Take It Easy: You Don’t Have to Plan for the End of the World

My wish for the world: peace and love in 2013.

My wish for the world: peace and love in 2013.

Miles run yesterday: 10

Days until the end of the world: 1

Days until Christmas: 5

Here’s the deal: if you are concerned about a nuclear holocaust or the old Y2K kind of massive computer glitch or World War III, I completely understand your need to hoard batteries, canned goods and Just Dance 4.

However, if the end of the world is upon us–say, tomorrow–and we are about to be smote or collected up into heaven or cease to exist, it’s a free ticket: stop planning.

I’m a planner.

You may recall that when I was 5 years old, I planned a Christmas party without telling my mom, I helped plan prom, I planned our wedding, I planned to have two kids, I planned to go back to work full-time…. oops. That hasn’t happened yet. Well, it will. It will, I tell you.

Back when I was working in my very first salaried job, I became friends with a girl who is now a very famous writer. At the time, she was temping at the place where I worked, and she told me she wanted to write books that people would read, and I didn’t really believe her. I think I nodded the way you do when a kid says that he is going to be a famous basketball player or video game designer when he grows up.

Anyway, I knew her then; I don’t know her now. I guess I didn’t plan that part very well.

One day, on a day I must have been feeling flush with cash, she and I went out to get pizza for lunch.

As we sat there, I told her about my irritating situation: my grandmother had bought a grand piano, and she was ready to send me her old, upright piano.

“Don’t get me wrong: I’m very thankful to be getting a piano,” I said, between chews. “But it’s just out of order.”

She wiped her mouth neatly with a napkin. “Out of order?”

“I mean, out of life order, you know? Like, first you go to college, then you get a job, then you get married, then you get a house, then you get a piano.”

She gave me a weird look. “I have never, ever thought about life that way.”

Never? Ever? “You don’t plan out your life?”

She looked at me with pity. “Life happens, and you roll with it.”

This was a new life philosophy with which I had not yet been acquainted. I didn’t roll, and life didn’t happen. Life fit into neat boxes which I had prepared.

I ended up taking jobs that required event planning and writing planning and scheduling.

She became a successful author.

Much as I love to plan, tomorrow’s big end time scare actually makes me happy. If the world comes to a screeching halt, all the batteries in the world won’t help you.

I’m free!

So I can stop checking things off the various lists I keep around the house.

I don’t need to plan future newspaper columns for 2013. I don’t need to remember to pack large, warehouse club-sized packets of bread yeast to take to my mom at Christmastime. I shouldn’t worry too much about all the cookies I have planned to bake tomorrow.

I’m going to kick back and read Gone Girl. It’s a page-turner. And I plan to finish it before the world ends.

Advertisements

Revisiting Doorways

My fantasy life in Tuscany has more realistic-looking shadows.

Words written in novel so far: 9,364

Days ago kitchen floor needed to be mopped: 6

Miles run last week: 24

I have not yet adopted seven cats or started inventing reasons to drink at two in the afternoon.

This is some comfort, given the fact that I keep forgetting why I walked into a room.

You see, I grew up as the Organized One in my family. Not the Smart One or the Pretty One, as is customary in a family with two daughters. It probably started with the Christmas party I planned without my mother’s knowledge, at the age of five, as I blogged about for Mother’s Day.

I did spend part of my middle school years in medieval England and some of my twenties either imagining life at the beach or time traveling with the Outlander, but work got done.

The Organization Fairy stayed with me through my jobs as a public relations person, organizing events and newsletters and such.

I blame the children.

Before I had a cell phone, when my daughter was about five months old, I was thirty minutes away, in the same town where my sister worked, and we were going to have lunch. I got ready to call her from Barnes & Noble, and I realized I could not remember her number. Not like, hmmm. Now how does that number start again? Oh, yeah. Five-one-five… No. Complete block.

I hadn’t slept in about five and a half months, which might have been part of the problem.

At some point, I remembered my sister’s phone number, and when I visited her, I saw the neat files that were part of her Ph.D. studies. My mind whirled. I would be lucky if I remembered to pick up milk on the way home.

Once I recovered from sleeplessness and my daughter went to preschool, I started writing again. To be honest, that was probably the shift.

Going from business-oriented work to loosey-goosey motherhood to writing created some sort of mind-body shift.

I now must employ devices to keep myself on task. At the urging of my BFF, I have bought Clean Shower because until I remember to clean the shower, it will hold off the mold.

When I see a rogue tea cup sitting on the bathroom counter or a dirty sock in the middle of the den floor, I tend to walk past it and think, “Note to self: pick up rogue tea cup and take it downstairs.” I am more than a little annoyed at myself later that evening to find that same cup in the same place.

Being right in the middle of the creation path of my second novel, the characters are doing things in my head. They demand attention, and the mommy duties and cleaning duties and chauffeuring duties are done to some extent on auto-pilot.

Unfortunately, the flotsam and jetsam of daily life end up taking a backseat. Or in some cases, being strapped to the roof of the car (ha!) until I can make a note to do something about them.

If you are ever standing outside my house and wondering why someone keeps walking into a room and then out of a room; in, and then out, please know that the best way to recover a thought is to return to the space of air where you last left it.

You have to revisit doorways.

What was I supposed to do in the master bath again? Oh, that darn cup. Seriously. It’s in the dishwasher now. But the kitchen floor? Small children are still stuck to it. Note to self: I need to go rescue them.

Shoot. What was I supposed to do again?