I think it might be a thing.
The other day, I found myself looking around in horror at garden, seeing nothing but the work that needs to be done. And then it seemed so ridiculous, because this is self-imposed. Oh sure, the garden needs to be maintained to the point of not becoming a neighborhood eyesore. But stressing out over it, no no no. I garden because I love it. Thusly, I pulled myself up by the collar, reminding myself that I do not need to get crazy over tasks I want to do, especially in the garden.
Plus there are some glorious happenings out there that having nothing to do with task mastering.
The question it raises, though, how did I get the notion I always have to do something else first before I can do the thing I really want to do? For instance, I wrestle with the idea of having to weed before I can put new plants in the ground. And I don’t mean just the one place where I want to put them. I mean the whole damn garden. Do other people impose rules like this on themselves?
My friends joke about the fact that my vacuum cleaners is almost always out. In my defense, I vacuum daily. I have three animal, in addition to us messy humans. But, here’s the wrinkle. If I want to vacuum a tumbleweed-sized furball in the back hall–and the machine is in the living room–I have to vacuum my way to it. I would never unplug the vacuum and carry it directly to the furball. I vacuum as far as the cord will reach, and then change to a new plug–which hopefully will get me where I’m trying to go. I’ve seen the men walk past any kind of mess to vacuum another mess, but I just can’t do it. Is this brain style–or men vs. women?
I’ve been pondering this for a long time: how did I ever come to the conclusion that I have to do something else first? I think it’s partly my brain prepping for a task, but I can get stuck. You know how many weeds there are on Earth–or dirt, for that matter: the Earth is made of dirt, for Pete’s sake. I once discussed the something-else-first topic with Megan’s harp teacher, Marion Fouse. Marion looked puzzled for a second, and then said, “Honey, do what you want to do first. You’ll always do what you must do.”
That seems reasonable, no? Not to mention, how could I ever get anything done if I adhered to the philosophy of having to weed first? The truth is, I’m a puzzle worker. I inch my way thru, adding pieces here and there, discovering through the process. I’m so glad I finally understand this about myself–that people approach learning and problem-solved in myriad ways. And that it’s good to trust yourself to use your own process, provided it works for you.
Now, I rarely let new plants die in the pot, contemplating where they’re going to go. (This was not true earlier, when I thought I had to get everything right first rattle. Pretty sure this has something to do with the kind of brain I have, and/or Sr. Petronelli in first grade. Scary.) I know now, it doesn’t really matter where exactly I plant, because chances are, the first place something lands is not the last.
As far as weeding goes, I’ve accepted that it’s got to be done–and have made peace with that. Sometimes when gardening notions are spinning around in the ole idea-O-matic, getting outside to pull a few weeds helps me work the puzzle. It makes me stop, look in one place, see things in limited scale.
Something new is happening every day. My ADD/OCD style brain comes in handy for many things. I can generate a million ideas. I wrote a novel with this brain–and one of these days, I’m going to take it out of the drawer and set it free. But if I allow my brain run roughshod, casting its ever widening net, gathering more ideas, always having to do something else first, I’m going to miss out on a lot of cool beans.