Family, Work

states of disrepair


The project to-do list for summer looms over my head like a guilty conscience; weighing me down.    When things are overwhelming, my first inclination is to resist; to put my head-in-the sand and procrastinate.  I will it to  go away!  Organize closets and dressers, donate clothes, clean garages, paint fences, create gardens.  When am I supposed to find the time to live the life I love amongst all this busy-work?

To love the life I live I need to define what that life is.

For the past two weeks I made a mental list.  When something triggered a reaction; good or bad, I took a picture of it to file away.  When I finally looked at the various photos I realized most of the things I took pictures of were delayed projects I DO NOT WANT TO DO!!!!


Each morning I step over the metal shavings near our side shop door.  I quickly pass through this area to reach the office.  Not my problem.


I stay in my office area to keep my mind distracted on things trivial. To avoid the mess of our outer reception area; piled with boxes and files unknown from the past twenty five years.  Not my mess or career choice.

I venture into my garage to find stacked boxes and items haphazardly thrown willy-nilly.  Our three car garage fits only one.    Out of sight, out of mind.


I close blinds and avoid our backyard; the overgrown weeds, the unplanted vegetable garden.  The dog claims this space as his very own.  There isn’t enough time to work on the inside, let alone outside.  I called the house warranty service to find out why my oven no longer works.  All things were broken.

disrepair: noun.  poor condition of a building or structure due to neglect.

But all of the above are fallacies.  Excuses.   Two weeks of cataloging our state of disrepair and disorganization found its way to break through the surface.  When my sons, calmly asked their father why their mother was jumping like a lunatic on our broken kitchen tile I did not hear his low answer.


The buckled floor finally gave, cracks emerging every which way to reveal the concrete foundation beneath.  Amidst grout dust I finally stood still, heaving and hot.  Before I knew it I had trudged upstairs; returning in an old swimsuit that has seen better days.

I needed to cool off.   The moon was not full.


Eventually I heard the hubs in our kitchen assessing the damage.  It was in the cold water in the deep end of our pool that he found me.  I told him to hand me a pool brush and for the next hour, proceeded to brush the algae off our pool walls.

There was no rhyme or reason to my erratic behavior, and as the sounds of the waterfall calmed me I reasoned that I had jumped into green algae water before.  Just last year, while camping with a huge group of people, we ventured into the green body of water that would give us respite.

Like the rigid, but hollow bamboo, I bent to a higher will.  The hot seasonal winds were blowing and igniting fires.  I needed to douse myself in cold water, like a cleansing, to strip the grime to rediscover what lay beneath.  Under the mess of tile laid a solid foundation to the walls that contain the life that I live.    The life I am to love.

I needed to lay claim to the spaces that are my own.  My home.  My work.  My life.

I finally did.  The project list was broken down to basics.  The biggest mental block to self motivate is to take the first step.  Each additional step falls into step, behind, as long as a destination is set.  You have to know what the end game is.  To have faith that you will get there.  It may not be today or ever.  But this is the journey that we walk in our lives.

Most times I envision the finished product and the day of rest when all is perfect in my utopia.  It is this vision that is broken; the one I must break down and simplify into its smallest components.  And I must teach myself to enjoy each step, each victory, one day-at-a-time.  My mind has been in a state of disrepair; but no longer.  My daily mantra has changed to three simple statements.

I must spend one hour doing something I DO NOT want to do.

An hour is ONLY sixty minutes. As I organize and box files at work, or closets and cupboards at home I am mindful of the slow passage of time.    But once a project is started, several hours seem to pass in a blink.

I can enjoy an hour of doing what I DESIRE. 

It can be mindless such as sitting around doing nothing.   Time spent with family and friends.  One of my hobbies I always push to the side is digital scrapbooking; the photo journals of my family.   The arrival of summer brought birthday tidings to my younger sons, born two days and three years apart.  They chose to not have large parties or special outings.  Their only desire; a family dinner with their favorite things.



The hours in-between are the things I need to get done. 

Laundry, Cooking.  Cleaning.  Work.  Exercise.   What I’ve discovered is that when I complete an hour of doing something I don’t enjoy, I quickly make work of the things I have to do to get to the things I desire.   I no longer procrastinate.  I just do it and get it done.   This leaves more time to do the things I desire.


I reminded myself of this, this morning, as I rolled myself out of bed.  I was groggy and tired.  The hardest obstacle is to roll out of the bed.  Once my feet hit the floor my mind is committed.  Most mornings when I walk or jog,  I cheerily look at the greenery and hear the sounds of birds.  Today I stared at the ground, methodically placing one foot in front of the other.  I made short goals to reach and gave myself permission to turn around.  But as I reached each goal I continued my trek and, at my half-way point, stood staring at the neighborhood pond above.   Just do it.  Get it done.  Today, my morning walk was the thing I did not want to do.  Throughout my day more of these moments creeped up.  But I’ve also learned this.  Once you do it, the first time, the additional unpleasant tasks become manageable.


The project list is shortening.  The oven is being repaired.  Three hours were spent weeding.  The areas of disrepair are getting organized.  The messy tool area of our shop isn’t overwhelming for the teen; hoping to earn money.  It is an opportunity to get things that he wants.  Today, lost upon his high school campus, he found our destination; asking directions from staff.  It is this that finally humbles me; the son that tackles the greasy grime and shavings methodically.   The son who uses his compass to find his way.  The end game isn’t the clean areas he is creating.  It is the soon-to-be man emerging beneath; finding his own path.  His foundation is solid.  This is what I desire.












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