Somehow I've got to figure out a way to re-prioritize everything in my life in order to fit it all in. I realize this as I'm sitting here writing a column—dangerously low on my list of priorities except for the fact that my current column, entitled “Merry Christmas” looked stupid sitting there in mid-January—while I have about a dozen other things I also need to be doing.
The reality of my life now is that I've signed on to be the Content Director for the re-design of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and clearly it will consume all of my time for the next two years. Yes, I consider it an amazing blessing, and an awesome privilege to be working on such a prestigious and stimulating project, but I must admit I hadn't quite considered the cost.
My office is in a state of turmoil as I chaotically sift and weed through dozens of books and DVDs, hundreds of papers and photographs, neglecting to re-file them in the proper place because I haven't the time or the patience. The last time Lucy, my little fleet-footed rescue dog bolted through the room, using the table as her bridge to the couch and scattering half my files along with her, I merely laughed. They were a mess anyway.
So, one of my priorities is to organize, and stay organized so that I can work efficiently. What happened to all those carefully sorted files I worked on so diligently during our “down” time? Another is to keep the rest of the house from falling into total disarray, as opposed to the partial disarray that we're willing to live with. Another is to keep the laundry in the hamper rather than falling out onto the floor and to make sure we at least have clean underwear.
But those are small things. There are big things that are on my list that I can't give up. I want to stay firm in my faith and continue to grow spiritually, which means devoting at least a small amount of time every day to prayer and to reading the Bible, something I've fallen far behind on. I know that I need to do this or I will be distancing myself from the very help I most need for the next two years, but when?
I also want to continue to work out at the gym, at least two or three times a week. I have to stay physically strong, build myself up so that I have the stamina and strength that my schedule demands…the traveling and long hours and early mornings and lugging around a suitcase and a briefcase with a laptop in it all take their toll and I need to be physically fit. But how do I make the time?
I tried online grocery shopping, but it isn't the solution I'd hoped for. It may save the actual drive to the market, and the carrying of the bags, but it's incredibly time-consuming trying to go through each and every aisle in my mind, as well as pages of options for every item, and impossible to remember those items that you only remember when you see them on the shelves. And, it doesn't eliminate the pharmacy or the bank or the hundred and one other errands that mount up and once I'm out I might as well get some groceries…if I can figure out when to do it all.
Then there's our other business, the one I was fully involved in before I took on this project. While it's true that the majority of my responsibilities have been taken over by someone else, remarkably well I might add, I still seem to be the only one who knows how to generate invoices, or pay the bills that are mounting up into an increasingly daunting stack, or write paychecks. I need to find the time to do that or we'll wind up with no electricity one day, not from lack of funds but lack of attention.
Of course, that's just a partial list of the “things I should do.” It doesn't even begin to take into account the things I want to do, like spend time with my adorable two-year old grandson, or with family and friends. I know that as the weeks and months progress and I'm continually telling people that I don't have the time because I'm swamped, some just won't understand. How can anyone always be swamped?
I have books I want to read, movies I'd love to see. I want to figure out how to use my cell phone more effectively, and download more songs onto my iPod, but I don't have the time to tackle my high tech toys, even though they'd make life easier and/or more enjoyable in the long run if I knew how to use the darn things. For now, they're just more items on my “to do” list. (And people ask me why I don't have a digital camera. Ha! Like I'd have time to figure that out!)
Even as I'm writing I know that there are dozens of things I'm leaving out: some are just too trivial, like needing a pedicure; others provoke fear, like what if I get sick, or my husband gets sick or one of my dogs gets sick? I'm making it a rule; NO ONE gets sick during the next two years; it's out of the question.
I also know that I'm over-reacting, and that it's only the second month of this, and that I WILL settle into some kind of a sane routine. Actually, yesterday I got home from a meeting and I heard a strange sound. Well, not really a strange sound, but a completely unexpected one. The washing machine was on. Yup, the washing machine was on and I hadn't turned it on, which left only two possibilities: magic, or my husband was doing the laundry. I guessed magic first, but only for the laugh. Slowly but surely we'll work on a different, and better division of labor now that he isn't the only one working a fourteen hour day. And that will help a lot.
I do know that the first thing on my list is to stop worrying about my list. As it says in the Bible, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt:6:27) And I need more hours in every day, so the worrying has to stop. What I really believe is that this, like everything else in life, is just another part of God's plan to grow me. I've never been good at handling stress; I've never been very well organized, I'm lousy at time management and I hate asking for help. And, embarrassing as it is to admit, I watch way too much television. So, He's put me in a position where I have to improve in every one of those areas in order to appreciate the blessings He's given me. A loving and supportive husband. A wonderful family. A precious grandson. Great friends. A strong mind and a healthy body. A steady income. And a fantastic new job.