I haven’t been here much this summer—“here” being on my blog. At the beginning of the summer, I looked at my calendar and saw all these open spaces and thought “Oh, I can get so much done this summer!” One of the things on The List was writing several blogs a month, maybe even having a few in reserve for the fall.
I’m not sure how, but here we are at the end of July, with August knocking on the door. School begins soon. School sports and band camps have begun. The fair is just around the corner. I’m at the place where I should already be knee-deep in planning things for the fall. Somehow, I didn’t get to everything on The List. Again.
I’m sure this happens to all of us. We have these ambitious plans, often predicated on the idea that we are going to have all this free time because (pick one) a) it’s summer; b) the kids have finally moved out; c) I’m retired; d) the calendar has lots of blank squares. But it doesn’t happen quite the way we think and sometimes we just can’t figure out how that’s so—how the time got away from us. And then we feel guilty or disappointed in ourselves. Or at least I do.
For me, I think this stems from an often-unrecognized belief that my value lies in how much I get done. The more I accomplish, the more valuable I feel. The less I accomplish, the less valuable I feel. Sometimes, I am just too tired to finish The List and then I feel guilty because not everything got checked off. When I do get The List done, I usually feel vindicated and worthy. Even though I know it’s not healthy to measure my worth by the things that I do, I think it’s a way of thinking to which we are all prone.
But I think I’ve learned something valuable in the past few years that make this way of thinking a little less stressful and less self-critical.
I make The List shorter.
I’m more likely to accomplish the things on The List if there are fewer entries. If I can have the satisfaction of checking off all the things on The List, then I won’t feel guilty because other things didn’t get checked off. It’s a bit of a cheat, perhaps, but it’s working for me.
I had a short list for this summer. The blog was one of three things. I’ve accomplished the other two—or am in the process of doing so. The blog didn’t get checked off The List. I’ve decided I’ll just transfer it to the fall List.
In the meantime, I’ll try to feel satisfied that I got two things done. To quote the famous poet Meatloaf: Two out of three ain’t bad.