It’s been a long and busy few weeks for a lot of people. I know I’ve been preoccupied lately between work, school, and several other things. These days, it seems like everyone has their own things going on without a whole lot of time to get it all done and still enjoy it in the process.
Can you relate to that?
For instance, I got to see what it’s like to figure out what it takes to move across the country through packing, apartment looking, trip planning, etc. Nick has been doing while he has been running around trying to get everything done in time for move day. Now that his stuff is on the move to Iowa there’s more time to relax, but a lot of what he would have relaxed with is— well— on the move.
Another example is the new retiree in my household who has taken to one project at a time and is truly mastering the Zoom meeting, slowly. I can tell you that he worked incredibly hard to get where he is today and maybe retirement was a bit like the end of an era. When turning a page on something like that, it’s hard to know what to do with so much open time and space in your hands.
We’re all busy people who are constantly in the middle of something while either starting or ending something else. My family members have been busy bees around me, and I know I also multitask enough to the point where I’m going through the motions and robotically getting through whatever needs to be done before moving on to the next task. It’s like reading a book only to realize several paragraphs later that you didn’t read any of the material and have to start from the beginning.
I feel like quite a few of us catch ourselves doing this throughout the day. Sometimes it’s easier, for cleaning or doing dishes when it can be nice to let your mind be somewhere else. But when it comes to chatting with friends, spending time with family, doing work, or just catching up with ourselves, it can be important to stay present.
This is something I struggle with, especially the more the pandemic has gone on.
So, instead of the pressure to try to be present all the time and always be 100% at maximum speed, instead, I’ve been giving myself some more leeway and a bit of reprieve. Some people may call this kind of thing self-care or dressing your life for success, but it looks different for all of us, you might know what I mean when I describe what that means to me.
I just call it One Good Thing.
This week— to be honest, a work in progress for the past few weeks— has been to clean up my workspace. Let me tell you, it needed the cleaning. I like to tell myself that I’m fine working in a messy space, that I can work around it, but do you ever feel more at peace with yourself or satisfied when your space just looks good to you? For weeks I knew I had papers I needed to file, application essay drafts that I didn’t quite know where to put, taxes I needed to address soon, and so much more slowly piling up.
There gets to a point where you put so much on a to-do list or have so many things “set aside” for later in a room that soon enough, you’re drowning in it. This week, I decided I’d had enough. I put on a good playlist, pulled out an old file folder I hadn’t gone through in years, and sat down to sort through my mess of papers— it took a lot of recycling. Then, I turned for the desktops, dusting along to whatever songs through my headphones kept me going until everything felt clean and organized back in place. And lastly, now that I could see the floor again without all the papers littering it, the rest of my floor things got cleared out today and it was time to vacuum.
I have to say that my One Good Thing for this week had a lot of baby steps to it, but its purpose was upheld. It made me feel like I did at least one productive and helpful thing for myself every day, it kept me present to my own needs, it’ll help me be more productive in a cleaner workspace, and maybe I admit that it helped me enjoy the process a bit too. I don’t just mean the work process either. I mean life.
See, when I say I’m doing one good thing for myself, it’s not about work or school or family… It’s about life and being present, being able to slow down even a little. Whether that’s going out for a walk, volunteering at a dog shelter, or sitting out in the sun for 10 minutes, I think these things are important for each of us to find.
Because no matter what else is going on around us, we can’t get our time back and I believe people deserve to find good moments even in turmoil, change, and busy lives. Sometimes, we just have to create them ourselves.
Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you find some way to enjoy a bit of it and spend some time around things or people you love. Stay safe and look out for one another. I’ll see you next week.