I’ve been silent here for a while, because silence is what I’ve needed.
January has been noisy.
Between the opinion overload on social media as of late and my three kids aged six and under (one who woke three hours earlier than usual today and is a clingy, nap-refusing bear), I’m a bit touched out, both physically and mentally.
I’ve added to the havoc through a paper elimination spree at my home. But this rid-of-all-the-things journey I’m on unearthed an old high school journal, filled with lists of things I love. A sampling from that journal, written by eighteen-year-old me:
Things I Love
Year-round Christmas lights
Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra
Rainy, gloomy days, and a good book
Noodles (with or without schnitzel, thank you Julie Andrews)
It’s a simple list, but it reminded me that eighteen-year-old Amanda really enjoyed some living. I read and wrote often. I bought grocery store flowers and featured them in my dorm room windows. I played music more than I watched tv or obsessed over the news. I doodled in the margins of my notebooks. On weekend trips home, I baked sweet treats and ate carbs without guilt. I went outside with my Dad to look at the stars with a constellation finder my eighth-grade science teacher helped me construct. And most of all, I enjoyed wasting time.
Life was undoubtedly simpler then. But while I have some obligations this weekend that can’t be ignored, I’m inspired to shift my focus to some of these more enjoyable, quieter pursuits – some that could be filed into the category of time wasters. Because after all, time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted time.
Happy weekend, everyone! I’ve already plugged in the Christmas lights strung around my windows. Pardon me while I blast some Ol’ Blue Eyes and knead some homemade noodles.
Lest you think I have it all together, here’s a description of the first 30 minutes of my morning.
I should first note it was the first day back to school for both my eldest and my teacher husband following the holiday break, and none of us were exactly looking forward to it after a few weeks of enjoying our own schedule.
The baby woke to eat before my alarm went off. I wrestled him back to sleep, then woke the cranky school child.
As I packed a lunch, the middle child woke up, screaming.
The screaming woke the baby.
The husband used the last of the milk, which didn’t make the cereal-loving screamer any happier.
The school people rushed off to school, leaving the packed lunch on the bar.
The meat for the sandwich I was making was still in the microwave anyway.
The baby immediately had not one, but two diaper blowouts requiring two outfit changes.
The 53,000 unread emails in my account rendered it too full to operate.
I checked my bank account, only to learn an automatic payment was processed twice by the company, over drafting my account for just the second time in my life.
I started the washing machine – again, as I started the same load yesterday and then forgot it – only to find the one box of non-liquid detergent I own had fallen from the shelf and coated the floor.
All of this happened before daylight.
None of this is earth-shattering or even really anything that will set the tone of my day. I’m fine, I’ve laughed it all off, and forward I will march.
But as a new year begins and we inevitably take assessment of our lives and set goals, my chaotic morning reminds me I know one thing about myself: I will flounder.
I will have noble aspirations and idealized plots, and they will often fail. I will try to be poised, and I will be a klutz instead. I will start with a clean slate only to quickly muddle it. I will vow to be early and I will be late, every single time, because I’ve finally accepted it is who I am (and not because I’m some jerk who values my time over the time of others – I hate that assessment – but because I try to cram too much into a pocket of time and don’t realize it until it’s too late). Much of what I will try to change will be out of my control anyway.
So while I make my to-do list for the day and my goals list for the year, I’ll still set my sights high. But when things inevitably don’t go as planned, I’ll give myself grace and forge along as I learn from my mistakes.
And then someday, maybe I’ll have an empty inbox and a full bank account.