Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's now or never... (or is it really?)

I've had so many thoughts that I've wanted to quickly type up this month - those two great books* I finished, a pic of me at 28 weeks pregnant (now I'm 30...), back to school thoughts, health care. Inspiration came, went, and now it's not going to happen. And the recurring items on my to-do list like go to farmers' market, put together that scrapbook, vacuum the floor. Yeah, those haven't gotten done week after week either.

So does it really matter if my list of not-done-yets is exponentially long? What can wait, and what do I really need to make happen?

The "now or never" mandatory list is maybe a lot shorter than I think. Family, kids, life changes, crises tend to remind me of that.

Maybe only two times do I need to treat life with that NOW mentality: 1) deadlines and 2) inspiration.

Deadlines. Birthday parties for little girls in August. Gotta happen. Doctor appointments for unborn babies and flu shots for the rest of us. Gotta happen. Job applications for John and a few last work appointments and grading for me. Gotta happen. Chill time with my family and friends before eating/pooping/fussing/sleeping twins arrive. The days are dwindling. When my to-do list is mostly actual deadlines, it often shortens and always gets done.

Inspiration. And then between all those must-do deadlines come the must-notice inspirations. Not every inspiration is critical, but a lot of them are. If the thought is really that important, then quick, write it down. Capture it in scribbled sentence fragments, if not a well-polished blog :). Or if the autumn sun is shining, drop all the house "duties" and take the kids to the park. Ditto when both he and I find ourselves musing life on the couch. (Forget the dishes.) And away from home, stay and chat a while with a new friend on the playground after school, or run back into the grocery store to leave my number (and offer of baby clothes) with the checker who is pregnant too and has seen me through two pregnancies now. Many opportunities like these (especially the people ones) might never come again.

So, dear busy to-do-list-making-self, let the deadlines of you and those who are counting on you float to the top. Leave lots of room for flexibility when inspiration strikes. And if it's not one of those two, maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. No big deal, it's only sometimes "now or never".

*oh, and to add to your non-deadline-but-possibly-inspiring-list-of-things-to-do, here are a couple of the great books that I never got around to blogging about: "The spirit catches you and you fall down" by Anne Fadiman and "Father Michael's lottery - A story of Africa" by Johan Steyn. Cross-cultural medicine in America, and international medicine in Africa. Not exactly at the topics in the health care debates these days, but very challenging to think about. Yeah, the protruding belly (aka naps) has been giving me a little extra time to read!


Jenn said...

:) i was just thinking about this sort of thing this morning and reminding myself that 'I will not get upset if everything in "planned" to do today doesnt get done'.
i am learning that enjoying my boys, my husband and the time we have to together trumps an old to do list anyday! :)

stress only gives me a headache anyway!

30 weeks!!!! wow!! almost there! :)

Dina said...

up from the grave she arose!!!

good to hear from you again, and great new book suggestions to look into! i've just finished crazy love, by francis chen...worth a read! maybe i'll send it to you... also, i'm sure you've heard of three cups of tea, also another inspirational read.

ok, i'm leaving my to-do list to write this but lunch from my hungry children can wait no longer!

wishing i could see your babies at birth!!

Don said...

"The "now or never" mandatory list is maybe a lot shorter than I think."

Sounds like you're striking a good balance between the important, the urgent, the wondrous, and the just plain fun.

My mom used to quote me this, "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy." (It works for Jill too!)


joanna said...

yeah, new books to read! i've hit up the library already :). thanks dina!