Tuesday, March 24, 2015

9/52 :: life right now.

Yesterday, I woke up at 8:00. I ran to The Bookshelf to place a book order before we opened, then went to the bank and to Publix for trash bags and coffee for the shop. I came home and cleaned our rather disgusting kitchen, did three loads of laundry, made our bed, and swept every bit of our 1,000-square foot home. I vacuumed, but quickly realized our vacuum doesn't work, and instead, everything I swept was spit back out onto the floor. I unpacked from our quick weekend trip, cleaned our bathroom, then put makeup on and headed to the library, where we were selling books for an author event. The library over ordered by more than 100 books, which means today, I'll spend part of my morning mailing books back to the publisher and paying for shipping. (Much of small business is learning from my ever constant mistakes. Mistake number one: Never listen to a librarian. Their books, remember, are rentable.)

I ran back to the store and processed our sales through inventory, put out a couple of minor figurative fires, then came back home to clean out my closet of winter clothes. I missed four phone calls and left a dozen emails sitting in my inbox. I read Gretchen Rubin's new book and went to a book club meeting for a book I had read back in December, which means I had to Google to remind myself of the plot. I found out a friend is having a baby boy, and I helped my dad judge limericks for a contest he was hosting at work. I checked almost everything off my list, and after it was all done, I sat in our guest room, surrounded by folded laundry and wondered: Why did I tell the Internet I'd post a thoughtful essay every week? 

My life isn't normal anymore. And I don't know what normal is, really, but I'm going to guess as a small business owner, my normal is at least pretty different from yours. And that's okay. It's the choice I made. Some of you had to work from 8 to 5 behind a desk on Monday; others of you had to wrangle babies and go to preschool and clean up messes. We can whine to each other about how little time we all have, or we could just acknowledge: Yeah, in the middle of all that, I watched three episodes of Friends out of sheer exhaustion. 

I'm determined to post regularly in this space. But I think I've limited myself by promising thoughtful essays when sometimes, my thoughts can't really be put into words. Not neat or pretty ones ready for publishing. 

This, then, is an essay about life right now. About beating my husband at March Madness and recording weekly podcasts and visiting long-distance friends and trying to fit in in a small town. Life right now looks like pollen all over my front porch and an incessant buzzer on a dryer full of clean clothes I don't want to fold. Life right now means starting over at a new church and answering countless questions and knowing not everyone thinks we're doing the right thing. Life right now is a postponed trip to Washington, D.C., and a massage I got for my birthday that I still haven't done.

2015 was supposed to be different, wasn't it? Isn't that the truth we all told ourselves on January 1?

And yet, here I am in March -- almost April -- wondering where the time has gone and what I have done with it.

Yesterday was a good day. I'm proud of what I accomplished, and I'm grateful I have a job that allows me some flexibility in my schedule. Tonight, I'll take a knitting class, and Jordan and I will sign up for a Wednesday night study at the Anglican church. I'll keep reading Gretchen Rubin's new book, and I'll take some notes on starting new and better habits. 

It was a long winter, I think. And I'm hopeful -- so hopeful -- for spring. And for every over-ordered book or misunderstood conversation or sock I can't find the match for, there are good things, too. There are Sunday drives and basketball games and snail mail and good books and kinds words and new habits and cokes with crushed ice.

Everything, as it turns out, is going to be okay. Done is better than perfect. And that is life right now.


Cheryl Kozachenko said...


I've read your blog for years and I love hearing your voice. You are a friend I have never met. I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to put pressure on yourself to make your essays thoughtful. Anything you share is a joy to read. I love hearing about your quirky kathleen kelly life, your struggles in a new small town, even just getting older. Its so nice reading a kindred spirit. So thank you for taking the time to share, whenever you can!

Laura Beggs said...

Ditto, Cheryl! Keep on writing, Annie! Keep on being Annie!

Annie said...

I agree with Cheryl; it's a joy simply to read your words, Annie. What study are you and Jordan signing up to do on Wednesdays?

Laura said...

Thanks for posting - if for nothing more than making me feel better about my frazzled life. I love reading your writing. Even when it's not a "thoughtful essay" it's still beautiful.