Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Things Misplaced and Lessons Learned

Every morning when I wake up, one of the first things I do upon pouring my coffee is sit down and read through my blog list. I subscribe to several, most of them written by women. There are women who run homesteads alone, women who have a passel of children and manage to write books and sew beautiful things, women who live their lives with purpose and accomplish goals every day while still appreciating the beauty of little moments that pass in the blink of an eye. I read these blogs for inspiration and motivation. I peek into these women's lives hoping to learn their secrets.

If you ask anyone who knows me to describe me, I can guarantee you, 100%, that no one will say "Wow, that K, she sure does have her s**t together." It just won't happen. I've never been that girl. My s**t has always been decidedly untogether. And that's been kind of by choice. I've always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, let-the-wind-take-you kind of girl. Historically, I've let the universe make most of my major decisions. And, I really don't consider that a fault. I think it opens me up to all sorts of possibilities that I would miss if I were more structured. It allows me to be easy going and not freak out when something unexpected happens. I tend to roll with change very easily. In short, my untogetherness has made me quite adaptable and very laid back. I experience things that some people don't ever see and savor all those little, unexpected things that happen when you roll through your day. On the other had, I spend a good bit of time looking for things I've misplaced (because I lack order), bumbling through my day missing opportunities to complete tasks (because I don't have a plan), and forgetting to do things (because I don't have a routine).

B, conversely, is the embodiment of order. He is structure. He plans and plots and uses foresight. Where I am the "path less travelled by" one, he is the one with the maps and compass. An example: A few years ago, we decided to go on an epic roadtrip vacation. We were going to fly to San Francisco, spend a few days with sister-in-law Sars, rent a car and drive up the coast to Seattle, then fly home. B wanted an itinerary. He wanted to plan how long we would stay in each place, wanted to know in advance which roads we would take and how long each leg of the trip would last, wanted to know where we would spend each night and what attractions we would visit along the way. I, on the other hand, just wanted to drive from San Francisco to Seattle. That was as far as my plan went.

So, you see, I generally don't have a plan. And it's really never been too much of a problem until now. Up to this point in my life, I've always had a job, so I had fewer hours to fill at home. I had chores and housework that had to be done, but laundry and dishes were pretty easy to fit into the scheme of my unplanned day. Now though...now I have all these things to do and it seems like they all have to be done in a certain order. I have all these things I WANT to do, but never seem to have time because the other things, the things that have to get done, are never done. I have all these hours to fill up everyday, but can never seem to think of what needs to be done next, so the next day things are still undone. It's a vicious cycle.

And I know how to fix it. I need to set goals. I need to establish a routine. I need to create order and go through my days with purpose. I need to make a plan.

My free-spirit shudders at the thought.

And I know it can be done. I know, without a doubt, that there are enough hours in the day to accomplish the things that need to be done and have time left over for unplanned whimsy. I know because I see all those other women, with more on their plates than me, doing all the things I need to do AND raising children or working at a day job or doing volunteer work. So I know it CAN be done.

The question now is how the hell do I do it? I make lists, I really do (sometimes). But, I never cross everything off. I make calendars, but things always get pushed to the next day. I start off in the mornings with a general idea of what I want to get done, but somewhere along the line, inevitably, I get distracted and move onto something else.

So, yeah, by choosing to live this life, I've opened myself up to change on many levels, physically, emotionally, mentally. I'm learning to sew and milk goats and make pickles and pluck chickens. I can totally learn to make a plan. I'm learning so many things everyday, about myself and the world around me, that learning how to live with a bit of purpose should be a piece of cake.


  1. I know how you feel. I too am struggling with getting the things done that I want to do and need to do. I have always been a very structured person, but simply can't structure my days right now. I am trying to establish a day by day written routine, but can't get it up and running....after working for 20 years around kids and the home, I now simply don't know what to do each day....it's a rotten way to feel.....I gave up paid employment nearly 12 months ago, and yet still don't have any sort of routine......and there is so many things I want to do.....I think structure and routine is the only way to get past it, but where to start for me is the question....

  2. I am like you: I call myself EXTREMELY RIGHT BRAINED, almost to the point of it being a disability at times. I get distracted by my creativity and stop mid-housekeeping-task to finish some creative project I'd abandoned previously, or to read a newspaper I'd skipped, rather than putting it in the recycle bin.
    One thing that sometimes works for me, is to list my tasks in order of importance, with the most important at the top of the list and the least important last on the list. I forget putting in times for each task (although maybe I shouldn't omit this), and just work down the list, trying to stay on task. Sometimes I actually DO! Other times, not so much.
    The reason I like the plan is that the most important things usually DO get done, while less important things may have to wait until the next day.
    I also sometimes set a kitchen timer, for ten to fifteen minute intervals, and give myself five minutes off every time the bell goes off, to read a blog, write on my blog (rainydaydoller.blogspot.com), or play FB Scrabble. The trick for me is to stop when the bell rings signaling the end of my "break."
    Sometimes I'm surprised at how few work periods it takes to finish a hated, much avoided task.
    Another thing I do is to give myself a longer period "off" when I finish a task I REALLY hate. It's all about bribing myself. I used to be much more disciplined, because we had six kids and I HAD to stay on task. Now, I'm retired and it's hard to stay on schedule, maybe because I had to for so many years. But even then, I gave myself a lot of choices, and didn't lock myself into an inflexible schedule. What good would that do when you can't schedule trips to the ER, child illnesses, YOUR illnesses, etc.
    I DO get more done when I have a list, even if it's just three things written down on a "stickie."

  3. I think my biggest problem is actually the prioritizing of different tasks. I have trouble discerning the "important to K" from the "important to farm". An example: it seems vitally important to ME to get all these peaches we bought canned and stored, but I'd be doing that at the expense of getting the water barrel set out and filled for watering the garden. I can't decide which is more important, so I end up doing neither. The peaches rot and the garden wilts.