If I look at the glass as half full – even considering everything undone – there’s still the reality of what gets left behind.
So much seems to be sacrificed to layers of dust, relegated to the back of the closet, left to the detritus of cyberspace – the odds and ends of “everything” there is no bandwidth to resolve, tie up, appropriately address or delegate.
Then there are all those things you meant to say when you had the chance – that could have salvaged your day, your relationship, your good moment with a child that turned sour.
Why does the unsaid, the undone, the unresolved plague some of us more than others? What is it in our psychological make-up that keeps so much at the forefront and nagging?
It isn’t just what gets set aside or left behind. It’s who. People we know. People we don’t know. Concerns over how they feel and what they must think.
Why does the vast and expanding “undone” irritate some of us to such an extent?
Sure, it’s been a rough week around here. Popping Advil for the migraine. Too little sleep, too much to do, and plenty left to wait for another time – whenever that might be. And incidentally, this is not desperation; it’s frustration.
It isn’t about housework. (I surrendered years ago, though I dream of a visit from Jeff and Jenny courtesy of Interior Therapy.) It isn’t about three boxes in a corner of my living room for as many years, spilling over with odd objets awaiting a “someday” garage sale. It isn’t about the clothes I’ll never fit again and have yet to clear from my drawers, and nor is it about the bits, fits, and starts of stories left in a state of disarray; and oh, how I long to pick them up again!
The sense of untidiness extends to people who email and I have no time to answer, to thank you notes I mean to write and never quite finish, to books I open (at last!) to read, and I don’t make it past three pages before an interruption. It’s about the sense of interruption, the growing “musts and shoulds” and equally, growing resignation that this is the way it will be forever.
It’s about more substantive issues as well – hopefulness for the long term (as if I could define that), perspective (which I cling to, tightly), self-respect (which I insist on), relationships – which, so critical, suffer from lack of time and energy.
We all have dreams we leave behind. I’m not speaking of dreams. Some are abandoned, others spring up in their place to be nurtured and pursued. That is the way of adulthood. But what about our cluttered, noisy, distracting, overwrought way of life – even with its joyful moments – that leaves us spinning and still convinced we ought to do more, be more, finish more – knowing that we can’t?
What about the promises we make to friends and cannot keep because we run out of hours?
What about the promises to our children that we do everything we can to keep – and there – we may succeed more often?
What about the promises to ourselves about ourselves – lost in the shuffle?
Naturally, some of the challenge is our busy factor and all the commitments we make, often with little slack. This seems to be a lifestyle for many of us though not explicitly by choice. We’re caught in the hamster wheel and it’s impossible to imagine a way off.
Not long ago I reflected on the importance of beginnings (in relationships). But what about the psychological importance of endings? Good and proper endings, resolutions, the proverbial dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” we once had a prayer of managing?
We tell ourselves we run out of physical and mental energy, we run out of hours in the day, we run out of dollars in the wallet. But true or not, not finishing tasks, not exercising proper manners, not experiencing closure feels lousy.
Do we shrug it off? Do we feel scattered and unsatisfied? Do we purposely sever the cord to that part of ourselves that cares what others think? But how do we live with ourselves?
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