The affliction of getting things done

I hear it’s not unusual to consistently wake up a couple of minutes before your alarm goes off. I am almost never awakened by that click of static mixed with CBC snapping into my bedroom. On weekdays I wake up panicked – afraid that I’ll be late for work, late for class, late for a meeting. It’s a ridiculous worry, because barring highway accident or flat tire I am never late, but the thought of running behind still pushes my stress levels above and beyond anything that normal people would consider acceptable.

On weekends I go to bed intending to sleep in. Now you must understand that in my world, “sleeping in” means staying in bed until 7:30 or 8. Alas, either at the beck and call of restless dogs, or because I’m a creature of habit, my eyes usually pop wide-open somewhere between 5:30 and 6 and if I do get back to sleep it’s in a semi-conscious and restless state.

I have always been an early riser and I blame my sense of impending obligation. I am no good at not getting things done. Unfortunately, the more I get done the more I seem to need to do. I think there must be a name for this disorder, but I’ve yet to discover what it is. (Don’t worry, I’m placing the task of finding that out somewhere near the bottom of “the list”.) If I happen to have a day that isn’t 101% packed with stuff that needs doing, I run out and volunteer for something, devise a new project, or decide to bake dog biscuits, start a batch of beer, mill my own flour, and plant a dozen sugar maples so that eventually I’ll have something to tap. Does it ever occur to me to just stop, read a book, take a nap or pamper myself? NEVER! Stopping is a waste of time, reading is for the toilet, napping is the same as sleep, and pampering is for people named Paris. The only time I stop is when I am so exhausted that I am unable to see straight or physically support myself in an upright position. Even then, I’ll sit at my computer and write a blog.

I was excited that this weekend called for rain. I foresaw an opportunity to take a much needed rest. And yet, here it is, Sunday night again, and as usual, I’m too tired to take my clothes off and get a bath. I’ve shopped for groceries and building supplies, a vacuum, and feed, I’ve built and installed a barn door, I’ve baked bread, made pea soup and spaghetti sauce and salsa. I’ve mucked out the barn and cleaned the coop, washed and folded laundry, done dishes,  hiked with the dogs, and taken Milo to the neighbours for some socializing after which we fit in a session of obedience training. Here it is, Sunday night, and the list of things I didn’t get done is as long as the list of things I accomplished.

I remember a time when things were simpler. When I could make my own fresh pasta instead of buying it from the supermarket, when I had time to sew quilts and paint. In retrospect, however, I did those things to keep busy, and undoubtedly I felt they were urgent, just as I do now.

I’ve always insisted , “There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.” At this rate I hope I’m around a good long time. With all the things that need to be accomplished, aggravated by the inflexibility of the rigid 24-hour day, I suspect I’ll be taking my list to the grave no matter how long I’m around to get’er done. Item # 46 on my list reads “Stop and smell the roses.” Which leads me to add three more items – #1. dig a new flower bed, #2. shop for rose bushes, and #3. plant the roses. Well, that pushes “stop and smell” to #49.

I suppose I’ll get to that some day.


3 thoughts on “The affliction of getting things done

  1. Great post, live your writing! I’ll be going back to read some of your past posts, and subscribing to future ones! You go girl!

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