My grandfather died.
He died on a Saturday. The first of November. We found out on Sunday, drove up Monday, attended the funeral Tuesday, and drove back Wednesday. I’ve been chasing my tail ever since, trying to take care of the things I was supposed to do those few days. Which didn’t really seem like that much until I didn’t do it.
I haven’t even had time to process how I feel about losing Pop. I’m awash in deadlines and bills and the holidays and busy work. It’s all just frickin’ busy work.
This is not how I want to live my life. Not that I want to do nothing — quite the opposite. But to feel like I can’t take a few days off, to grieve or travel or just hang out with my family a bit, without having to run double-time to catch up afterwards…well, it makes taking time off seem not worth the effort.
A while back, I wrote this:
Here’s a list of things I still want to do anyway:
* Learn to play an instrument. (Actually two.)
* See Stonehenge.
* See the Blarney Stone. (Not kissing it, though, because ew.)
* Visit Paris. (Though it’s not as high on my list as Stonehenge…or even the Blarney Stone. If I were honest, however, I’d probably be happier visiting a less populated area of France.)
Nothing else listed was on my list in the first place, or if it was, it no longer is. One of the nice things about getting older is you can be more realistic about yourself. (I would, for instance, hate Burning Man. I might not hate it quite so much if it were nearer to civilization and not out in the desert, but I would still hate it. Crowds are not my thing. The desert in the summer is not my thing. And camping? Forget it.)
There aren’t a tremendous amount of trips on my bucket list. Because while I would like to see certain places, I hate traveling. Mostly what’s on my bucket list are things I want to learn and do. And someday I’ll get around to writing it all down.
But the bottom line is, I don’t let lists like this inhibit me because we’re all different. One person’s dream is another’s personal idea of hell.
I really meant to revisit it, polish it up and maybe expand upon the train of thought. But it never happened. Because I can’t think that far ahead. Right now, my priorities are more like this:
* Make the minimum amount I need to pay bills next month.
* If I do that, and still have time left before invoice, I try to make enough to maybe pay for some of the prenatal care fees.
* If I do that and still have time left, I try to squeeze in a little extra work so maybe I can buy Christmas presents.
* Spend time with my family.
* Take a nap.
* Maybe clean a little, wash a load of clothes.
* Go for a walk if I have the energy.
* Work on a project.
* Fret about all the things I’m not doing.
Long-term, I’m plotting how to afford nursery furniture for the baby, and trying to come up with ways I can cut corners financially so we can start saving up for a house; the kids can share a room for a while, but in a few years they will likely start to protest.
That’s it. That’s all the further ahead I can think. And all I can manage to worry about are the basics; bucket list items aren’t even on my horizon.
Even still, things fall through the cracks. Like the letter I’d meant to send my grandparents, with recent photos of my child. I finally decided to hold out until I had the sonogram, and send those pictures too. My grandfather died the day after I had the sonogram, though, so that didn’t happen.
But perhaps the point I should be taking away from all this is that I’m focused on life. My life, right now. My daughter’s life. My partner’s life. The life that’s growing inside of me. Not what I want to do before I die, because I don’t plan on doing that for a good many years.
I really don’t have time for it anyway.
What I need to do is start finding ways to take care of the essentials that will leave me time to enjoy the stuff I want to do, too. Because there’s nothing that makes time feel wasted like pointless busy-ness. If I were to die tomorrow, that would be my regret. Not the big things I didn’t do, but the little things I missed.