Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, May 24, 2010

Done for the Week: Learning to Exhale

Last week was busier than I wanted it to be.  Most of the things that took me away from some planned relaxation time were happy events and opportunities, and most involved my immediate family members.  I probably need to make an effort to find and designate a few sacrosanct hours that I will yield only to emergencies (or "emergency" trips to Paris).  

The gift, and the burden of my largely self-determined schedule is its flexibility.  "Stay-at-home" moms have experienced the situation of having little respected, unassailable time.  And now that so many of us have become "working-from-home" moms, with other enterprises added to the responsibilities of motherhood, it is even more challenging.  But I am learning that the person I have the most difficulty with, the least likely to take my schedule seriously, is me.  This interacts with my seemingly congenital poor sense of time to compromise needful self-care, and desired accomplishment.  I continue to work on making more mindful decisions about unanticipated requests and invitations.  

Despite interruptions, and in some cases because of them, here's what I got done last week.

Done List--Week of May 17-23
  1. Began Sprint Triathlon training--completed Week 1 of 11-week program
  2. Finished The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters; Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, translated by Ronald Knox
  3. Took my blood pressure daily
  4. Attended one meeting
  5. Published 5 blog posts
  6. Meditated 5 times
  7. Continued cleanup effort, in small steps
  8. Had wonderful coffee date with friend I hadn't seen in 17 years--"power catch-up," and reconnection
  9. Helped my husband purchase and put up new bird feeder
  10. Went out for two Happy Hour dates with my husband (just for the extra practice)
  11. Wrote 6 Gratitude Journal entries
  12. Wrote 4 Morning Pages
  13. Phoned my Mom
  14. Attended friends' boat re-naming/birthday celebration
  15. Continued efforts to launch teenaged son; worked (with moderate success) on not nagging and not rescuing (target launch date, June 14)
  16. Supported other teenaged son with school and job issues; applauded his progress
  17. Had fruitful therapy session, accompanied by my husband
  18. Survived four days as "single parent," with my husband out of town
Last week's focus goal was to continue the cleanup effort begun the previous week.  I attempted, with some success, to add to each day's efforts--to keep up with dishes, laundry, picking up, and making my bed (since Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project promises it will make me happier)--two cleaning/straightening accomplishments from my backlog of uncompleted (and in some cases un-begun) chores.  This goal was lost in the shuffle of social and family involvements from Friday through Sunday.  Prior to that, I managed to recover two separate sections of kitchen counter space; clean out my microwave; reclaim my half of our bathroom vanity; dust living room surfaces; and find the top of my dresser.  I am committing to this focus goal for at least the next week, since I expect that clearing the decks will enhance my mood, and prepare me to concentrate on more writing when my work hours change in a few weeks.

In determining the most important item on the list above, I am torn between all of the relationship building items (#s 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 17--and maybe 15 and 16), and the biggest leap, which is item #1.  Ultimately, I decided that the one that is most outside my previous frame of reference may be most significant for me right now.  I should note that I have committed to go as far with the triathlon training program as I can, and have not yet signed up for the event I am considering, which is scheduled for August 16.  For now, the biggest hurdle before me is to figure out how to breathe while swimming.

And, come to think of it, I also need to figure out how to breathe while parenting, working, relaxing, and stressing.  I suspect it shouldn't be this difficult.   

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