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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Done for the Week: The Frailty of My Powers

Twenty-one years ago, my middle child was born in the early hours of Valentine's Day.  And into a complicated family structure that has meant multiple celebrations.

Add to that our culture's Valentine's Day hype and promotion, which lays on a host of rituals and expectations, from personally addressed cards for the classmates of each of our children to blissful romantic rendezvous with our mates.  Stir in a little perfectionism, a pinch of über-mothering, a spouse's long-distance commute, and an abundance of sugar (what with all the cakes, and the chocolate), and . . . voila!  My February crazies.

Of course, now that he's 21, and his brother is not far behind, we are not preparing 20+ Valentines each, or sending birthday treats to school.  My son bought donuts himself for his new workmates.  But it was a special birthday, requiring a bit more than the usual fuss, and entailing a rite of passage or two that invited parental "guidance." 

In between icing cakes and hosting parties, I tried to get a few things done.  Here's the list:

Done for the Week:  Feb. 13-Feb. 19, 2012

  1. Biked twice; swam once with my workout partner
  2. Finally chased down diagnosis of foot injury (not wonderful, but not fatal)
  3. Got my husband and one son to the gym with me
  4. Watched two basketball games with various family members
  5. Continued reading Elizabeth George's A Place of Hiding aloud with my husband
  6. Read Death of an Expert Witness by P.D. James
  7. Continued reading Proust's Remembrance of Things Past
  8. Continued to work my two part-time jobs
  9. Continued participating in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo
  10. Published 7 blog posts
  11. Continued work on current clients' projects
  12. Met with my adbook successor
  13. Met with new communication team's members
  14. Attended one yoga class
  15. Did laundry 
  16. Celebrated son's twenty-first birthday, at 3 separate family gatherings/outings 
  17. Continued college conversations with youngest son
  18. Meditated 2 times
  19. Straightened my work room
  20. Attended board meeting
  21. Took my dog to the dog park
  22. Gave my husband minor assistance with taxes
  23. Celebrated Valentine's Day with my husband, in the background of Valentine's Day birthday observance
As in the previous two weeks, my most important accomplishment last week was continuing to participate in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), which required posting a blog entry each day.  In the relative ease with which I am managing to stay with this undertaking, I am rediscovering how much I love blogging, and how much time I can make for writing when I commit to it.  When I am truly into it, it is the kind of work that doesn't feel like work.  I am learning something here.

Last week's focus goal was to try to meditate most days first thing in the morning.  Number of mornings on which I meditated?  One.  And that's using the word "meditate" loosely, to include some nearly pre-conscious, and all too brief focus on breathing.  My grade in this area?  F-

I don't think it's that I don't want to meditate.  In fact, at times I long for it.  Just never when I could actually be doing it.  

I've decided to move the book Willpower, by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, to the top of my book pile, since 

1.  Daniel Gilbert--of Harvard, the PBS series This Emotional Life, and the book Stumbling on Happiness says it is
sinfully delicious . . . .[and a] fascinating account of the exciting new science of self-control, told by the scientist who made it happen and the journalist who made it news.

2.  Regular meditation is supposed to grow my willpower/self-control/discipline, and I can't make myself do this first thing.

Reading Willpower is my focus goal for this week.  Since reading is one of the things I do instead of meditating, this one should be a slam dunk.  And after weeks of dismal focus results, I am in desperate need of a win.

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