Thursday, January 29, 2015

to-do's or not to-do's?

(actor portrayal of me sick -- not actually me)

I've been sick for four days. I keep thinking every day I'll wake up well but every day I'm the same. I thought it was strep but it's just a sinus infection that has gotten me good this time.

If I'm being totally honest, I will admit that I bring these things upon myself by not sleeping enough and letting myself be stressed too often. I do good not letting the world see I'm stressed but I have a lot of internal stress. I lie awake going over my to-do list and some of it is comprised of things that only I would know if they never got done. Late at night, I mentally tick off my to-do list and wonder how I'll ever accomplish it all.

Last Friday, after a glorious morning of sleeping in, I was pouring myself a glass of juice when I asked myself, "Would I enjoy life more if nothing were waiting to be done?"

I stood and pondered that for a while and considered the alternative. To-do's or not to-do's? In other words, what would my life look like without a long list of to-do's?

There would still be laundry and dishes, of course, but then what would I do with the rest of the day? If I didn't have a job, I couldn't go anywhere, buy anything, eat out or have fun so that would mean days of staying home which would lead to a lot of TV watching and I do enough of that already. There would likely be more time spent with my daughter, playing games, walking on the could be a lovely life, but at the end of the day, what would I have truly accomplished that made me feel alive?

Somewhere deep inside me there is a need to feel like I'm really doing something with my life. I want to inspire people, make people laugh, create beautiful things, build a life that I'm proud of and happy with....I want vibrance. Just existing and living the same life every day isn't enough for me. I want to make something of my life. Sometimes I wish I didn't. Like now, when I'm sick and the laundry is piling up, the floors are full of crumbs, my e-mail inbox is full of people waiting for a response, there are projects to make, pictures to take, places to go, packages to mail, and more. I just tell myself, "You will be well soon and it will all be okay." You know why? Because quitting is not an option for me.

2015 is going to be the year I become fully in control of my income and make my life about accomplishing my goals, not just talking about them. I want to live up to my full potential. Right now, I'm trying to make too many people happy and it's making me unhappy. It will take time but I will get there and be completely in charge of my day and my life: I have big plans. I feel a sense of urgency this year, like "it's now or never."

Every moment I'm too sick to get off the couch is just making me want to be better so I can attack the day and make it happen. I'm trying to learn something from four days of being too sick to move. What can I learn? What can I learn? (I'm asking myself this. I normally ask my husband these questions and this is where he gives me a big "you are super talented, you can do this" pep talk that keeps me going for another few months.)

I think the big lesson might be that if I could choose to sit around and do nothing all day, I would not choose it. I've been forced to this week and I haven't liked it so the next time I find myself wishing I could sit around and do nothing, I need to think back to this time when I had no choice and realize that life is best lived when I'm being productive. I am my happiest ticking off a to-do list.

Now if I could just find a way to chug along and be content knowing that my to-do list will likely never be done and not let it stress me internally. If I can do that, I'll be truly successful this year and for always. I've been reading about focusing on the process instead of the end goal and I'll be sharing more about that when I feel I've made a shift in my thought process.

What about you...would you be happier with nothing to do?


Unknown said...

I've had the same internal conversation with myself. Having a day here and there to be lazy is a good thing but I would not want that to be my life all the time. I am also happier when I'm being productive and very frustrated when I feel I haven't accomplished anything. I think of you as a very productive and successful person! Keep it up!

Jen Schow said...

I just love you. Wise words. I think I need something to do in life to make me happy. Some days I wish I didn't have to have a regular job, but even if I didn't, I think I would have to find a way to do something fulfilling from home that would satisfy my need to contribute to society. I, like you, have one child and get so much joy and fulfillment from raising her. BUT I would need more. :)

LCSmithSAVED said...

Thanks for sharing. New to your blog from JB :~)
I retired last June, so my days are much less demanding & structured by outside things. I have a strict rule - no tv during the day as it is definitely a rabbit hole. My last 6 months at work were spent clearing out 30 years worth of office stuff, so I purposed to go home & do the same. So far, so good, with the month of December willingly lost to holiday making. I am not a particularly organized person but have at least one personal goal each day, plus the honey-do list my DH manages to think up (grrr). He will retire in May, so that should prove interesting! At this stage of the game, life moves at a more naturally rhythmic pace. Perhaps you can find what that is for you at your stage of life & attempt to match it stride for stride. xo