Screw the To Do List
My day begins at about 4:45 am. I wake up early in order to make sure I am fully awake and at peace when my wife leaves for work around 6:30am. I spend the hour and a half waking up my brain, thinking about what I need to get done that day, and then trying to create a plan for when and how I am going to get everything done. Then I’ll spend another 30 minutes meditating where I try to quiet my mind and set my intentions for the day. Usually, my intentions center on staying positive and staying present. I usually come out of the bedroom around 6:20 awake, alert, and ready to go. A far cry from the zombie state I typically awaken with no matter what time I wake up.
Today, however, was different. The alarm went off at its usual time, and I said to myself, “Eh, I’m gonna sleep till 5:30 today.” Unfortunately, my mind had other plans. My thoughts began to run amok in my head, so I got up and started my routine. I tried to defragment my thoughts, but to no avail. The To Do list was racing through my head. Then, I started to let the pressures of other people’s expectations take me away from presence. I was clearly in a trance. My mind and emotions raced for 40 minutes at least. Every few minutes I would attempt to recenter my mind, but it had little effect. I finally started watching a TV show on my laptop in an effort to quiet the mind and ease my negative emotions. I stopped the show after about 20 minutes, and began to try and meditate once more. Again, my thoughts and emotions took over. I was upset because other people were holding me to a standard that I didn’t think was reasonable, and I wish people understood just how hard I work to keep my family happy and healthy. Additionally, I have also been very sad for a couple weeks now. The school year is almost over, and I had yet to spend one full day focused solely on my baby girl, Kaitlyn. This was my plan today, but I felt pressure to do everything everyone else was asking me to do. This of course fueled my racing mind and my roller coaster emotions. Finally, after over an hour and half, I had to get up and let Heather go to work. I was not at peace, but at least I was awake. I knew that I was not present, and living in the moment is a major major focus of mine right now. So, I got some headphones and an eye mask and attempted to once again meditate while Ethan and Kaitlyn watched TV.
After about 5 minutes, I realized that this attempt is futile. I couldn’t stop my mind, and now Kaitlyn is climbing on top of me peeking under the eye mask. This gives me a little bit of a smile and brings me somewhat back. I had to get up and get Ethan ready for school. I left the headphones on, and I said to myself, “I just wish I could let it all go.” As a last ditch effort to bring myself back to presence and pull myself out of the negative trance, I played the song Let It Go (yes from Frozen)on my iPod. I forced myself to sing it and forced myself to “dance” with it. You’ll never believe it. It bloody worked. I was singing and dancing all by myself to a crazy overplayed Disney song. I shouted ” I DON’T CARE WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO SAY”….. It was at that moment I decided to say screw it! F* the To Do List. I told myself, Spend the morning doing exactly what you want. Doing exactly what will make you happy, and exactly what will make Kaitlyn happy.
After dropping Ethan off at school (ABA therapy), we hit Target. We bought some kids paint and a giant Mickey Mouse coloring book. I grabbed a couple of Live Sodas (because they make me happy:) and we spent the next 2 hours finger painting. She had a blast, and she is so stinking cute it made me super happy as well.
I just put her down for nap about 20 minutes ago, and I felt compelled to write a blog post. Just a few hours ago, I was a mess. I was unhappy. I was stressed. I was far far away from living in the moment and living in presence. Now, after saying F* it, I am happy. I have pulled myself out of that trance, and I am closer to peace. AND I am in a way better head space to get stuff done during nap time than i would have been had I not said F* the To Do list.
Next time, you’re feeling stressed with the pressures of work, buried by your To Do List, or overwhelmed from the expectations of others, just say F* It and go be happy instead. Go play a round of golf. Meet a friend for coffee and spend the morning catching up, or just spend some time being present with someone you love. After all, “you yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anyone else.”