I have always been a planner. An organizer. A list-maker.
Sitting here with my iced coffee on a cooler (only in the 90's today) summer day, I think about all the time, effort and energies I have put into making those lists, plans, and organizations.
I remember keeping a list on the frig - Rick called them his "honey-do's". Now granted, this was his idea, and not a bad one at all. He told me that he didn't see all the things I wanted done, but if I would keep a running list on the frig, then whether he had 5 minutes or 5 hours, he could pick and choose what to do. And yes, it really did work! It eased the strife and contention between us. It got projects taken care of, as well as giving him a focus for his times at the house.
In those years of marriage, I always had a calendar - whether a planner, or just one on the wall. It was the place I kept appointments, birthdays, special days, remembrances, ideas and thoughts. Usually so filled that Rick refused to look at it - said it gave him a headache!
In these years since Rick died, I have tried making lists to keep me focused. Hundreds of lists in these 8 years. Mostly not done. Oh, I am all gung-ho when making the list, but then, I fizzle. I lose my focus. I lose my reason for doing any of it. I forget why I even put something on the list!
And as for a calendar - on the wall, in a planner/organizer, or even online? I am ashamed (and appalled) with myself for the time and $ I have spent making these. Then, casting them aside - I get so far behind in keeping up with the day-to-day stuff, that I lose all motivation.
It's a struggle for me NOT to make the lists, NOT to have the calendar, NOT to use a planner/organizer.
But it's just as great a struggle to make the lists, to have the calendar, to us the planner/organizer.
No one told me that this would be a major loss to me as a widow. This purpose, direction, motivation.
Living alone I wonder why do some of the projects in my mind? Who cares. What difference will they make? Just to give me something to do? Something that really is not a passion of my heart.
When I was a kid growing up, there were few times to get bored. Daddy and Momma had 3 gardens at the house, Momma had her flowerbeds, Daddy had all his fruit trees and the yard work, then there was the farm style picking of vegetables - where we would pick on the halves for the landowner, giving him 1/2 of whatever we picked for the cost of the vegetables. Add to that the fires that were built and kept on wash day - scrubbing clothes on a rub board, then hanging them out on the line. When dry, going out to gather in the wash, and then it was time to heat the iron on a wood stove, and do the ironing. So few times to be bored.
But on those rare occasions when I was bored, I learned very quickly to find something to do - if it was only to grab a book and read! I made the mistake more than once of saying, "I am bored." Momma wouldn't say a word. She just walked to where our books were, picked up the dictionary, grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper - and brought them to me. Told me a letter to start with, and then to write out the words and definitions, then use each one in a sentence. After a few words, yeah - I could find something to do!
And now, as a widow, more at home than not, I feel like I am doing nothing more than busy work - something to do so that Momma doesn't have to hear me complain about being bored.
I realize that I am seeking purpose and direction for my life. For my being here, taking up space, breathing this air. And I am searching for that way to do things that actually works for me, NOW. Me, alone.
2 weeks ago, my landlord sat at the kitchen table and told me the change of his plans. His thoughts and ideas. That his intentions are to move out to this place sometime between January and July of 2024.
It wasn't the greatest surprise or shock. But it did shake me a bit.
Where do I go from here? If he had not given me such a rate on rent, I couldn't be here. No one else, in my mind at least, is ever going to even come close to what the rent is here. How can I afford much more than here?
- It is already a living from benefit's check to benefit's check for me. I live on a string type budget now!
What am I supposed to do? I am limited on the number of hours I can work in a week, as well as the total amount I can make - due to the widow benefit's check I get. I can't afford to lose the check, my insurance is all tied up in that check. As well as having some physical limitations on what I can, or cannot, do.
I have already been looking for work, and for housing. Even looking into work that provides housing.
So far, every lead has ended with no hope.
And every day that passes brings me closer to the end of my lease agreement, a day closer to his plans taking shape.
As a planner, organizer, and list maker - this is so stress-filled for me.
Not knowing where I am going from here, nor when -
Not knowing what I am going to do -
There is no way to make an adequate plan, or list.
There is no way to organize all of these unknowns.
This poem has been on my mind A LOT these last few days.
Charge not thyself with the weight of a year,
Child of the Master, faithful and dear;
Choose not the cross for the coming week,
For that is more than He bids thee seek.
Bend not thine arms for tomorrow’s load;
Thou may'est leave that to thy gracious God.
Daily only He said to thee,
Take up thy cross and follow Me.
~ Fr. Xavier Lasance
These last 2 weeks have exhausted me.
All these thoughts and worries, the fears and concerns.
Searching for jobs and housing.
Wondering over all the questions.
With a constant asking inside my heart of what the answers even just MIGHT be.
So, sitting here with my iced coffee - I have decided to just stop.
Go in what I do know.
Even just moment by moment. Not even one day at a time.
I know that my rent is paid until September 1.
I know that the landlord said he would be here one day this week to collect the rent for September. I offered to take it to him, but he said, "No".
I know that once September's rent is paid, I will have until October 1.
I know that my lease agreement is good until December 1, 2023. With the stipulation that he can end it with a 30-day notice to me for vacating premises.
I know that I have appointments this week on Wednesday and Thursday.
I know a few things that really do need done this week - laundry, dishes, cleaning house, paperwork and computer stuff.
I know there are still things for me to go through and minimize down. Been taking a hard look at what I need, what I want, and what is nothing more than fillers - and gathering those fillers to simply let go of, enough of moving them from place to place.
There are more "I knows" - and this week is going to be about focusing on those.
Focus and do, this moment. What do I know? Whatever it is - go in what I know. Do what I know.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Who knows what next week, next month, next year, will bring?
20 seconds at a time.
That's what I have.