Treading Water

Photo by Oliver Sjöström from Pexels

For the last couple of posts, I’ve talked about trying to carve out time to focus on some major goals. One of those goals — which seems particularly valuable while we continue to shelter in place — is to accomplish a deep clean, organization and purge of our apartment. 

I set upon tackling this goal by doing what I would do with any project — I created my to-do list of tasks and milestones that would get me to my ultimate goal. For this residential endeavor, it meant going room by room and breaking down the work into small, manageable chores.

Vacuum the rug. Dust the TV stand. Scrub the shower. Mop the kitchen floors.

From here, it’s as simple as going through the to-do list and checking off my tasks, right?

With any work project, that’s what I would do. But here’s the thing with a project like this: I check off an item, but before I can make it through the entire list, I’ll have to go back and do that task again.

This is an apartment that is lived in and used after all. Even more so now. I can’t just vacuum the rug once and be done with it forever. I vacuum the rug, do some other tasks, vacuum the rug again, do some other tasks again while also trying to find time to tackle some new to-dos.

It’s an interesting cycle. It’s not as simple as moving through a to-do list one by one — greeting a task, working on it and then bidding it adieu to meet a new task. Instead, I find myself undertaking item after item, only to then add them to a growing list of maintenance tasks; all while trying to still take on new to-dos with my shrinking availability.

And this seems like a perfect analogy for my whole life right now. I feel like I have a long list of things I want to explore and try, but a roster of commitments to maintain that leave me with less and less time to take on new projects.

Treading water gets you nowhere. And treading water too long leaves you little energy to swim forward and reach the shore.

So, that’s how I’m feeling at the moment. I don’t know if I have the answer on how to fix it. For now, I just have to try to keep the shore in my sights and my head above water.

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