I am not meant to lead a regimented life. Having to be at work at a given time, having to sleep during a certain time frame, having to set a time limit on projects due to the first two - not for me. I just don't work that way. Not any more.
When I was raising my son, my life was highly regimented. Ask any single parent - it has to be. Not only because there's no partner to share the responsibilities with, but because you're focused on creating and maintaining as "normal" a life-style as possible for your kid(s), a routine they can count on. And so I was extremely organized - I had friends comment on how amazed they were that I could find any warranty, any canceled check, any item of clothing or toy at the drop of a hat. Laundry was regimented - Monday was white clothes - thrown in the washer before I left for work, tossed in the dryer when I got home, folded and put away before I went to bed. Tuesday was dark clothes, Wednesday light clothes, etc etc. The first of each month I wrote up a daily menu - all three meals for each day of the month, so I knew exactly what I had to get for groceries, what to pull out of the freezer the night before.
As my son grew up, my father became ill, and after his death, my mother. A new kind of regimentation - doctor appointments, hospital stays, pills given at certain times in certain dosages...It all had to be on schedule. Taking care of my son, my parent, two households, a job - Efficiency and organization was not only necessary - it was a matter of survival.
I've been on my own now for several years, and working only sporadically as finances necessitated. My days are all my own. I go to sleep when I'm tired, I eat when I'm hungry...I wake up each day and *wonder* what I *want* to do that day. Sure, there are things that *need* to get done - but on the day I choose, at the time I choose. And having to suddenly go back to that scheduled life, even if it is only for a few weeks at a time, is disturbing and irritating to me. And guilt-ridden. I *should* have gotten this done today; I *should* be working on that now. Because if I don't, soon it will be time to get ready for work and it won't have gotten done!
I start on a project and I like to keep working on it until it's either done, or I've exhausted myself. I can't do that when I have to sleep at a certain time or risk falling asleep at work or driving home. I can't do that when I have to stop at a certain time because I have to go to work. And when I would normally be taking my morning constitutional around the yard, cup of coffee in one hand and cigar in the other - I'm finishing up the last rush of the work day before first shift comes onboard.
Maybe age has something to do with it. Or maybe I've finally learned what's really important in life - time. Not time as regimented by the clock, but time as in "stop and smell the roses". There are more important things than having the white clothes done on Monday, than knowing the night before what you'll be eating the next day.
So instead of fretting about what I didn't get done today, I'm going to say "Okay. There are two days of the week I don't have to worry about time. Those are the days I will work on the big projects, the ones I want to deal with on *my time*. The rest of the week, I'll do the little projects, and relax and enjoy the time I have available. And when this stint is done, and all my time is *mine* - I'll appreciate it even more.
So stories will get worked on a little bit here, a little bit there - and probably faster than when I was trying to write while thinking I should be doing something else more constructive. And I will enjoy my days off more, knowing that more are coming, and soon. And I will enjoy them that much more, knowing they are a gift.