At Sixes And Sevens

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IMG_0183I’m in one of those in-between places. You know— when you don’t know what to do next or where to start.

The Advanced Reader Copies of my book arrived a few days ago. I need to reread my words again one more time and check for typos. I have a great postcard design with my book cover and a terrific blurb on the front being printed now. I’m working on getting my website updated and plan to do some advance writing for this blog and my newsletter. I’d also like to submit a few personal essays to magazines on and off line to bring attention to my memoir. I’m so wired with excitement that some nights I have a hard time falling asleep.

But on the other hand, it’s spring. The desire to write and do what needs doing in theIMG_0178 studio is being drowned out by the early morning call to be in nature by an amazing variety of birds setting up households in the neighborhood. I have an unbearable urge to devote my time to the natural world and to get my hands dirty. I need to redesign a flower bed I tore apart last fall to bring it new life. I long to stay outdoors all day, visit nearby nurseries and garden centers to see what is available. I love walking down the rows listening to plants shouting out, “Choose me, please! My roots are being suffocated by the blasted pot someone planted me in and I need to escape!” Once rescued and at home, there is then the need to fulfill my promise and set those cramped roots free where they can stretch out, and fulfill their promise to infuse my garden with color and joy.

IMG_0184Then there’s the stuff of everyday living. The laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, veterinarian appointments for an aging dog, my own need for a well deserved nap, and on and on. I print out my weekly calendar each week, then make a list each day of what needs doing. Usually it works well for me and it feels so good to cross items off that scrap of paper as I get them done.

But I the slow pace of winter where my lists were fulfilled each day without difficulty are over. Now there’s the galloping pace of spring. My lists are lengthier and linger into the next day and the day after that. My energy is good but not enough to do it all in one day. Some say it has something to do with my age and the extra time it takes to do things.  It leads to overwhelm and I get stuck in my old patterns of rushing around like an idiot.

So I’m here today to make a public promise to myself that I will not allow my slowness or the too many things to do make me crazy. I will continue at my slower pace and do one thing at a time, reminding myself that when I choose to do something on my list it can not be done half-way. It needs to be done well and thoroughly. If I write a personal essay I must do it the best way I know how and take as long as it needs. If I choose to take a thirty minute nap, I will not lie on my bed and fuss over what I “should” be doing instead.

I think that we could build a new movement of folks like me who don’t want to rush and can easily say, “That’s enough for today. “ Will you join me?


  1. Absolutely, Joan! I started the day on the deck. No iPhone. Not even a book or a journal. Just my senses and a cup of coffee. Came back into the house able to be fully present to my family and now to my work. Hope I can keep this feeling of slow time. I actually get a lot of work done this way also. May we both continue on the journey. Here’s encouragement to you!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Shirley, You are right there with me! I too find I get more done when I slow down. Here’s to the Journey!

  2. I’ll give it my best shot, Joan, but like you, I struggle with all the gotta-do’s fighting for time with the wanna-do’s! As I’m typing this, I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t begun today’s editing project yet—as I looking longingly at my garden from the office window. Both are like Sirens calling to me!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Candace, It is a struggle and I’m trying to find a balance. That too is a struggle. Is there anything that is not a struggle??

  3. I’m right there with you, Joan. I make my lists too but don’t stress if all items are not checked off. There’s always tomorrow. I’m trying to enjoy what’s right in front of me and let the rest fall into place. Best wishes taking your time to enjoy the things that matter the most!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thank you, Kathy. I see you beside me with your list, and yes, right now, in this very moment is what is important. We can do it!!

  4. Joan – I gladly join you in your ONE thing at a time done extraordinarily WELL. One of my pet peeves is being rushed (by myself, or by someone else).

    Here’s a link to a ONE THING AT A TIME article that appeared in the Huffington Post quite some time ago. I think you’ll enjoy it:

    • Laurie, Thanks for joining me. Like you, I hate being rushed by anyone, and especially myself. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. And thank you so much for the link to the Huffington Post article. It’s great and will go in a file where I can pull it up and remind myself about doing only one thing at a time when I need it!

  5. I’m also a list maker. Sometimes things need to be done right away–a deadline, an appointment, a bill that is due–but other times it’s fine to let it go. Enjoy your peace, and good luck with your garden and book!

    • I think lists are the greatest, Merril, and it’s good to know there are so many others who make them and relax even when everything on them doesn’t get done in due time. Thanks for your visit!

  6. I’ll join you in that group Joan. Sometimes we just have to slow down and not get flustered by the amount or number of things we ‘have’ to do.

    • Joan Rough says:

      You’re right Linda. It’s the getting flustered part that is the problem. When I just just allow myself to be and do what I can do, I’m fine. Getting flustered is my way pushing myself to be perfect and get more done.

  7. Hi Joan
    Oh how I can relate. The pull to be outdoors: the gardens and the animals that need tending. Spring is a busy time up here too. But from Shirley’s silence and Kathy’s focus on what’s right in front of you (that next right thing) I can only add that when I feel as you do, that there’s just so much to do I don’t know where to start, I pour myself a cup of tea (hot or iced, depending on the season) and go sit down so where (again depending on the season). I sometimes need that reminder that I am important, not just all the things I must DO

    • Joan Rough says:

      Janet, A cup or glass of tea works beautifully, as does sitting in the sun, pulling a few weeds or talking to my dogs. The dogs are good listeners except when I get boring and they fall asleep. 🙂 We all need reminders that we are important and need to care for ourselves when we’re world weary!