The Show Goes On
Sitting at my desk with my eye twitching and the reaching tentacles of a headache slowly snaking their way across my temple, I am running through my mental to do list for what seems like the hundredth time this morning.
I do this often, I type a few words or stare at a spreadsheet and then my attention is drawn again to all the things I must achieve today. Not only work items, of which there are plenty, but also life admin tasks. Making sure I have arranged a birthday gift for my son’s friend for the birthday party on the weekend, remembering to pick up black bike pants for my daughter’s school concert costume, booking the cat in to the cattery for our Christmas holiday which is still ages away but which I know books out months in advance. Thinking about how I am going to encourage my son to read more and put down his iPad which is just like a magnet for him, checking in on my friend whose husband has received a scary medical diagnosis and my other friend who is struggling at work.
Focus, I tell myself. Get back to work. Stop thinking about all that stuff and just concentrate. Trouble is, I can’t. The to do list is like a powerful siren pulling me in. Impossible to fight. I wonder if my husband is sitting at his desk at the moment stressing about the life list of unfinished tasks? Of course he isn’t I realise with crushing disappointment. Somehow these items have become my sole responsibility. Our life is like a performance, rehearsed and executed with perfection but with no thought to the manic prop’s person, line prompter, director and costume designer who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the show goes off without a hitch. The show must go on, night after night and I am the ever-busy puppet master.
I efficiently manage to tick all these items off and rarely mention it to my husband. He would say “why didn’t you ask for help?” if I did mention it and honestly, I am not sure why I don’t. I guess because in the time it takes to explain exactly what type of gift to buy, appointment to make, item to purchase, I could have done it myself. My beef is not that I have to do all these things it is that no one else seems to notice that I am doing them nor think to do them first. Why does it not occur to anyone else that these things need to be done? Do they even need to be done at all? Am I control freak? These questions are uncomfortable to answer.
I am not brave enough to stop ticking things off my list like a maniac because as my mum would say “if I don’t do them, no one will”. And it is sad but also true. How would I cope if my son went to the party without a present? And what if the cat was forced to stay in a less than perfect (but available at the last minute) cattery? The honest truth is that I like being organised and prepared for this life we are living. So does this mean that I have no right to complain?
So, what is the solution? Stop doing all of the things, all of the time? Delegate out some tasks and don’t be disappointed when the task is not carried out exactly to my standard? Be more efficient so all the life admin doesn’t take up all my brain space? Cut down on the tasks and stop trying to make everything perfect, all of the time? The answer lies somewhere in between I assume.
I cannot keep pace with the speed at which I have set my life to operate at. It is simply not sustainable. The more I do, the more gets thrown my way. Which is why I am taking a long, hard look at my list and am going to delegate, cut down, be more efficient and practice letting go. It won’t be easy but it is better than the alternative – self combustion!
I can’t help but wonder…have I created a monster in that people expect me to continue to complete this never-ending list of items and willingly leave these jobs to me? I probably have. Excuse me now, I’m off to add that to my list of things to worry about.