Wednesday, June 05, 2013

I Didn't... But I Did...

How tenaciously we cling to the illusion that we will get our lives in order
and that they will stay that way.
AW Schaef

If you've read this blog at all, you know I'm a committed and passionate list maker. And this is good. It helps me get things done. But there is such a thing as being married to your list so much that you can't make time for the things that aren't on the list-- those unexpected life moments that just come up. Recently I had a day where I got nothing on my list done. This stresses me.

That evening as I reflected on my day I was thinking of all the things I didn't do. And then a thought came into my head: yes, there were a great many things I didn't do. But what about the things I did? With that perspective can there be such a thing as a wasted day?

I didn't clean out my daughter's closet, but I did have a wonderful conversation with a friend.

I didn't get my writing done, but I did jot down some insightful and promising notes for a new story.

I didn't run all my errands, but I did have lunch with my mom.

I didn't go for my run, but I did read a great book.

I didn't cook a gourmet dinner, but I did show up for lunch duty at my daughter's class.

For each thing we say yes to, there's a no that has to come in somewhere. Instead of feeling bad about the no, what if we worked at feeling good about the yes? If you're a champion list maker like me, then this might be a comforting way of looking at things. It's helped me to switch my thought life from "look at what you didn't do" to "look at what you did."
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Anonymous said...

Thank you! I, too, am a crazed list-maker, and all too often I look back with dismay at all I didn't accomplish. Thank you for the encouragement to change my focus.

I didn't get those graduation gifts mailed out yesterday, but I did allow my 12 year old to have an impromptu last-day-of-school sleepover with 5 of her friends.

I didn't get those clothes to the dry cleaners, but I did some little favors for some friends.

I didn't get the house clean or organized, but I enjoyed dinner and some TV/bonding time with my daughter and her sleepover friends.

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Carol Baldwin said...

Love this!! I will remember it.