As spring approaches with its longer days and more time to “do things,” I get a little anxious. What happened to my list of things to do this winter when I looked forward to cozy days writing in my office or sewing or knitting or reading or…? Eeek! Didn’t finish a thing. And now it feels like time to start again, doing…something.
I like the idea of Lent as a time of contemplation. True confession: I’m ashamed to say I was glad to spend time in the hospital when my son was four because other people were taking care of me. Oy! Somebody needed what we now call “self-care.”
I need another to-do list like I need a headache. No, no, no. Where did this need to ‘accomplish’ come from? Catholic school? Unapproachable parents? Too many tips and techniques on the internet?
The other day, I came across something I wrote four years ago:
“I stopped reading a book I hated, for a book club whose members I couldn’t relate to. It wasn’t worth my time, but I don’t like to leave anything unfinished.
I have a half-done quilt on my sewing machine, wrinkled clothes on the ironing board, and a Christmas tablecloth with stains I haven’t managed to remove. And then there are all the short stories and essays in progress on my computer. It’s hard, but somethings got to go, and it won’t be the writing.
I’ve dropped so much in my life: freshman organic chem, friends who moved away. I’ve let go of big projects: trying to make my mother be feminist, trying to keep raising my kids after they’d grown.
It’s okay. If we hold on to everything we start, our lives would be a spaghetti-ball mess we could never untangle. Life is about choices.”
For this new season, what can I quit in the middle of, knowing full well that “enough is enough,” that forcing myself to complete something no longer important is just a waste of my precious time? Time I could use for things that matter. Time for discovery and renewal.
For two weeks this month, I’m going to let go of it all except the writing. I’m taking myself to a place that’s sunny and warm and far from home. I’ll be alone for a few days, with a bunch of writers for a few more, then alone again before I fly home. I will contemplate and walk and write. And hopefully, come home refreshed and renewed. Wish me luck.
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