During our two-week stay in Maine, I was without internet access most of the time, and I was without my to-do list. For the first week I was on a schooner, with other people around me. For the second week, I was in a quiet island house, where my biggest concern was keeping the laundry done, since I hadn't packed for the right weather.
My biggest concern was the laundry! That's a shift for the woman who went to work for the last time on June 25 and had a list of goals to start working on right away. In Maine, I had nothing but time. In spite of myself, I used that time to slow down and consider where I am now, three months into not working.
Here's where I am now. I still have a to-do list, but the only things I do - unless I feel like it - are what absolutely needs to be done: pay the bills, file amended tax returns, and reread my writing group's collaborative piece in time for our Tuesday night meeting. The rest of my time is open for whatever I say "yes" to.
For some reason, I'm surprised to be doing more writing. It wasn't on my list of goals on June 25. I've been writing for years, doing not much with it, so I hadn't given it any thought when I was setting my goals. However, I am committed to saying "yes". And the writing is coming up more often in my list. (1) Blog today (2) Work on the piece about the schooner crew - which idea came to me when I had no intention of doing any writing (3) Look into self-publishing the Vietnam memoir written in 2006, which I spent a year and a half writing and then never sent out because it didn't fit any writing market I could find.
Maybe it's because writing requires chunks of time, and I never had that before. Or because writing is hard, and working on spreadsheets is easy. Or because productivity looked virtuous.
One of my goals on June 25 was to learn to teach ESL. Since starting my online course, I've been procrastinating, which I don't usually do. I've now realized it's because I don't want to teach. I just want to help learners. I'm finishing the online course, but there's no fear now, because I've more accurately assessed my ESL goal. I probably don't ever want to stand in front of a class again. But I do want to sit at a table with someone who wants to learn. See, I'd misstated my goal. Multiple friends, both online and face to face, have made that gentle suggestion. When I was in Maine, I got it, and I feel much better.
Another of my goals is to work with Habitat for Humanity, and I'm participating in a build on October 9 and October 16. I knew I needed to get in shape, and I had ideas for a rigorous exercise program. What's actually happened is that, when we were in Maine, we used our feet and public transportation to get around. Last week we walked 32 miles, but it wasn't to get the exercise - it was to get to town or the library or the farmer's market or the LLBean outlet or the Apple store at the Maine Mall. And we carried our luggage a bunch. So, in the course of my life I got my exercise. Not in the course of going to the gym. This seems more sensible to me, but of course I didn't get it before because my time was taken up with all the things I had to do when I was working.
I have a retired friend who said, "Don't squander your time." I used to think that meant to keep busy. Now I think it means use the time well - whether that means taking a nap when I'm tired, spending time in conversation with friends and family, or playing a game of Sudoku each morning. Or taking time to slow down and consider where I am now.