For months now I have been beating myself up about not getting things done in the time frame that I want them done in. I've told myself that I have set my expectations too high and should be happy with any progress, whatsoever. I have told myself that "life happens" and things aren't necessarily going to get done in the time frame that I want them to.
Last week I broke my little toe on my right foot.
And, man, did it hurt! When I initially hurt it, I screamed and then I cried. My son graciously put his hands over his ears and then told me I was "too loud." I told myself it was just a stubbed toe and continued to do what I was doing.
An hour later I knew it was not a stubbed toe. My foot was swelling and my toe was turning black and blue and walking, well, hurt.
By the time I had spent a fitful night sleeping and then called the clinic first thing when they opened, I had this idea in my head that I was going to have to have surgery on my toe, that I would be in a cast for weeks, if not months, and that I wouldn't be able to walk or drive a car for that amount of time. Such is how my imagination runs away with me when I'm in panic mode.
My lovely husband tried to reassure me that it was probably just a sprain. That just made me mad! "What are we going to do?", I wailed (literally) at him in the van on the way to my doctor's appointment.
It really was broken. Getting my shoe on was almost impossible. And walking really hurt. Did I say really loud enough?
The good news was that the break was clean, the toe wasn't in any way out of alignment and it should heal very nicely. If I kept it up and iced regularly over the weekend I could get back to driving my car by Monday or Tuesday and regular non-impact activity by Wednesday (although, no Jazzercise or running for 4-6 weeks). They didn't even need to splint or 'buddy tape' it. Whew.
I was relieved but still frustrated. How on earth was I going to get done everything I needed to accomplish by September 17th (my next deadline) and how were we going to run the kids around as needed with only one driver?
Add into this that my car has been quitting on my at unexpected moments and the mechanics can't figure out what is going on and that my son fell, sliced his lip open and chipped a tooth as we were on our way out the door to our anniversary 'weekend', and I was seriously feeling overwhelmed and definitely sorry for myself.
As I lay on the couch with my foot up and a bag of frozen peas camped out on top of it, I decided to write up a list of things that I could do that didn't require standing, first, and that didn't require much motion, second.
Um, guess what.
Most of the things I needed to do fell on that list. Reading? Yep. Scheduling appointments? Yep. Transcript work? Yep. Sorting and filing? Yep. Ironing? Yep, though not right away. Filling out paperwork? Yep. Paper writing? Yep. Course planning? Yep. Sewing two quilt tops for Lutheran World Relief? Yep, though, again, not right away. Running my kids places? Yep, though not right away. Play some games, watch a movie, read to and sign with my kids? Yep.
I realized that I had so very much to be thankful for - no missed work without pay because of my injury, my children and husband will not starve, or go naked, or have a lack of clean water because I can't walk for a couple days, and I really have an awful lot I can do. So I started making a list of what I was going to do this week.
I also realized something else.
That something else is this: When I don't get things done, I rarely have anyone or anything to blame but myself. Or conversely, I'm just being lazy.
I've been suffering from such an "I don't wanna" attitude for so long now that I didn't even realize it until now. Looking at what I can do rather than what I can't made the difference.
I tend to get overwhelmed by the volume of things I have to do. I tend to over analyze things rather than actually do them - convinced that I just have to find the best way of doing it first. I've convinced myself that I just need to take a little break and read a book, read the same blog entry yet again, or that I need another snack or drink before I can continue. And I don't get things done.
I put all that behind me and looked at what I can do rather than what I can't do or don't know how to do (yet!).
And boy has it made the difference in what I've gotten done since Saturday! I've cleaned out 2 1/2 rooms, gotten my course materials for the course I'm teaching this fall put together, finishing going through one more transcript (the longest one yet!), spent time reading and playing board games with my kids, completely rearranged the family room (with help from John and the kids), sent what seems like a million emails, worshiped, sung songs, read 2 books, made 10 meals, and had an at-home date with John.
And you know what? It feels great. I even revamped my exercise routine for this 4-6 weeks as well - and I'll write more about that tomorrow.
Yes, I realize it's too soon to know if it will last permanently. But I think it will.
Looking at what I can do rather than what I can't made all the difference.
What more can I ask for?