Today feels like a day of insurmountable obstacles: everywhere I look, another problem I can’t stand to deal with. Laundry, obviously. Fruit flies. The stuff I bought yesterday and didn’t put away. Consumerism in general. The minimum number of servings of fruits and vegetables that should be eaten by our family per day (thirty-five) (PER DAY). The spilled Pixos all over the dining room floor. The way so many things seem to migrate to the floor. The difficulty of continually training children to pick it all up again.
The way caffeine and alcohol and shopping and food do/don’t help. The inevitable, looming problems of aging. The difficulty of spelling words such as “aging” and “eying,” especially when I was so sure the difficult part was that they DID have the E before the ING. The messiness of my purse. The three phone calls I need to make. The decision about whether to let all the children go to a birthday party they were all invited to, and what to do about presents. The first empty jam jar from the homemade jam, and the question it raises of where to store it until next year. A work deadline so tight it’s likely a matter of someone else’s lack of planning constituting an emergency on my part.
So far I’m handling it by surmounting small things. It feels TOTALLY POINTLESS to pick up and put away Elizabeth’s headband when it is only one item of hundreds on the playroom floor, but I have LONG SAID that “all or nothing” is one of the WORST mental downfalls for me. All or nothing is the attitude that makes people say that if you eat a cheeseburger it’s dumb to drink diet Coke, or that if you cheat on your diet you might as well write off the whole day/week and start over tomorrow/Monday. It’s the attitude that makes people think that if you’re not going to be totally ripped, you’re an idiot to bother taking the stairs. It’s the attitude that makes people think there’s no sense donating to charity if they can only give $5, or $1. And it’s the attitude that makes me sink into despair as I contemplate all there is to do and the futility of doing any of it.
But no! We resist it! It is NOT all or nothing! All or nothing is not an appropriate attitude for a person who owns a math medal! Picking up the headband may be a drop in the bucket, but it IS A DROP, and the drop is IN THE BUCKET. That is better than having it out of the bucket with all the other drops! One drop > zero drops, just as cheeseburger calories < cheeseburger calories plus Coke calories. MATH. IT IS ABOUT MATH So that is what I’m doing today. I’m moving like a zombie, a zombie killed by despair and reanimated by children fighting over NOTHING, as USUAL, but I’m doing little things one after another. I emptied the dish-drying rack. I took one thing out of the Target bag and I put it away. I put in a load of towels. I put away Elizabeth’s headband. Those drops are IN THE BUCKET, people! IN THE BUCKET!