So…what’s on your List of Stuff To Do today? Chances are that you’ve got way more tasks on that list than you’ve got time to do them. If you’re like most people, you can rattle off several items to keep your home, family, and business running smoothly but you feel like you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. The more items you mention, the more there are that crawl out of the woodwork and remind you that they’re still waiting, too.
Did reading that paragraph send your blood pressure through the roof? Are you about to collapse from exhaustion? Chances are that you’ve got way more things on your List of Stuff To Do than you really want to do, or that absolutely must be there. And I suspect that there might not be a lot of Really Fun and/or Enjoyable Things To Do on that list.
You may have heard people say that you’ll never be lying on your deathbed wishing you’d spent more time working, cleaning or taking care of many other mind-numbing or mundane matters that life demands of us. We hear it time and time again; we wax philosophical for a very brief moment and agree. But then we grit our teeth and tackle the next thing on that bloomin’ List.
Okay, so keep your list. But what about making another list, too? How about the Really Good Stuff To Do list? Like, use the good china at least a couple of times a week. And the crystal, too. Eat dessert first. Or have it for breakfast. Go to the park and play on the swings, the slide, the teeter-totter. Use the pretty candles you’re saving (for what??!).
Have a nap. Rent a couple of kid films – even if you have no kids. Make paper snowflakes, put glitter on them, and hang them from the ceiling. Pin down some of your favourite people and find something to do together. Crank your favourite music and dance like you’ve lost your mind.
Last night, a friend was talking about having to do tons of cleaning. I told her about a poem I wrote many years ago. It’s called “My View of Doing Versus Leaving Housework and Other Undesirable Stuff” (the title is almost longer than the poem!). It goes like this:
Do your best and leave the rest,
Tomorrow will soon be today.
And if you’re dead by then instead,
It won’t matter to you anyway.
(Liberty Forrest © 1986)
So what if you have enough of those hairy dust balls under the beds and in the corners that you could knit a couple of cats? So what if there are some fingerprints and smudges on walls and windows, or a massive pile of overdue paperwork waiting for you?
When you give yourself some breaks, and allow yourself some balance with enjoyable activities or some extra rest when you need it you’ll have a better chance at being more productive when you’re working or knocking items off that Never-Ending List.
Do you want to look back and remember how clean your house was, but you can’t remember much laughter? Do you want others to remember you as the clean freak who didn’t know how to relax or be playful? Do you want to remember that you did a bazillion things for everyone else, but your own Spirit was starving, empty and unhappy?
Or do you want to be remembered for having fun? For shoving aside the cleaning and getting down on your slightly crumb-laden carpet and building something out of Lego with some kids? Or better yet, all by yourself? Do you want to be remembered for the way you respected and nourished yourself, and that you were an excellent role model for people who needed to learn how to love and care for themselves?
If you’re busting your backside working 83 hours a day, especially when there are holidays and special occasions and guests coming, how can you expect to enjoy any of what is supposed to be a wonderful time if you’re knocking yourself? You’re more likely to be so stressed and exhausted with every single one of those occasions that you just want to run screaming into a cave and be left alone.
Look, the point is that life is busy. You’ll make sure that essentials are handled. But please do yourself a favour and make a Fun List, too. Give it some care and attention. And give a little less to the Definitely-Not-Fun List. That’s self-love and self-respect. That’s nourishing your Spirit and enjoying more of your life. It’s as simple as that.
Do your best and leave the rest…tomorrow will soon be today…