I am in Seattle until Sunday. There is a whole story about the origin and purpose of this trip that I want to write about at length. The short version is that for my fiftieth birthday my family decided that the best gift I could have is to send me to a place where I could just be Sandra without also being Mom, business manager, household administrator, chauffeur, or any of the other dozens of hats I wear on a daily basis. It is a lovely gift and a fun story. The trouble I have is that most of my work tasks are portable and have traveled with me. Yes, I could just ignore them all for a few days, but if I do that I will emerge from my trip to a deluge of things that are overdue, which would feel like failure. What I want to do is take a few hours while on this trip to send overdue emails, knock some tasks off my list, get out from behind the 8 ball, hand off some of the things I’m juggling, and any other metaphor I can think up for “I would like to end this trip feeling like I’m ahead on work instead of behind.” Of course I also want to emerge from this trip with photos of the places I’ve been and stories to tell about the sights I’ve seen. AND I want to emerge from this trip having written piles of words on the books I want to put onto the table this year.
As I lay in bed this morning I thought about the two hours I have before I’m due to meet my friends in the lobby to go see sights. Should I send the two work emails which are nearly ready to go and for which I feel guilty I didn’t send during the first week of the month? Should I send the personal email to my friend that I’ve been wanting to send correspondence to for months? Should I write this blog post? Should I lay in bed and just let my thoughts wander, allowing my brain to process the travel day, the home construction that is ongoing in my absence, the estate planning I’m participating in for my parents, the complex web of personal and professional relationships that I value and maintain? The truth is that I want all of those things. Whatever I choose is stolen from all of the other things. I am burdened with too many things I want to do, not with things I wish I could get rid of.
I’ve identified (and written about) the fact that one of the things I’m lacking in my current life pattern is time to process. So I’m trying to pull that to the top of the pile during the next four days. Which is why I’m writing about stolen moments first. And I’ll process a lot of things verbally with my friends who are playing tour guide during my stay. (It is amazing how much less tangled my thoughts get when I talk to people who are willing to listen while I unpack my brain.)
The birthday gift I would most like to give myself is to get caught up on a bunch of things and to feel like my life has enough space in it for all of the things I want to do.