A List of What I Did Not Do Today

I did not do my taxes.

I did not finish my school work (taking a class from Cornell, sounds so smart, doesn’t it?).

I did not go outside to enjoy the spring air, and prune the cherry trees.

I did not fix myself a very healthy lunch, and eat it. I drank lattes.

I did not update my budget by putting my expenses into their categories.

I did not vacuum up the dog hair that is all over my house.

I did not work out.

I did not do my morning devotions, morning yoga, call the pharmacist, the college or the doctor.

I didn’t even go shopping for the microwave splatter-cover thing. (How does one lose one of those?)

I did wake up and bury my head in my pillow, while crying, “I don’t want to get up. I don’t like it out there. Let me stay here.” I have no idea to whom I was speaking since I live alone, but, I did repeat that over and over, while in the fetal position.

So, today doesn’t tally up on Cinthia’s timeline as a productive day, (I can always state the obvious, can’t I?), despite the fact that I eventually got up, took a shower, and even walked the dog. Mostly today, I talked on the phone to my friend, Debbie N., and stared out the window. So, I not only messed up my productive day. I messed up her’s. You’re welcome, Debbie.

Here’s what I have to say about being productive: I don’t like it.

Who’s to say staring out the window isn’t being productive, anyway? Since, we’re on that topic.

I used to be an avid rock climber. I climbed every rock from Yosemite to Looking Glass. It was fun. You know why? Because on that rock, with 500 sheer feet below me, endless, unseeable feet above me, and nothing but me in that tight, but very open space, I couldn’t stop to consider if I vacuumed before leaving the house, or if the taxes were mailed, all I could think about was my next move. I was there. I had to be. It was thrilling not because I was hanging onto some rock by my fingertips, but because my brain was completely engaged in that moment. There was no multi-tasking going on. It was total focus. I loved it.

I have a friend who takes pictures, and she says, “My best pictures are the ones I take when I am completely in the moment, not the subject, but me. When I am fully present, the pictures are always amazing.” That makes sense to me. How can you “capture the moment” if you aren’t in it?

There is this feeling I get when things get out of whack. You know, when I’m being all-productive-all-the-time. It ends with me in the fetal position crying into my pillow. While that may seem silly to some of you (and perfectly normal to others, thank God), I think I need to listen to that part of me. People scream to be heard, and while that isn’t the best form of communication, how else does the part of me that desperately needs a break, convince my SHOULD SELF that a break is needed? My continual checklist doesn’t include hanging out with friends, watching a movie, taking a long lunch, or walking the dog by the river. I do sometimes do those things, but not nearly as often as I should, and really, not until I am so exhausted I’m staring out windows, and bugging friends who are trying to work.

I used to have the quote highlighted below taped to my computer. I think I SHOULD tape it there again. It’s a good reminder that staring out windows, climbing rocks, or taking pictures, helps all of us to better see the lack of harmony and proportion between life and work.

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” 
― Leonardo da Vinci

So tomorrow? No to-do list. Aggie and I are hiking the Davidson River. That’s her definition of a productive day.