In the morning it feels as if I can get everything done.
I rise, thinking that I’m super mom, the one who will tackle her list by eleven, and then spend the rest of the day in creative endeavors. We’ll bake our bread — gluten free, of course, and knit, and write letters, and refold laundry, and prepare an amazing dinner for ourselves and to share, and end the evening retelling the day in a brilliant one act play.
And then the morning comes.
And then real life happens. There are diaper changes, and laundry that is still waiting to be folded, and four days of math work to correct, and not enough cereal for breakfast, and last minute supplies to be found, and no idea what I’m going to serve for lunch much less dinner.
It’s easy to get discouraged.
It’s easy to let all the ways I wish I could do the day overtake my day — and then the simplicity of doing the real things gets lost.
So I do the next thing.
That’s it. When I look at the whole list I see failure and incomplete and “I’ll never make it” and too much. The list never ends. I’ll never ever finish laundry in my entire life. There will always be dinners to make and chores to do.
I don’t use the list to determine success. Instead, it’s a guide, a compass in my path of daily life.
I just do the next thing. Whether it’s wiping up the cereal from the floor or playing a game, at that moment I try to whole-heartedly do one thing. It’s a simple step. Many times when I feel overwhelmed I’ll tell myself just – do one thing, one thing, one thing – and gradually I’ll discover that many things get accomplished.
Life isn’t about finishing the list. After all if I focused on always finishing the list and lived overwhelmed I would lose. I’d lose relationships, and moments of discovery, and joy. Because that list? So often it’s about just me. And I can’t live that way allowing a list to determine my accomplishments.
I can do one thing.
And I can do it joyfully.