Hey Ruth, I didn’t get anything done.

by MW Cook

I had it all prepared, though. I had a mental list of all the things that needed to get done today. I decided to rush off to University right after dropping Asha at school. I’d get there more than an hour before my first class. Tons of time to get things done.

I had to make breakfast quickly. Then Asha woke up wet, so she needed a bath and the sheets needed to be changed. Then we seemed to lose one of each and every glove in the house (now she’s wearing a red mitten on one hand and a black glove on the other). We were almost late to school. But I kept my plan to get things done intact. I went straight to the subway station and squeezed into a train. I hadn’t seen them this crowded in ages. I felt close to you then, thinking about how squished the buses and vans in Pakistan are.  But finally I made it. I found an empty library and fell into a chair. I had plenty of time still.

Good looking fellow, eh?

But in the tyranny of getting things done, I wrecked myself. I sat in the library with an exhausted and scattered mind. I got sick like you know I sometimes do when I overdo things. I could have pushed myself a little more, but it would have made me miserable and it would have made the work shitty.

What irrational things I do in order to get things done! As if getting things done was the purpose of my birth. As if I could ever get anything done. There will always be another book to write, another essay to draft, another text to read. There is no end to the things I have to get done. So why go crazy over it? Why sully my life with stress?

I gave up and bought a coffee. Then I remembered that I’m not here to get things done. I’m not really here for anything. I’m just here. And since I’m here, I might as well do.

It was easier after that. Because instead of trying to get it all done, I just spent what time I had doing. It’s not the end of the work that I’m after (that will never come). I’m just enjoying the doing of it. So I opened up my Michel de Montaigne text and this lovely passage noticed me:

I want Death to find me planting my cabbages, neither worrying about it nor the unfinished gardening.

Have a fourth day that does without worrying about getting it done, Ruth. I’ll say Hey again tomorrow.