07 June 2019

Celebrate the Wins

I keep a running to-do list. I love it. I love writing things down. I love crossing things off. I love finding old lists and crossing off things that have since been rewritten and wrapped up. I even keep digital lists, though I once could have been considered an analog purist. While the strikethrough is not as satisfying as drawing that final line, it's still rewarding. Completing tasks makes me feel as though I'm making progress. Every task is a step toward something -- typically toward something I want. Action leads to accomplishment. It's a fundamental Danie tenet. Imagine my chagrin when I realized I'd abandoned it.

I've lately been focused on the big tasks. I convinced myself the small accomplishments didn't matter. Making one step didn't matter if I couldn't finish the journey right at that moment. If I'd taken a step back, I'd have realized my mindset was ridiculous. I can't get all my work for the week done on Monday. I can't upend and reposition my use of social media in an afternoon. These are facts that are known. They were, however, not ideas that were believed. I began to feel like nothing was getting done. The result was frenetic tasking that absolutely made me feel worse. The more I tried to do all The Things, the faster I accomplished none of The Things. How was I so busy and organized with so many incomplete tasks. It was enough to make me cry. Fortunately, my pragmatism did its job.

"Danie," I said to myself, "you can't be accomplishing nothing. You do too much to feel this way, Let's evaluate on a case by case basis."

Closing Day.
I have a mortgage now.
Source of angst: My bedroom / office are not "finished." Also, messy.
Pragmatic reason why that's okay: I closed on my house four months ago. It's unrealistic to expect everything to be settled in that time -- especially since I've put a lot of focus into the common areas.
And furthermore: The rooms are painted. The office furniture has been sanded / painted. The art is has been selected and there are only two furniture pieces left to get.

Source of angst: I'm not writing every day.
Pragmatic reason why that's okay: I've never demanded that I write every day. Lyrically it's cool to write like you're running out of time. but that's not my life. It was never my life. I don't even know when that became a goal or why I thought it was a good idea to add that pressure. I am writing more. I'm still figuring out what to say. I'm still figuring out who I want to listen. I'm writing to specific humans I know, who are important and who I want to keep in my life. It's not daily. It doesn't have to be.
And furthermore: I've been reading more books and long form pieces. The storytelling muscles are being stretched. I'm finding myself inspired to share more.

Pictured: Amazing friends
Source of angst: I haven't made friends here.
Pragmatic reason why that's okay: I'm not ready. I don't feel like being social. I'm instead very curious about basement storage solutions. I'm not settled. I'm also swathed in love and support. If I were tiny, I'd suffocate from it. I have amazing friends who know me and accept my quirks. I very much want to make sure those relationships are maintained. They matter more than a new bar buddy -- though I will need a new trivia team.
And furthermore: I've spent more time with family than I have in the last five years combined. My brother invites me over for dinner and I can just go. I'm absolutely making up for lost time and there's no reason to rush that.

These are some of the things that float through my head while I commute. And while it's all logically reasoned above, this took me months to articulate. It's been three days or realization. Now whenever I catch myself feeling anxious or overwhelmed or generally lacking, I list (on paper) all of the wins that come to mind. Today I realized I didn't eat out once this whole week. I did :30 planks three times in a row (while saying I could NOT for at least :20 each time). I waxed my own brows and was able to show my face in public. I made appointments with new doctors. I did things! I made progress toward my goals. I have wins, despite the state of my bedroom. My new goal is to never forget to remember that.