Today’s topic is: “Tell us about something you lost.”
This fall, I will turn 40. Over the years, I’ve lost many things: possessions, thoughts, weight, patience, jobs, friends, my virginity. But I recently discovered I’ve lost something I didn’t realize know I had.
Years ago, I worked behind a computer for a large investment management firm in downtown Boston. That 9-to-5 life was stressful at times, but it also afforded me a sense of structure, friendly co-workers, and a (monetary) ruler against which to measure my success.
When I became a stay-at-homemaker (stay at home mom + homemaker), all of that changed. For the last five years, I’ve tried to plan out what I wanted to accomplish each day; on more days than not, it didn’t happen as I hoped.
But just recently, I realized that I’ve lost my expectations of productivity.
Spending the last 1,825 days without a schedule, daily expectations have finally worn off. I no longer wake up in the morning wondering what I will try to get done that day. In fact, my productivity expectations are now so low that if a single load of laundry gets finished or I manage to prepare a hot dinner for my family, I call it a win for the day.
It’s less about being disappointed by not accomplishing tasks and more about appreciating the little triumphs in my new life.
Yesterday, however, was an unusually productive day. With the help of my husband and our two daughters (now 2 and 3.5), we blanched and froze three and a half gallons of broccoli from our garden. Then I made a half-gallon of almond milk and harvested a handful of pea pods from the garden. Then I made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, followed by an hour of quiet time (naps for some, writing for me). In the late afternoon, the girls and I drove to the city, dropped off some seedlings that will be transplanted into my friend Mary’s garden, bought 20 pounds of Bing cherries, and stopped by another friends house to borrow her cherry pitter. Then we returned home to pit and freeze half of them for future use in smoothies and pies.
That may seem like a lot of nothing, but since our typical day is spent reading stories, playing with teddy bears, and riding bicycles, actually being able to see the results of my time and effort is kind of nice.
How have your productivity expectations changed over time? Share in the comments.
~ Phoebe DeCook