- Clean house
- Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables
- Floss (don’t tell my dentist)
- Put in two hours on the bike trainer doing sweaty intervals
- Take Younger Daughter to her two performances in Charlotte’s Web
- Pick Younger Daughter up from her two performances in Charlotte’s Web
- Update the Web site for Bike to Work Spokane to reflect this year’s plans and send a bunch of organizing emails to committee members
- Update my Quicken connection to my credit union account and balance my checkbook
- Ride my bike in the sunshine to Spokane Yoga Shala, where I made it through 90 minutes of a really sweaty yoga session alongside my friend Betsy
- Bake whole wheat/oatmeal bread
- Read some entertaining blog posts (thanks, FADKOG, for the usual laugh-out-loud experience) and some that contributed to my professional knowledge (a link you will follow only if you’re interested in higher ed use of Facebook and Twitter), and make extensive use of the “mark all as read” option in Google Reader so I could feel all caught up
- Make the vegetarian tacos my daughters requested for dinner
- Prepare a batch of Rice Krispies Treats—only to be honest, they are Generic Crispy Rice Treats—that my family has almost finished off within about 30 minutes of finding them
Without going all profound on you, I’ll just say that I have gotten far better at cutting myself some slack and not beating myself up over things undone than I was 20 or even 10 years ago.
I used to lie awake nights berating myself for all the things I hadn’t done that had been on the oh-god-can-it-really-be-this-long? to-do list that I kept both on paper and with some extras in a mental tally.
Extras like, “One of these days I really need to go through all those boxes of memory stuff, organize everything, set up some scrapbooks, write names and dates on all the photos, and create a lasting legacy of curatorial splendor for my children to ignore after I’m dead.”
Or, “It’s been far too long since I took all the books out of the shelves, dusted and polished the bookcases, and reorganized the books to figure out which ones I can put in a box in the car with every intention of trading them in at Auntie’s Bookstore sometime within the next six months so I can buy some more.”
Or, “The bathroom feels grungy. I need to do one of those deep-cleaning sessions where you start with the ceiling and work your way down. While I’m at it I’ll take everything out of the storage closet, pretend we’re moving, get rid of anything I wouldn’t pack if we really were moving, run to the store for some pretty containers to organize the cotton balls and Q-Tips, repair the broken bracelet that has been in a little container with tiny tiny beads and jewelry wire for the past six years, and turn some of those old T-shirts into eco-friendly grocery bags by following directions on the Martha Stewart web site.”
THAT kind of to-do list.
This went on until one sleepless night—out of desperation or inspiration, I don’t know which—I got up and took out my journal (which, at the time, I wrote in pretty faithfully every day or every other day; since then, it has become a victim of the slack-cutting I’m writing about here).
I initially intended to write a list of all the things that belonged on the to-do list, since I was lying awake worrying that I would forget some detail or other on some work project.
Instead—I wish I knew why because then I could write self-help books, make millions and retire to a life of yoga, coffee, cycling and naps—I wrote down everything I DID do that day. And I mean everything. I had cooked a healthy breakfast for my daughters. I had moved some projects along. I had made time to go exercise. And on and on.
I don’t know if this all fits the Bicycling Magazine Fit Chick’s definition of a balancing act, but I know what happiness tastes like—Generic Crispy Rice Treats.