The following is a conversation that I would have had with my Dad, if my Dad was not in fact dead. Now, I know many of you may talk to the dead or feel they are watching or listening. I am not sure what I think the dead are doing. I mostly think they are busy being dead, frankly.
And this conversation is more of a monologue. I would have talked straight through without breathing, as one does when they have a lot to say and they don't want to be interrupted! (My Dad taught me this!)
He loved a good conversation.
My Dad would have hung on for this whole self-focused, inwardly annoying speech. This was for two reasons:
1. My Dad was a really good Dad, who loved people's stories and he loved conversation.
2. He was deaf in one ear and could tune out at will.
I don't have him anymore. I do have Yoke and this is almost as good as spewing it all out to my Dad. I'd love you to hang on until the end; but you can skim and tune out at will! So, here it goes:
The past two weeks, I've been feeling a bit unhinged with my tendency to accomplishment chase (which is the endless race to accomplish everything.). Here's the deal, I am not a sporty person. If my kid is not on the team I don't care who wins. Heck, even if they are on the team, I don't care who wins. I could read straight through a football game in a stadium (don't worry, I don't do that! I am not a weirdo!)
But, I do like to win and I really like to accomplish. I like to write as much as possible (6 editorial pieces so far this week, 7 letters, 5 marketing emails, 24 subject line pairs, 32 social posts; but who's counting?). I like to read 50 books a year and stay ahead of my goal. I like to plan parties right down to the guest towels in the bathroom and the small size hand sanitizer in a basket on my patio table. I like to organize my outfits for every occasion--right down to the perfect watch band. Summer vacation and camp/school days off, Camp Mommy is in full effect with adventures and activities and crafts and organized goals (cupcake baking! laundry! pottery classes! theater! Season passes everywhere! Culture!) I like (and I cannot believe I am admitting this) making perfect powerpoint presentations with infographics and call outs and detailed insights.
(I don't care if my closet is messy. And I could care-less about the state of the kitchen. Sometimes I don't wash my hair for a week. Other times, I eat lunchmeat straight out of the bag for lunch. I am always over scheduled. I forget meetings constantly. When I remember, I am 3 minutes late always. So I am not a total monster).
My love of winning is why I love a long, detailed, comprehensive list, the crossing out almost gives me a buzz, like I am some sort of accomplishment junkie. And I never give up any items on my list--they are only removed if they are crossed out.
Still, I often have days where I truly believe I've accomplished nothing. And while, I know I am sometimes lazy, often scattered and always distracted, there are not days of nothing. I have 3 children, two very large vegetable gardens, a 120 year old house. several gigs, clients and writing commitments, plus my marriage and mother in an apartment attached to my kitchen and other relationships to maintain. Nothing in a day is an impossibility, right?
But, even as I write, "nothing is an impossibility," there is still this little voice in the back of my head that is listing all the things I haven't accomplished. The items on my list that I did not cross out; the items I did not put on my list and the items I am certainly forgetting entirely. It's like a nagging, whisper--"there is more to do there is more to do."
The whisper literally keeps me typing until 11pm every night. The whisper stops me from drawing firm boundaries with my time. But, I don't want boundaries. I want to accomplish it all.
I am not sure whether I am happy to be this way or totally stressed out or completely insane. I am not sure if my children suffer in some way as I drag them around and make them part of the accomplishment train (I make them read and edit things. I ask their opinions on word choice. They've drafted emails for me while I am driving. During the school year, they have lists and goals and always do extra credit. And they know the two weeks leading up to a party to clear their schedules for the work ahead. And Lily can make a killer powerpoint for school, my powerpoint protege. Chloe can organize any group of people to get decoration up in record time. Nicholas can rally children he's never met into a complicated game within 5 minutes of meeting.).
I don't know if I have any sort of balance or if I need any sort of balance.
It's like my singular focus on accomplishment is somehow more of a plural focus on several different accomplishments that are not related. It feels like I have split personalities-Super Mom sometimes, cancer writer here, blogger there, email marketer over there, grassroots marketer on there and then wife over yonder. We all have to juggle; but what if my singular focus to accomplish everywhere is driving me to just kind of succeed everywhere?
To me, the accomplishment addict, just kind of succeeding is unacceptable.
So, what would my Dad say to me about all this nonsense? Would he tell me to stop being so self absorbed? Would he tell me to go clean the kitchen and stop talking?
I really had to think about his answer--it's been so long. But, I think I know exactly what he would have said:
"I am proud of you. What do you want to have for dinner tomorrow?"
So, friends, if you struggling this week or any week, with feeling worthy or accomplished or valuable, I want you to know that I will listen to your monologue and I am proud of you. And let's have dinner! (I'll plan a theme night and design a table setting. I am starting my list now!).