I am a girl with one or three too many things on her plate. Nah, that’s not the right metaphor. It’s really more like I am a girl making her way across a sea of responsibilities, hopes and dreams, projects, parenting, dilemmas, and opportunities.
Some days, like today, the swells are high and threaten to swamp my little ship.
Because I have been working way to much and way too hard lately, have been struggling health-wise–never quite getting over that cold, and because my one resolution for 2012 was to have more down time, I had planned to take the day off, with my son whose preschool was closed for President’s Day, and putter around. His little room has been needing some attention and it seemed like a good time to do a little shopping, a little organizing, and a lot of playing.
You can tell, of course, that I don’t shop often. I had no idea that IKEA would be a mob scene at 9:30 on a Monday morning. I had thought that we would go, have a little breakfast and AJ would gleefully play in their ‘ball pit’ (his term) while I picked up a couple of things and we’d be home before noon, having done the week’s grocery shopping as well. I’d get his room organized and then do some work while he napped.
I had no idea that they serve breakfast for free on Monday mornings and, given the holiday, entire families would be lined up to snag this deal. But we hadn’t eaten and had nothing else to do so we stood in line and got our complimentary 99 cent portion of eggs and potatoes. Seriously. Several hundred people spent about a half hour in line waiting for what they likely wouldn’t choose to pay under a dollar for the rest of the time.
But I digress. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get home until 2 in the afternoon and were both fried from the over-stimulation of the crowds and florescent lighting. By this time, I was pretty stressed.
Among the extra bits on my plate this week is a photo book that was meant to be done by someone else but that needs to be final by the end of this week (to be printed for events in March) so, if it’s going to happen, I am going to do it. I am actually excited about doing it but it will require a certain amount of focus and today was meant to be a day I could do that. As our day wore on, about fifteen other things that I really need to do tomorrow also cropped up in my mind.
The swell built, each wave of anxiety topping the one before. How should I lay the book out? What if I can’t get the fonts right? When will I go through my rolodex and personally invite people to that event? When will I make sure my health insurance went through? Can’t forget to sort out the emergency contact card and extra booster seat for AJ’s new babysitter. How am I going to double my practice as I need to? I couldn’t think of what to do next or how to do it. I became short with AJ. I realized that this day off was feeling pretty out of control.
So, I changed tactics.
Shutting out the fear inspired by storm in my head, I focused on one thing. I put together the small IKEA shelf/bin thingy I had picked up for AJ’s room (only having to take apart and re-do it in two places), sorted through his toys, and put it all back together. This took the rest of the day and evening, with AJ watching that penguin surfing movie yet another time while I soldiered on. But, rather than becoming more anxious about everything else I wasn’t doing, I became more calm. Like meditation, the focus of sorting and cleaning and purging and organizing allowed the rest of my mind to clear.
After a while, I noticed little breezes of ideas flitting through here and there. By the time AJ finally went to bed, my plan of action (and there will be action!) for tomorrow was clear and in place.
And, while I can’t say that all of it will get done, what is done will be done with more grace and clarity than it would have had I not taken the afternoon to ride out my storm.