Deadlines

It’s three in the morning and I’m awake and on the couch.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, I’m my mother after all.”

Yet I’m too young to be my mother. She takes sleeping pills to sleep through the night. I’m not ready to add another pill to my daily regimen. Yet think of all the writing that I can get done if I get up at three.  Isn’t early morning supposed to be the most creative time for true authors?

I know why I am awake. Two reasons. My nighttime cold medicine has worn off—I got five hours out of it, which is just about right for me. The other is I am stressed over how to arrange the bedrooms for family that is coming for the holiday. Wouldn’t you think that because they are family and grew up in this house they would just know where the beds are and organize themselves accordingly? But no, I had to paint the bedrooms, buy new bedding, and even buy a new bed, for the few weeks–even days for one daughter and family–that they are going to be here. When you have an open concept house the bedrooms off the living area is very important. But only when we have guests. Otherwise I am not concerned with how they look, how clean they are. I just close the doors and only I know that they are receptacles for all of the detritus of daily living that lacks a home.

We have always used family gatherings as excuses to get things done on the house: baby showers, rehearsal dinners, weddings, anniversary parties, even Christmas dinners. If it wasn’t for these events, I don’t think we would have ever done any updating to the house. But the Fourth of July? Does that really qualify as an event worthy of a remodel, even a minor one?

People said that they were concerned that I would be bored when I retired yet I am finding myself saying what all the other early retirees before me have said:

I’m so busy I don’t know how I found time to work.

Yet busy doesn’t mean productive, nor does it mean living a meaningful life, something that should be of the upmost importance to me. I have to remind myself that it’s only been six weeks now since I retired and I am still getting used to not having to go to work, to now having nine hours of free time stretch in front of me each day that normally would be committed to work. At a paying job. If I could turn those nine hours into writing hours, or at least hours focused on writing, researching, reading about writing, just think how much progress I could make on my projects. I have a deadline, however arbitrary, and unknown, at this point.

Maybe if it were a concrete one I would be motivated. And then again, maybe not.

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