I spend almost all day Monday through Friday making decisions. For myself, yes, but mostly for other people. It’s part of my job. I’m granted a lot of freedom. Choices. And the autonomy to make them. All of which I’m very grateful for.
But sometimes tired too. By the time the end of the work day or the weekend rolls along, it’s a challenge to make even one more decision. I’m decision weary.
Should I stay late or go in early? Home or gym? Cook or order in? News or Netflix? More often than I care to admit, my book gathers dust on my bedside table while I choose to scroll Instagram. A choice and decision I almost always regret.
Maybe my want-tos are all tangled up with my should-dos. Too many choices can overwhelm. And often there’s others to consider. What would he want? What choice would they make?
Sometimes decisions are mutually exclusive, and I want them both. Or both choices are necessary and pressing so I need them both. Sometimes I simply can’t make up my mind.
I want this and that. When and where is there room for both? For both and instead of either or?
I think the answer is: as often as possible.
More often than not these days, I’m compromising between wants and needs, work and play, and all of the shoulds, musts, and coulds. It’s thoughtful decision making at the end of the day. Tired or not, it’s finding room for a little bit of this and that.
The passage of time is predictable, of course, as are most of the ways I use my allotment. There’s a rhythm to my schedule and a routine. Some days, you’ll hear me complain about how little time I have. A common theme. It’s difficult to finagle a few minutes to do what I love, to be the friend I want to be, or finally get around to what I’ve been meaning to get done for weeks.
Come to find out: the time’s been there all along. I just needed to find it.
This week, I found time to:
walk with a friend
chat with my sister
photograph an amazing sunrise
sit in a bit of solitude
pack healthy lunches
listen (closely and carefully and completely)
run an unplanned errand (without stress)
moisturize my skin (not once, but twice)
enjoy a meaningful conversation – unhurried
soak in a hot bath
read – right there at my desk – in the middle of the day
And full. Purposeful. Mindful. Meaningful. Grateful.
I’ve felt powerful: building my physical strength and stamina. Resourceful: planning relevant experiences for my students. Sorrowful: remembering the first anniversary of my mother’s passing. And, of course, hopeful: beginning each and every day this month filling the pages of my journal with gratitude, guidance, goals, and hope for grace.
I’ve lived faithfully: honoring my commitment to #the100dayproject with at least a photograph a day – – showing up at the gym more days in January than not – – devoting time and effort to my health, diet, and overall well being.
There’s been wistful days, joyful days, and stressful days. More ups than downs, thankfully. A few trips and falls, painfully. Many new insights, realizations, and emotional turn-abouts, helpfully.
In other words, life’s been plentiful. And I’m taking one more deep, full breath of January and the fresh, clean air of a new year.
I think it’s true: the more you write, the more you write.
Writer’s write. It’s habit. It’s pen in hand. Laptop open. It’s simply showing up. The words, I’m discovering, will take care of themselves. It’s work, of course. Equal parts determination and devotion. Sometimes, delight. But mostly, it’s a decision.
So, I write.
I’ve been writing every morning. Journaling mostly. Lists. Notes. Phrases. Quotes. Ideas. Seeds.
As a child naturally seeks boundaries in order to feel safe enough to grow beyond them, so does the structure of my morning page first fence me in and then free me to roam beyond.
Ideas arrive, much to my surprise. Pages fill. I think bookish thoughts.
My notebook travels everywhere I do. Sometimes the words arrive in the spaces between. The space between leaving for work and arriving. There’s space too, after writing what I want to say in which I sometimes discover what I need to say.
I am not the sum of my words, but the subtraction of them. I take away what I mean to say from the entirety of what I wrote, so what’s left is what’s necessary, real, and true. Somewhere in all those words is my tiny moment of knowing.
And sometimes, simply sitting with stillness and silence feels just right. There’s faith the words will come, because the habit of writing proves this to be true.
After a rough walk-around count, we’ve just about 70 hide-aways in our home. Places where we tuck away the often used, useful, and very nearly used-up. Out of sight and out of mind, these drawers, doors, cupboards, and closets stash our stuff: the flotsam and jetsam, the random, and miscellaneous.
And December seems like as good a time as any to poke my head into each and every nook or cranny to take stock of what we’ve collected. I can knock off a quick drawer or two or even three each day of the month so come January the first – we’ve whittled away the unnecessary and organized whatever’s left. Closets and cupboards take longer, of course, but totally do-able in this long season of indoors.
Refrigerator door shelves need an annual purge of expired dressings, marinades, and forgotten vegetable stock. Medicine shelves need review too. Socks need sorting. Supplies need updating. In the process, the forgotten will be found and the accumulated reduced to the required.
Odds and ends. Bits and bobs. Remnants and paraphernalia. Pieces of our shared lives stored here, there, and often forgotten altogether. Each room, each drawer, closet, and cupboard with its own purpose, stuff, and substance. I’ll be going day by day, room by room, drawer by drawer, and item by item. A fun little focus for a dark, cold month.
Stepped out the back door with my camera yesterday afternoon, seeking a moment or two in the last of the light. Feeding my soul, I’m learning, needn’t wait. If I’ve a bit of opportunity, an open few minutes, that’s exactly the right time to take the time. Life will wait, the light won’t.
Time travel: soul searching, to soul feeding, to soul filling.
This morning, I’m living like it’s a Saturday instead of the Wednesday of a very busy week. I’m living like I’ve got all the time in the world and Sunday to spare.
If I’m living a Saturday sort of Wednesday, tasks typically saved for a Saturday morning feel just as do-able on a Wednesday before work. I can start tonight’s dinner, change the sheets, and tidy up some of the things that are down. There’s no stress on a Saturday sort of Wednesday – in fact, it’s a little comforting to set things to right. Some sort of mid-week coziness and delight in the ordinary. A momentary stay against busy.
There’s a sense of leisure on a Saturday sort of Wednesday. The realization that work can wait. That work almost always gets the best and most of me. That sometimes … sometimes … I want to give the rest of my life a turn. Make room for the writer, maybe. Show up for the part of me that feels better – feels best – when life slows to a Saturday sort of pace.
The difference lies, I think, in the decision making. In the perspective taking. In the understanding that I am in charge of my own life and how I choose, or need, to live it.
I know Wednesday’s really only a few minutes and a shower away. Just now though, I’m enjoying another cup of coffee — like it’s a Saturday.
I love to cook for you too, of course, but baking is how I’ll love you by the dozen. How I’ll thank you. Honor you. Welcome you. Or encourage you.
Cookies mostly. These for friends. Family. Church. These are especially to thank our custodian at school; they’re his favorites. And in the fall? Crisps.Cobblers. And by frequent request: pumpkin whoopie pies. (Let me tell you: nothing says love like the thick, whipped cream cheese frosting stuffed between those moist pumpkin pies.)
There’s love in a firmly packed cup of brown sugar, a leveled cup of flour, and some very special vanilla. I’m thinking about you with every spin of my spoon around the bowl, every slow pour of molasses, every sift and shake of confectioner’s sugar. Today my love smelled like freshly ground nutmeg. A first for me, and maybe for you too.
I hope you feel the full measure of my love coming from the warmth of my kitchen.