It’s always “that next thing.”
After the marathon.
Well, after my husband’s birthday.
Oh, wait. After our family vacation.
And then, after BlogHer.
It’s always the next thing, one more thing, one event or to-do on my list or place to be or thing to accomplish…
…that keeps me alive.
All of these things also add anxiety, which kind of adds to the rub of existing at all. But the “one more thing” is what rolls me out of bed in the morning.
“I can’t quit life today, I have a training run.”
“I can’t quit living today, I need to take the boys to the store for new running shoes and backpacks.”
“I can’t give up today, I have a deadline. And God knows I don’t miss a flipping deadline.”
On and on and on, I keep going. I keep waking up. I keep looking at my busy schedule. I keep making breakfasts and lunches and dinners and snacks and messes. I keep working. I keep breaking up fights between brothers or telling them to work it out on their own or wondering if they’ll ever, ever be the friends I want them to be—if I’ll be alive to witness them being the friends I want them to be. One more run, one more race, one more distance. One more conference, one more article written and published, one more byline.
Today, my best friend’s daughter asked me, “Have you written a book?”
“Uh,” I stumbled. “Kind of. I haven’t published it though.”
“Why not?” She looked up at me from behind her impossibly blue eyes, sincerity instead of sarcasm oozing from her soul. The other three kids at the table chimed in with their own ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes’ and ‘yeahs.’ I looked at my friend and shrugged. One more thing.
I have a lot of things left to do in this life, with my life. I know that. Sometimes… sometimes… I get lost in the suck of it all, get lost in the anxiety that makes my brain foggy with doubt and self-loathing. My mind tricks me into thinking that there’s no reason, no point in my sticking around or wading through the muck of it. It’s that “one more thing” that keeps me going, keeps me grounded, keeps me here.
I just scheduled a visit with my daughter and her mother.
It’s our first “girls’ weekend,” and I’m simultaneously excited for it and dreading it. The boys will be away that weekend, so I won’t need to explain where I’m going with a small suitcase on a Friday afternoon. I won’t have to deal with the disappointed looks in their eyes when they learn I’m seeing their sister without them; it’s all they’ve asked for this summer. It’s not in the cards for this summer for so many reasons, none of which fall under my control. I’ll tell them later, after we all return home, and I’ll deal with that fall out as best I can. Together, the lot of us, grieving the relationship we all wish we could have but reality keeps at bay.
This visit is my current “one more thing.”
After that, who knows. But if you’ve ever wondered why I keep myself so busy, why I have so many things on my plate and so many balls in the air and so much stuff to do, this is why.
Because I want to wake up tomorrow. I want to live this life that I’ve been given.