This is the thought that springs to mind when I take a swig of mouthwash this morning, and am so tired I almost swallow it absentmindedly. I think to myself I’ll go to bed early tonight and get caught up and then I can be back on top of things. False. I have a committee meeting tomorrow I need to prepare for, on top of the 9 things on today’s to-do list that will take at least an hour a piece.
The lawn didn’t get mowed (sorry, DH). Bills got paid, letters got written, plans for fall semester were researched, errands got done, and paperwork, and phone calls and vacuuming and herbs are hanging to dry. Videos from my sister-in-law’s wedding are uploaded for DH since he couldn’t be there for the big day and was pretty torn up about it. There was a time, before we were homeowners, before we had dogs (and fish), before we grew our own food, before I really understood the costs of cheap prepared foods, before someone could show up at the door any day between 5 am and midnight and somehow my brain is convinced that at least my dignity would be intact if only the house is vacuumed every day and no dishes sit in the sink or stacks of papers on the ottoman in that eventuality.
There was a time when “after this is over” (big paper, semester, internship) there really was time to rest, read a book, watch a movie. Now, there is only closer or farther from actually being on top of things, you never do reach the summit of Mt. Laundry anymore. And we don’t even have kids yet! I assume my capacity will just keep expanding, but there was a time back in college when you could, briefly, for up to 2 weeks, coast. You could function at less than 100% of your capacity. For the last 5 years, it has been more a matter of increasing what 100% represents, and that, ultimately, is adulthood. Continuing to grow and stretch and create and produce and learn and labor and hopefully stretch our capacity. DH says, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I hope he’s just exaggerating, that our golden years are full of sleep and books and laying in hammocks and swimming and travel and museums and eating out at farm to table restaurants.
The final ashrama or life stage in ancient sanskrit texts, after the work of raising a family, working land, and contributing to society, there was withdrawing to find one’s own peace and enlightenment. Okay, maybe adulthood does end, around the time we embark on retirement. But not everyone makes it that far, so let’s not forget to step off the hamster wheel once in a while even if things get left un-done. My back hurts and my brain’s fried and now I’m going to take a hot bath with a glass of wine and an espionage thriller. Maybe I won’t edge the lawn this week, and honestly, I don’t think the neighbors will even care.