To Do or Not to Do?

I have a moment to breathe… and I don’t know quite what to do with it.

It’s been a busy week.  It started when I flew south to a special two day event for admitted students and their families at the college my son wants to attend.  When I returned home, I left my suitcase half unpacked on the floor as I scrambled to put the finishing touches on four outreach events in two states– which is part of my work for an international nonprofit– and later to drive the head of the organization to each of those events through the wind and rain and cold.  I drove my kids’ carpools, met with my youngest’s teacher, read and critiqued the next chapters of novels written by members of my writing group, helped my girls pack and head off to Maine for spring vacation, and bought candy for my neighborhood’s annual Easter egg hunt.  And that really is only a partial accounting of the things that were on my “to do” list. 

Late this afternoon following my last meeting of the day at work, I spent an hour driving up and down Commonwealth Avenue trying to figure out how to cross through town in the midst of the Boston Marathon so I could return my rental car before the agency closed.  I had planned to use some of that hour to get to the gym and squeeze in some time in the weight room.  Instead, when I finally managed to turn over the keys, I decided to go home and make a big bowl of popcorn.

I know I’m off balance; I’ve lost my equilibrium.  When I do too much, my “to do” list only seems to grow.  I get impatient, I get anxious, I don’t know how to stop.  Even when all I need to do is just stop, I start thinking about other things I can do to get myself to slow down.  “How ’bout yoga?” I ask myself and I start looking at the schedule at the yoga studio located two bus rides away.  Or maybe I should stay home and unpack or clean house or water the plants or pay my bills or attend to at least one of those things that I haven’t been able to do because I’ve been too busy doing something else? Then I’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment and it will be easy to stop.  Or maybe I need to distract myself.  Read a book.  Call a friend.  Go see a movie?  And on and on.

The popcorn was good.  So are the fresh green buds swelling on the maple tree outside my  bedroom window.  The longer I sit here, the closer I get to forgiving myself for not doing anything.  It’s that damn yankee work ethic…

Maybe if I lie down and close my eyes.  Just for a minute…


About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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