There are times when a low-grade, sort of murky acid-green anxious static runs in the background of my life. It’s that relentless sense of urgency, telling me that I should’ve finished that yesterday (!), or last month, or at least before I started this. It’s a constant sense of I Didn’t Do Enough and Now I’m Hopelessly Behind. It could be about anything. Could be about calling the plumber or writing the memoir.
But now I have a sweet little reminder that I keep near my heart. It’s this:
I am going to die. We are all going to die. (Let this sink in.)
Maybe I’d die when I’m 94, maybe tonight in my sleep. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just inevitable. And knowing this fills me with relief. Why? Because I am reminded that I’ll never get it ALL done. And nobody really cares anyway—not in the way my big fat ego thinks they do. The only moment I will ever have, ever, is this one. And the only one who can care about that is me. And no amount of list making or list conquering changes that.
So I can relax. I can do whatever it is I get done, and let that be enough for now. And nobody will die from that. They might die from something else, but not from my relaxing about my to do list.
I look at my watch. It’s time. End of the day. I draw a bath. I call to mind the things I actually did get done today. More than I had given myself credit for. Little steps, I took. All day. Excellent. Enough. Bye, day. See you tomorrow.