satisfaction

Sometimes–endlessly, just exactly like Sisyphus–you make
giant to-do lists and they are eight pages long and you have such great hopes
and you cross out one or two things but the rest of the things go straight to
hell, because something happens. One item ends up being so complicated and
involved that everything else must be set aside, or unexpected things crop up
that have to be taken care of or the world will end right that second in a
burst of flames; or out of nowhere, you spend the weekend on the couch, hanging
out with your boys and watching movies while it snows again. Possibly it will
be a big problem for my productivity and the cleanliness of my house if I both
choose to embrace the concept of snow days and also live in a place that has a
lot of them. Right now, I don’t care, because the important things got
done.

Usually, that means “for a given value of important,” but even a biased judge might agree that the things I actually accomplished were the right things to do, and the things that I let go might be somewhat less important in the grand scheme of things. Dishes, for instance. Who really needs to have a spotless empty sink? A communist. A communist cares about having a clean sink, and I bet they also worry about having clean underwear in case they get into a car accident. This illustrates why we should distrust and fear communists. Cleaning my dishes was on my list, but my dishes remain uncleaned, and I’m (mostly) okay with that.

I’m also okay with a basket of laundry still unhung, and
mail to sort and a bathroom to scrub up and sheets to change and curtains to
hang and pictures to stick on the walls and my office to unpack and a printer
to set up and phone calls to make and probably I was going to find some
sustainable and inexpensive source of eco-friendly energy to fuel the
cancer-curing machines I was going to invent, but I didn’t manage to get to any
of that. There was important lying down and dog snuggling to be done, and I
have decided that that is, in fact, important–to my happiness, and well-being,
and cortisol levels and the relationships with those around me who have to deal
with me and my moods.

Fortunately for the sake of my self-respect, this is not
just an abstract, hippie-esque woo hoo, there are more important things to
worry about in this kind of shiny epiphany thing happening (though I am
okay with that, even though it’s the kind of epiphany I seem to endure every
couple of weeks, which tells you something either about my attention span or my
capacity for just letting go, already).

There were also
concrete things, and maybe they’re the things that let me be okay with the fact
that my dishes aren’t done and I laid on the couch a lot petting dogs. Also,
this weekend, I revised a story that’s been sitting on my hard drive since last
year, and I liked it enough to submit it to a contest. And I revised an essay
proposal for an anthology I was invited to submit to, and I started my book
proposal and even though it is nine hundred pages long and has a lot of
brackets with the words INSERT INFORMATION HERE littering the thing, it is a
good start. It is so much more than I had and so much further than I was last
week, when I was panicking about having accomplished nothing at all on my own
projects, all the shit I pretended was so vital and deeply important and the
cornerstone of all my plans.

Obviously, it wasn’t so important, if I wasn’t getting off
my duff and doing it. Obviously, having gotten off my duff and starting to do
what I said I was going to do–it is such a nice feeling to not be so much a
poser. It will be the nicest feeling if I can keep this up, but maybe mix in a
little of the dish-washing cleanliness kind of stuff, keep the puppies and the
couch thing, stay on top of my work, pay my bills, go to the gym, win. Try and keep all the balls in the air, for
once. That would be impressive. That will be when I’ll finally be satisfied,
right?

5 Replies to “satisfaction”

  1. Ack, new look, freaking with my obsessive compulsiveness and with the fact that All Things Must Stay The Same Unless I’ve Been Fully Briefed And Have Given Approval.

    Not that I’m not flexible.

    But then I noticed all our comments are gone? And I just tried to comment here and got some sort of fatal error????

    Anyway.

    I’ll try again.

    Listen, fabulous Lady Anne, ’tis FAR more important that this weekend you revised a story, submitted it, drafted a book proposal, and got lots of puppy (and other, I assume) lovin’ than, you know, did dishes.

  2. We’re on a new software package! Ta da! And the last set of entries had to be shifted over by hand, by one of our fabulous editors, and comments could not be similarly ushered, unfortunately.

    And lovin’ should always be priority, you’re absolutely correct.

  3. p.s. bonus–I am now getting emailed when comments come in! so I might actually respond to you guys and not suck. won’t that be nice?

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