pen & paper

I’m coming off a big week of feeling shitty and not knowing anything else to do about it but take better care of myself (which, as it turns out, IS the only thing to do about it) and am left, even as I put myself back together with loving kindness, feeling pretty overwhelmed.

This whole adventure in my head started when I began trying to push myself to do and be more than I already am and realized that I am already living right up against my edge (which, again–as it turns out, is exactly where to live if growth is the goal).  This new knowledge of the precariousness of my perch feels somewhat intimidating especially because I do want more than what I am experiencing right at this moment.  So, I decided that I needed to do an inventory.  The last time I did this it was glorious.  There was a spreadsheet, with categories, and color coding, and due dates, and sorts by priority rankings… ah… gorgeousness.  And when it was done, my life worked.

Tonight I tried to repeat it again.  I’m itching to start a new project, but want to do so carefully as not to go tumbling off the proverbial edge and I expected that an inventory and prioritization exercise would get me the information I needed to proceed safely.  If I could see how to shave off a few hours here or a task or two there I would feel confident moving forward.  I cleared the spreadsheet of the old tasks (victoriously, as they had all been completed) and began again.  Only this time I didn’t have anything to fit into the categories…  Last time I did this my mental list was bogged down with errands, financial management,  parenting, and health tasks.  So much so that I needed to make a category for love and spirit too.

Everything that’s on my mental list now is in the “work” category.  A book to write, a blog to promote, a bio to compose, a website to finesse, a brand identity to form, a workshop to build, and it goes on and on.

And then I thought, “now, this is different.”  And then asked “what do I do now?”

And the answer was “whatever you want.  just remember to take care of yourself first.”

And now instead of feeling overwhelmed, it all seems perfectly clear.  I don’t need a spreadsheet to help me manage any of these things.  The basics of my life are taken care of: I set reminders and calendar appointments for myself that keep food in the fridge and clean clothes in the drawers, my bills are paid, and my emails are read and filed… I’m not actually overwhelmed by my life.  My life works–well.

do this.  do anything else.

do this. be able to do anything else.

So I have a new to-do list.  And this one isn’t going to ding! when it needs my attention.  I wrote it down with pen on paper and am going to fold it up and tuck it in my bra (because I usually wear dresses and few have pockets) and look at it several times a day until the reminders on it become as natural as the other systems I’ve designed to manage my life.

Because once I can do these things… I can do anything.

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