The list never ends. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoarding tasks that I know I need to get done, but never seem to get around to doing. They aren’t urgent, but they really should be completed. Some day.
In steps the flu. Nasty cough, fluidy lungs and generally feeling yucky. I spent a day denying it, hoping it would go away. Day two I gave in and curled up on the window seat. I can’t remember the last time I just threw in the towel and vegged from morning ’til night. I had a library book I needed to finish before it was due, so out it came.
After months of reading on my Kindle, and loving it for its lightweight convenience on our cycling trip, I’d forgotten the joys of reading a real book. The tactile experience of turning pages and devouring its contents was so very satisfying. It was the perfect book for a marathon reading session – Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed drew me in from the very first page. I am in awe of this author, whose prose is so beautifully crafted and whose tales are so compelling without being suspenseful. The day flew by with the pages, and I was sad to finish the book. But I was able to check it off my list. And avoid a fine.
Day three I had to cancel my coffee date with friends. That’s serious. I love my coffee time, and especially spending it with others. But it wasn’t fair to share my germs with them. Feeling more chipper, I sat down at my PC, checked email and and tackled the usual tasks. It felt good to actually do something, so I eyed that To-Do list in the corner. With a long day of nothing stretching out before me, it was an undeniable opportunity to accomplish a few items. After knocking off a few easy ones, I began to gain steam. Working my way down the list selectively, I eventually narrowed it down to some of the more onerous tasks. It was with a satisfying sense of achievement that I even managed to cross many of those off as well.
I’m really hoping to be back on my feet by day four. I’m just about out of things to do. It’s time to get back to real life, and let that To-Do list build back up again.
I’ve been displaced this week. Voluntarily. I’ve been spending my days in the home of my daughter and her husband, taking care of their new baby and her older brother while my daughter returned to her 2nd grade classroom to complete the year with her students. As a result, I was in a “foreign” environment, without access to my own familiar resources. But what a benefit – I made some wonderful discoveries and came away with new sources of inspiration.
My first find was a book called Heroes for My Son by Brad Meltzer. It was a small book, lying on the coffee table, almost disguised among the assortment of children’s books. I picked it up and was immediately taken with the premise and content of the book. It is a collection of 52 individuals, hand selected by Meltzer for their virtues and talents, as life examples for his son. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Each entry is comprised of a single black and white photo, and a few concise sentences that capture the qualities that define the individual. And finally, a quote by or about the hero. Many, not all, are famous, and each is selected for a character trait not a specific accomplishment. It is a book to be savored, but I found myself wanting to read on to the next, and the next. The inspiration it contained was heart-warming and lasting, as the stories were so memorable.
Next was music. Thumbing through the iPod connected to the music system, I selected the album Just Relax: Mexico by Lifescapes. The music was calming yet with nice variety, unlike some of the other more boisterous selections on the device, and made for good listening. It turns out that Lifescapes is a series of music CDs developed for Target Corporation, which in all honesty was a bit of a turn-off for me. But reading more, I discovered that it started with a small group of musicians from the Twin Cities area, who “came together with one mission in mind… to create a fresh and authentic music collection tuned to everyday life.” Where the inspiration comes in is their message that followed: “Think of your life as a film where you’re the lead character in your movie. Every day you live your life in big and small ways, through seasons of change, through good times and hard times, through passing moments and memories that’ll last forever.” I scoured the website, trying to discern just who those original artists were, and which were the initial CDs, but they left no clues. Still, I’m interested enough to check out other titles and artists in the series.
Not bad for a week spent largely in the absence of other adults!