I saw this photo on Facebook last Friday, and all I can do is heartily agree. I feel like my life has been a non-stop whirlwind lately. I have always enjoyed being busy. It is one of the reasons I love living on a farm. I don’t know what to do with myself when there isn’t some chore or project to work on. I’m not big on relaxing with television or movies (to the point that I am pretty sure it drove my college roommate crazy because I couldn’t sit through a show without leaving to do dishes or something else productive). Tis the season for that to shine I suppose. Spring is always a time of growth and rapid change. There is always a flurry of activity that leads into the growing season. This year’s has just been even crazier than usual.
My grandpa passed away in February leaving me with a bunch of outbuildings to clean and rehab, in addition to a LOT more grass to mow, and a ton of exciting (but overwhelming) opportunities. In addition to that, I bought a house. Because, hey, why not compound that overwhelming amount of yard, with another two acre yard. Go big or go home, right?
Right. Check. Got that. Did that. Own the t-shirt. Damn near started a business printing the t-shirt because I just can’t say no to adding more things to my plate. AHHH! Stress is exhilarating!!! Until it isn’t.
Halfway through getting my garden in last week I about had a meltdown. I had already smushed my hand between the rather large lawn mower and a tree – leading me to believe that prayer must work because the accident really should have removed fingers or at least broken something. My guardian angel has got some overtime coming her way! Anyway, in addition to pain priming myself for a crying spree; I had let myself become obsessed with my to do list. Anyone who lives on a farm, no matter how big or small, should realize one thing about farms and to do lists. Farms make NEVER ENDING to do lists.
Seriously, something is always coming up. There is always a garden to weed, or a fence to fix, a barn to repair, livestock to check, plants to water, grass to cut, invasive plants to kill… I think you get the idea. You will never accomplish everything on the list. Plain and simple. You have to do what you can, when you can, and try to not drive yourself insane by impulse buying ten bags of organic potatoes that were on sale for $1.99/ five pounds and trying to process them during planting season. It does not end well.
Though I have found that I can process ten pounds of potatoes over my hour long lunch break, and that Captain America has some awesome potato chopping skills. Yay date night! (Despite this, I still have 10 pounds to go. WHOO!)
Anyway, to summarize: I was trying to mow well over fifteen acres of yard, plant my entire garden, process 50 pounds of potatoes, figure out how to remodel a bathroom, stress about moving things around up at grandpa’s so that the massive fixing spree can happen, and stay on top of my regular chores in the three hours of daylight that I had after work. In three days. Because it was going to start raining Thursday and not stop until this week. Plus, I have plans virtually every weekend. On a side note volunteering at the food pantry in St. Louis Saturday was incredibly rewarding, though a bit disturbing. Who on earth donates opened products (Mm, half used quinoa! Not sketchy at all!) and cans that expired in 1999? Really guys?
I like to call last week my extreme exhaustion challenge. It makes it seem much happier that way. In the midst of it, my mom gave me some very good advice: “Stop spending your life trying to be a weatherman and predicting when the storm will hit. You’re obsessing with when the rain is going to come rather than enjoying the sunshine!” I would like to say that I immediately stopping stressing/crying/working myself sick and really got that statement, but it took me a few days. I was very good about enjoying the little things with grandpa when he was alive. I stopped and admired the clouds and the sunshine with him, but since he has gone I have been (maybe distracting myself from grief?) overwhelming myself with responsibilities, trying desperately to maintain and do things the way he would have wanted. It is the same with the neighbor’s house I purchased, I want to care for it the way Evelyn and Ralph always did.
I want to honor their memory with my actions, but at some point I have to admit that I am just one person and I can’t take care of things the way that three people were able to. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter that the grass isn’t immaculate, because it is just going to grow again. And the land is mine to care for now, not theirs. I need to be a good steward, but by God if I want to rearrange the buildings that are falling down on themselves and have to be rebuilt anyway to suit my goals I should. I shouldn’t make myself crazy over it.
What is the point in having everything to take care of if I can’t stop and enjoy it? If I don’t get in the habit now, I will make a habit of not enjoying it that will be very hard to break. I will always have too much to finish; and this making everything a priority bit that I have been doing lately is only serving to make me insane, and make nothing a priority.
So, here is to better prioritizing, and not making myself sick with guilt when I want a damned pedicure. Ha!