I have a hard time, sometimes, accepting that it’s okay for me not to have a traditionally productive day. Even when there are things that need to be done.
I’m wrapping up a lot of things that have been stressing me out; or, not even stressing me out, but just, I don’t know, taking up mental and emotional resources? I met up with the old friend I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade, I got a chance to catch up with another friend I hadn’t seen since her engagement in April (and got asked to be maid of honor!), GISH week wrapped up, and I finished my second-to-last week of ESY. Three more days of work this week, and I have two-and-a-half weeks off.
That’s plenty of time to be productive. I had a productive two weeks at the start of summer; there is nothing keeping me from doing the same at the tail end. I even managed to get the worst of the overwhelming housework done this weekend (including cleaning up my art work space and folding about five weeks of laundry), so with a little but of planning and follow-through, my house could be spotless by Friday.
So why do I feel such an intense, aimless restlessness right now? Why do I feel like I should be on my hands and knees with a scouring pad, or hunched over a pallete mixing paints, or plugging away in front of a screen (oh… I guess I’m kind of doing that, huh)?
It is so hard sometimes to remember that my focus this year is on perseverance and patience, and that — sort of by necessity — means I won’t always be doing. Sometimes I’ll be planning, or organizing, or prioritizing.
Hell, sometimes I’ll just be resting, because goddamnit, there are some task for which you really, really need to rally all your mental reserves before you embark on them.
I am making lists of the chores and projects I want to complete during my vacation. I am taking inventory of all my cabinets and making lists of the organizer bins and baskets I need to buy. I am taking literal notes on the areas in my house that I need to plaster and repaint. I am pricing out floor tiles and stocking up on cleaning supplies.
I am keeping a journal of art ideas. I am reading articles about watercolor technique and the best brushes to achieve a particular effects. I’m sketching thumbnails of hopefully soon-to-be in-the-works projects.
I signed up for a “virtual writer’s retreat” that starts today. I installed Libby and started listening to a book, because it’s harder for me to resist the call of my phone than I’d like to admit, and I know this will make it easier to ensure I “read” more, which will hopefully help me write more. I’ve tossed my notebook back in my bag so I have it on me at all times. I’m pinning flash fiction and poetry prompts to Pinterest.
None of that feels real; none of that feels like “doing,” but it’s all part of the process, and when your energy runs low, doing literally any of those things is so, so much better than stalling out and wallowing in procrastinatory self-loathing. It is so, so hard for me to believe this, even the hundredth time through. Even after the waiting and planning and gathering of the wits have resulted in the work and efforts I remain the most proud of.
I am not doing nothing. I am laying the foundations.
Hopefully tomorrow comes with renewed energy, and a chance to start building upon it.