Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time. — Richard Walker
Last Friday, I found myself sitting in the window of my favorite coffee shop (again) with Frieda the Laptop, a perfectly-made Americano, and my stack of journals.
This was really more self-preservation than an attempt to get anything done. One of my co-workers took another job a couple of weeks ago (for some reason he wanted a living wage and a life. WEIRD), so our writing staff of four is now a writing staff of three until we can get a new person aboard. Which means that my very full plate is now overflowing onto the table AND the floor.
Tangent: Go hug a local reporter right now, you guys. We work super hard for shit wages and all we get for our efforts are complaints and accusations of being biased, fake news. It’s not awesome.
Anyway, Frieda and I were hanging out. My Americano was perfect. The coffee shop was fairly quiet. I had a window seat. The sun was shining. I had an hour to waste before my acupuncture appointment.
All of THAT is just to say that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about work-life balance and how I spend my time, about yearly goals and routines vs. to-do lists. About my girls and my husband, family and friends, and how much or how little time I devote to each. About decluttering and spring cleaning, meal plans and grocery shopping, time to read and write and introvert, and how I can keep all aspects of my life straight and focused.
And then I opened Austin Kleon’s weekly email newsletter, and the first link right out of the gate led me to the quote above.
This is EXACTLY what I needed to read at that moment. Overwhelmed and tired from a hectic week, my planner out so I could sketch a rough plan of everything I wanted to accomplish over the weekend, really just wanting to go take a nap, I immediately wrote the above into my notebook like it was a lifejacket that had just been tossed my way.
My brain is my brain, and I can’t really change the way it works, i.e. I suffer from monkey-mind, over-think everything, am high-strung, get overwhelmed by details (yet insist on them anyway), and am plagued by doubt.
This whole concept of just fighting the battles of one day is … refreshing. I woke up Sunday morning thinking, “What kind of day do I want to have?” and just focused on that. I didn’t worry about the past week or think about how I wanted Monday to go. I just thought about Sunday.
Getting caught up on laundry and reading on the deck.
Meal prep and taking a nap.
Getting all the cat hair up off the hardwood floor and writing just for me.
Anyway, my goal for this week (well, you have to think about the future sometimes) is to think in 24-hour timeslots. To sit in the present and not worry so much about the future I have no control over … or the past that’s already in the books.
I can fight the battle of just one day. Um, fingers crossed.
P.S. Another post by Kleon that I really liked is THIS one about work-life balance and how it’s basically a myth. (Well, one less thing to worry about, then.) It’s also about embracing the chaos that is life in general. Interesting to think about.