I enjoy weeding. It is a job that is never really finished and is truly futile, as soon as you pull one clump out, another one appears. There are endless spots to start and it never seems like any spot is finished.
Weeding is equal parts productive and unproductive--I find myself completing bits of a task that can never be completed, ensuring that I am still needed and relevant. Weeding confirms my usefulness and since I'll never truly complete the task of weeding, at least not permanently, I am useful for infinity; there is no expiration date on weeding or on being the weeder, unless, of course, you are the one who expires.
But, I don't want to explore into my own mortality or anything that serious.
I really just want to talk about this feeling and nagging sense that I am not sure how to be useful anymore. Maybe it is middle age or the writing life crisis I have every other day or the downward vacation re-entry spiral or the stress of changes I know are happening in parts of my own work life or my kids growing up or the way the pandemic seemed to stall and then accelerate time, but I have this increasing sense that I am not useful, at least not in the ways that satisfy me and the greater world.
It's like I simply don't know what to do; even though all around me there is so much to do. I see all the things to do--laundry, deadline, write, hustle for more work, manage the children, purge the closets, plan the rest of the summer, organize vacation photos, clean something, do something, anything--but there is no instruction manual. It is as if I picked up a board game that looks interesting and has intriguing parts, but the instruction sheet is missing and there is only one dice; not a pair and clearly there needs to be a pair; and I am not sure how to play, but I've invested in the game, so I have to at least pretend to play. But I cannot even start, because I keep circling back to that fundamental problem that there is no instruction manual and I don't even know how to start the game.
It's all a lot, friends.
Sometimes, I think it was much easier when I was younger--in my twenties and thirties--when things were more clear. My career--just keep working towards a promotion. Motherhood--just keep the little ones happy and entertained and fed. Now, both these fundamental parts of my life seem blurry. I am not young enough to be a new at it all and I am too old to be confused about what to do.
So, weeding, it is. The weeds are always there to pull; it is all very straight forward; I will never finish and in that, I am infinitely useful.