Sometimes I feel like I have an unending list of things I need to do immediately – or at least really soon. I feel like I’m rushing around at full speed and never accomplishing anything. Other times, it seems time stretches out ahead of me with nothing to do. Neither is really true. In some ways, it’s that whole “living in the now” thing again. I’m worrying about things I need to do, some of which I’m putting off until after the holidays. It’s just that some of these things – like getting the power of attorney thing done for dad – feel so huge and overwhelming. Looming. Yes, that’s it. Loooooooooming. Is it that the things are really that big or is it just me worrying and stressing?
I feel responsible for everything. It’s not entirely untrue. Around here, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. I’ve learned to pick my battles. Some things matter more than others. Doing the power of attorney thing – important. Getting his eyes checked – probably a little less important. Getting him to the urologist for his 6 month appointment – important. Bath aide – not immediately important. Surviving Christmas (aka keeping it simple) – really important in the short run.
I saw the shrink Friday. It’s been hard to find time to get to see him and I seem to be managing an appointment about every three months. Maybe that’s all I need – still the shrink is sometimes the only adult conversation I have for weeks at a time. I like going. It’s good to be able to talk about everything going on even if there are no obvious solutions.
This time, he tells me not to worry so much. That all those things I am stressing about will get done when they get done. Let it go. Relax. Things will happen when they happen.
That is so not me. I’m much better at worrying, stressing about the future. Overwhelming myself. Let it go? Relax? It sounds so tempting yet so irresponsible. Isn’t someone supposed to be responsible? Won’t the world fall apart if I don’t stay on top of everything? I’ve paid a couple of bills slightly late because I’ve not had the energy, because I’ve let things go. Isn’t the whole universe going to collapse?
In an odd way, my little garden is reminding me of the truth that I have no control.
It’s been cold, well below freezing at night yet the herbs are still green. They’re being unexpected. They are paying no attention to the rules. They don’t look great but the parsley is still green and fresh. The neighbor’s cats are still getting handfuls of fresh catnip when they visit. Hell, the sage and oregano and thyme are all still good. Wasn’t I supposed to cut things back? Prepare the garden for winter? Wasn’t it all supposed to die when it froze?
Nature does what it does. The herbs are still green and usable even though I have not done the things I thought I should do. Worrying about it would not have made a bit of difference. The plants will die. Most of them will come up again in the spring. All of it without my direct intervention.
Some of the things I need to do are important. They will get done. Others, I need to let go. Worrying about them is not going to help.
And that is the lesson of the parsley.