Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“Stay in Today”

         In the past, I loved my ability to plan ahead. Every week at work, I’d prepare a list of goals:  Grade essays (two class sets per day), file student work, call dj for dance, reorganize closet. My list making continued at home. I memorized the grocery store, making my list in order so I could swing through the aisles at warp speed. I jotted down goals for paying off debts and objectives for dropping weight. I projected into the future with a six month, one year, and five year plan. Sometimes, with my vision so focused upon tomorrow, I think I missed some of the delights of the present.
         The turn my life has taken this last fifteen months means I’ve faced the challenge of changing my mindset. Each morning I write down the date in my journal, and then my major goal:  STAY IN TODAY.
         On the surface, this seems a simple target, but for me it’s horrendously difficult. On the days I do well, I find I have infinite patience. I don’t pressure myself under the weight of all of the unknowns of tomorrow. Instead, I focus on stripping the beds, flipping Mom’s pancakes, brushing the dogs’ teeth, and planning dinner. I look at the bills and pay whatever’s in the stack and avoid the worry about what may destroy our budget six months down the road. I doggedly place one foot in front of the other and give myself a mental shake whenever I start to slip beyond today
         When I successfully STAY IN TODAY, I relax. I take a moment to listen to bird call or appreciate the sun as it dapples the back yard. I linger over words when I write. I laugh aloud at Everybody Loves Raymond even if I’ve seen the episode one-hundred times because my mother giggles the antics of Ray. I remember to say, “I love you” and “Thank you” and to cherish the unending support I get from my husband.
         Old habits, though, break down slowly. Last night my mind flitted into tomorrow’s possibilities, and insomnia hit. I’d forgotten that when I delve into “what ifs” I find sleep difficult. My imagination created scenarios of events unfolding over which I’ve limited control. It wove tension into my stomach and pounded uncertainty into my head. I found myself wondering why my inventiveness at night turns to the darkest paths of pessimism. Eventually, I envisioned all of the troubles that may loom ahead, and one-by-one I placed them into a bright yellow box. I sealed the lid tightly and tucked it up on a shelf. Sleep embraced me almost immediately
         And so I find myself feeling sluggish this morning. I’m a little peeved with myself at falling back into my old pattern because trying to project into tomorrow holds too many unknowns and wastes energy that I need now. When I picked up my journal, I neatly placed in the date and bold block letters: STAY IN TODAY!  

I'm learning to "Stop and smell the roses!"
First blossom this year in our back yard
Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

No comments:

Post a Comment