Thursday 2 November 2023

Drifts of Leaves and Sheaves of Notes

At any given moment, I have approximately 200 tabs open in my browser. My desktops, both literal and digital, are strewn with notes about countless projects in process: Design drawings and details, shopping lists, shipments in progress, travel itineraries, to-dos for days and for TODAY... 

This is an extremely accurate reflection of what it feels like to have this bunch of very different irons in the fire at all times, and to try to hold the line against or amid the chaos, so that basic household functions and beyond keep moving forward without disruption. 

I'm very blessed to have a partner with whom I have a lot of overlap in terms of attention and ability. To an extent, we have our specializations, but we also frequently have to hand the reins over to each other to focus on something more singularly. He has his own stacks of scrawled scraps of paper, calendar reminders and commitments that somewhat resemble mine and also push forward things that remain on the margins of my own consideration. 

And, still. As I try to organize this to aid a sense of clarity as my brain struggles to resettle into this time zone, I'm a little awestruck by the receipts and what they reveal about how broad my focus has to be and how attentive to the details I have to somehow remain. Make sure the renovation proceeds roughly in budget, but also make sure the kiddo has a Halloween costume that fits. Coordinate a busy holiday season, and be sure that the dog and everyone else gets their vaccinations on time. Pay the normal bills, and all of the irregular ones that can lead to losing the house if they are forgotten. Order school pictures, make sure there are lunch supplies, and don't forget to feed yourself. 

Adulting is entropy. Or at least this stage of it, with a young child and a dog and a marriage and a house to keep up, is. It doesn't feel like chaos all the time, but there are certainly moments when I'm trying to organize it all, like redirecting the tide, where I sit back in awe of how far beyond looking out for myself I have gotten. 

Last week, I had a small hotel room to myself. Keeping it tidy with just me in it felt remarkably effortless. I am a maximalist and a clutterbug, and yet, on my lonesome, everything finds its right place by the end of the day, even when I'm thoroughly occupied with business in two time zones across the world from each other and a very full schedule running around a city as big as London. 

I'll admit to looking around at the situation at home and wondering why it isn't cleaner, smoother, more refined. But the truth is, there is a lot of life going on around here. A lot, a lot. There's no way to focus on everything 100% at all times. Balls get dropped; some bounce, some roll away under furniture and emerge covered in dust bunnies, and others manage to be juggled no matter what other parts of the act descend into disarray. And some shatter--rarely, but it happens. 

Like leaves in autumn, these notes and reminders fall at my feet as I keep up the juggle. When I look closely, I can see so much hiding in them: The incubating interests of my growing child. The continued cultivation of curiosity and adventure with my husband. The commitment to building a safe and healthy world that can expand to hold others. The hibernating hopes of old dreams, and the gently composting substrate of countless ideas that often surprise me by providing fertile ground for new possibilities. 

I sweep the path a little here and there, physically and psychically, clearing space for things to grow. On and on it goes...