’m amazed the flowers I transplanted continue to even grow. I realized I am doing the bare minimum required. What gives?
When given the choice of what I would do with a day free of schedules; I choose to do nothing.
Frustrated with myself, at 3 PM I began to fill hampers, the dishwasher. I grabbed my bucket of cleaning supplies. Until my house is in some semblance of order I cannot relax YET I continued to procrastinate. I watched the tail-end of my college football game and at its conclusion I moved the cleaning bucket upstairs. Only then, 8 hours later at 4 PM, did I begin to clean. What was preventing me from doing what I knew I had to do? Normally I could have had my house cleaned up within 3 hours. Instead, I chose not to.
My mind was paralyzed with the lists running through my head. The little mundane things that, if not done, begin to pile up and build. Halloween decorations that needed to be put away. Stacks of mail that should have been sorted, shredded and answered. Pictures on cameras that needed to be uploaded. Clothes that needed to be sorted and washed. Plants that needed to be watered. Groceries to fill my empty shelves. Yards to be maintained, particularly our very green pool. I have discovered that a full schedule makes me efficient with my time. Today my subconscious created downtime.
One of my girlfriends dislikes the Bruno Mars “Lazy Song” because it condones laziness. Much as I don’t want to do anything, I really desire to DO SOMETHING. Whether it be clearing off items from my email, my surrounding desk, shedding pounds, cleaning house or creating meals the reality of life is that YOU MUST DO WORK. The hubs constantly tells our middle son, the one most opposed to work, to strike it rich so he can hire people to do his bidding. But work need not be physical. Mental work, particularly in parenting, is taxing, stressful and time consuming. And so I sit wondering how to push through this molasses-like state. These to-do lists do not get done by themselves.
I think of several books that motivate me. Katrina Kenison’s Gift of an Ordinary Day would tell me to embrace the loads of laundry for these years of physical and mental work of parenting fly by way too fast. Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts reminds me to be grateful for the dishes in the sink, the dog hair on the couch. And Tony Horton’s Bring It! would do just that. “When you shift your mind to doing something (even when you don’t want to), you’ll be less likely to fall off…” ~ Tony Horton, Bring It! I must master the shifting from the lowest energy state to a highly kinetic (or really kinesthetic according to my multiple intelligences type) one.
And so, much as I do not want to, I drag my butt off of my chair and move my bucket closer to the bathroom. I flip on the stereo as I scrub; momentum building. It is not the doing that holds me back. It is the beginning…the act of starting a project; to stop the procrastinating. I concentrate on the immediate task before me; planting myself in the present. And when I do this the running lists dissipate, allowing me to feel the grit of the Comet beneath my sponge and gloved hand, seeing the gleaming shine of Windex’ed mirrors. It is this mindset that I must try to attain to push through my plateau; my complacency. I still have a mental block regarding cooking but I will get there. Before I knew it, my laundry baskets were full of sorted and folded clothes and dried, clean dishes sat in the dishwasher.
I am gracefully trying to accept the reality of my circumstances. After fighting my natural inclination to do nothing I realized that something beyond my control is creating this struggle. Every day I believe that I, alone, control my destiny. I can control the disorder in my household, my life. I can create the family and lifestyle I want with hard work. This is the American dream. In my every day it is I, asserting control, to make my life fit into a nice neatly wrapped box with a bright red bow.
But typhoons can tear through this Earth and create havoc out of orderliness. My “first world” concerns pale in comparison to other countries battling to keep their populations from dying due to AIDS epidemics, girls from being taken into trafficking or genital mutilation, feeding babies so they can survive another day. The ideal “perfect” life is fleeting. Hard work does not ensure health, wealth and happiness. This struggle is my internal battle to seek my happy place. But first, I must clear my headspace.
I have lit the hot buttered rum scented candle, Kindle in-hand. The champagne free flows as I savor the flan. Today I will embrace the freedom of choice to do what I want to do. Just do it.