I used to pride myself on being a multi-tasker. That was during the 80’s, the time of “super-woman”, bringing home the bacon and all that. I actually got raises at work based on my ability to juggle it all, to prioritize many things at once, and to keep every ball in the air.
Whether it was work, home, entertaining, raising kids, I thought I was pretty successful.
I even gave presentations on time-blocking, and incorporated productivity and prayer into this self-proclaimed amazing structure that I imagined I singlehandedly created. I wanted to help the women who were coming to the groups I was leading - searching for peace, searching for “how to do it all”. I think it may have helped them, but I think maybe it stressed them out too - although I probably would have thought then: "buck up baby".
Many years went by with me navigating things this way.
Then we moved into another era. Minimalism. Mindfulness. Being fully present to the one thing we’re doing. One thing at a time. I managed this pretty well too. Because I scheduled it of course! I scheduled the meditation and the prayer and the spiritual time amidst the other duties. And I completed most everything - in the almighty name of productivity.
But then my son Chad died.
And now I’m a pinball. Half-done, quarter-done, tenth-done projects everywhere I ping across the house. Just now, I left the not-yet-unloaded dishwasher to get the essential oil for the diffuser in the kitchen but started to take out the permanent press instead and left the dryer door still open with clothes in it to sit down to type this to leave it to finish cleaning out the sink because Monday's coming and I want a head start on the week (gotta give myself the best opportunity for a successful week) and then I started to unpack some gift bags with presents from an occasion earlier in the week but didn’t finish because I was powerfully drawn back to the clothes so they don’t wrinkle because ironing is the worst thing ever.
Well maybe not ever...
And I wonder: why not do the ironing? Why not fully engage in the ironing?
And I answer: because the ironing would bring me to myself, and that is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.
I'm distracting myself from myself.
So now I need to go get the essential oil so I can start the diffuser and hopefully not get waylaid by something in between here and there. Something somewhere in between here, there, and everywhere.
I’m certain there’s a partially consumed cheese stick on the kitchen counter amidst the planning calendar and the mail - or maybe on the kitchen table where I’m in the midst (yes the midst) of writing out notecards (have been for weeks) to the universe of people who showed their support to me and my son Nick when my son Chad died. Because for some reason, it's really important to do that right now even though I already did it once before, but now it’s been over two years since he died and I feel like I need to do it again. Like it’s important to do it again, to stay in touch, to remind them of Chad again. To remind myself of Chad again. (“Gone but not forgotten”, right?)
To DO something. Because doing something, anything, helps. (That's what they call mourning. That's what heals... doing the deal of mourning. Go figure, but I believe it.)
Hey hello world - I'm mourning. And I guess it's helping. So in between writing the notecards, I’ll just keep figuratively hitting that button-like thing on the side of the imaginary pinball machine - and, like good bumpers on the lane at the bowling alley - cause myself to keep pinging from one side of the lane of crazy tasks to the other side. Multi-tasking gone berserk.
Me, after the death of my son, gone a little bit wild, a little bit feral, a little bit berserk.
Or maybe I should just breathe. Maybe I’ll try that. Because that's one thing that I sometimes forget to do. Really.