I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. My mind started racing around and over and through and back around my to-do list. But here's the thing; it wasn't stress that was keeping me up. It was excitement. I couldn't wait to get up and start working on my t0-do list...how often does that happen?!
For many people, rarely. A to-do list just means work. Actually, it means MORE work because we often have things that need to get done that aren't on the list because they are in our heads and we are on autopilot when it comes to completing them (i.e. doing the dishes, making dinner, paying bills). To-do lists can also be scary to some, as is the case with a friend of mine. There are things on her list I know she is freaking out about and avoiding because it makes her face some truths she's not ready (or wanting) to deal with yet.
But my to-do list this week is a good one for me. Yes, it's filled with the mundane (drop off package at the post office, clean out closet) and it's filled with what I like to call "high maintenance" action items--things that require a lot of time and energy from me with no immediate, tangible results (though I'll see results down the road) like brainstorm logo ideas for my marbling identity, finish writing the food essay, and plant winter greens in the garden. But all the things on my to-do list lead to one gigantic benefit: It gets me to where I want to go and whom I want to be.
And what does that look like?
I want to be organized. I want to be a serious marbler. I want my writing to be published. I want to create. I want time to be still. I want to learn new things. I want to be a good friend and the best wife. I want fresh produce grown veganically. I want to travel.
When you know what you want from life, the to-do list doesn't seem like a hindrance. It feels like a tool. Or a road map. Or, as in this case, a shot of adrenalin. Sometimes it's startling to me to be so focused and driven. Sometimes that rush goes from motivating to stressful (and then I know it's time to step back and regroup as clearly my priorities have changed). But in the end, I see my list less as something I "have to do" and more of something I "get to do." There is choice built into every actionable item; to do or not to do, the consequences of which I am in complete and total control of.
I got to cross off a few fun items on my list today so I hope that tames my enthusiasm just enough to get through the eight hours I need for sleep tonight. I know I'll be having a large glass of wine before bed to help out a little too. That and the cool, gentle touch of my husband's hand on my back usually do the trick. If not, perhaps I'll consider adding "sleep through the night" to my to-do list!