Sunday, June 2, 2013

In Praise of Momentum

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." A few years ago, that little gem made me roll my eyes so. very. hard. For two reasons.

One, I assumed these mythical uber-competent, busy people were, I don't know, telepathically plugged in to some universal personal assistant who kept all their obligations straight and running smoothly. You know, somehow super-human. 

This was proved by point two: I was a busy person--multiple jobs plus freelance busy, stupidly busy, busy to the point of a mental breakdown. If you tried to give me one more thing to do, not only would it NOT get done, I would likely break down crying or lunge at you. Possibly both in rapid succession.

It was a dark time.

Anyway, then I lost my job. And for the first time in my adult life, I experienced stillness. Absence of obligations. Non-busy-ness.

And you know what? That made me pretty miserable, too.

After days of being at one with my couch and six seasons of Supernatural on Netflix, the idea of doing something as small as going to the grocery or visiting a friend's baby seemed so. terribly. hard.

And eventually, I figured out that this was because I was trying to do everything from a cold standing start. I lacked momentum. 

But what about back in the dark days? How was I killing my momentum then? I would finish one arduous task and collapse, feeling like I'd earned the downtime, earned the break. But then the next thing to be done (and, oh my children, if there is one constant in my life, it is that there is ALWAYS a "next thing to be done") would rear it's head, and I'd drag myself, sullenly, resentfully off to do it. 

Deadlines were blown, work was subpar, and I was freaking miserable.

And then I thought back to the days when I felt pretty damn good about my life. I was productive. I was engaged in what I was doing. I had a lot to do, but I enjoyed it.

I had momentum.

Let me be clear - I'm in no way praising busyness for busyness' sake. But I am talking about grouping tasks and projects and rest periods in a way that makes sense, that makes all of it rewarding, instead of dividing life up into stolen moments of laziness and unwelcome chores.

Yesterday, the Songwriter had an early-morning dentist appointment. After I dropped him off, I ran a whole slew of errands and was sitting on the balcony, snuggling a cat, drinking coffee and reading a comic book when he came home. 
There wasn't room to get the coffee mug in the picture.
It felt amazing. Like a proper Saturday should.

Thanks, momentum. Let's do this more often.

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