Guess what? I'm alone in my house. Alone! Well, Mia is here, but she is upstairs in bed, blessedly quiet. This is such a rare occurrence for me, and I am almost intoxicated with the freedom to sit on my couch alone with this computer and gather my thoughts. I never have time to gather my thoughts, which it occurs to me now, is maybe why I feel like I'm going a little crazy.
Sometimes I feel like there's a tornado in my head, this constant swirling cloud of thoughts and worries about all the millions of things that need to be done. The work obligations, the Spanish studying, the exercising, the meditating, the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the gardening, and on and on and on it spins. My way of dealing with it is to write endless To Do lists. There are lists on every scrap of paper in this house. They are shoved into my work bag, piled on the coffee table, stuck to the fridge. They are scrawled on the backs of receipts and those annoying cards cards that come in magazines. You know those tiny envelopes that come attached to a new shirt, they have a button inside? There is one in my nightstand drawer with a miniature To Do list on it. I do it in hopes of calming myself. To stretch a metaphor, it's kind of like yanking the debris out of the tornado, so it doesn't keep going around and around, hitting me in the head every time. If I put it on the list, I can take it out of my head.
But I'm not sure this method is working out. Because my life is becoming one endless To Do list. Every spare minute I'm thinking about what's on the list, what I could be doing to cross something off it. And once I put something on the list, it's very very difficult for me to take it off. Making strawberry shortcake is on the list, dammit! I will make that happen even if it means I don't get one spare minute all of Saturday, even if it means that I have to end the day with my back screaming from too many hours on my feet. The list rules all. And every time I cross something off, I think of five more things to add. The faster I run, the longer it gets. Sometimes I feel like my home is a metaphor for my life. Clutter is like a living, breathing force in this place. I work all the time to keep it stacked in the corners, rather than strewn over every horizontal surface. I fantasize about living in a peaceful, uncluttered space, but I never get any closer to the reality. Every time I pick one thing up, five more appear.
I know I'm being ridiculous. I know, in the depths of my soul, that it's never all done until you're dead. Life is always cluttered and crazy and too much and not enough. We all have days when we are tripping over the toys on the floor, cursing, wishing it could be easier. I know that the key to happiness is finding peace among the chaos, letting go of the to do list sometimes and sitting quietly in the mess, knowing that it is the stuff of life. But right now, I'm having a little trouble finding my peace. I think I'll make it my goal to head into this weekend without a To Do list. I'm a little scared just typing those words, but I'm going to try it. I'll tell you how it goes.