5 things I will do, and 5 things I will not

Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

Yesterday, I headed out to buy cat food. I parked my car, went into the store, pulled out a shopping cart, looked around . . . and realized that I was at Staples.  (True, the pet store is just next door. Still, this is a first.)

For the past few days, I’ve been unusually distracted and distractable, anxious, and unsettled. Being threatened with eviction will do that to you. At least, it will to me. My thoughts are shooting in all directions, but everything seems hazy. I’m doing my best to get things done without knowing what to do.

Back home from errands, it occurred to me that I need to simplify. I need to be clear about what I’ll do – and what I will not. Here’s my first crack at setting down a set of personal guidelines (a sort of mini-experiment within my experiment of nesting).

I will:

1. Write something every day. (Because writing always makes things better.)

2. Get at least some exercise every day. (And yes, a walk counts.)

3. Look for a place to live.

4. Do something soothing / nice for myself each day.

5. Fractal flower pitching.

I will not:

1. Expect myself to be operating at full capacity.

2.  Tell myself I shouldn’t be so distressed — or anything else that I, in fact, am.

3. Do one more thing that I don’t want to do unless I really have to.

4. Draw conclusions about what any of this means

5. Give myself a hard time for eating weird meals (cottage cheese and carrots anyone?) or relying on prepared food. (Yes, I could make it more cheaply myself, and I will again. Just not now.)


So in the course of the day, I took a long walk, did some writing, and checked out real estate listings before springing for a raspberry lemonade at Cup and Top. At the moment, making lemonade out of life’s lemons feels a bit beyond me. But real lemonade on a summer day is a pretty good distraction.

Copyright © Amy Gutman. All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on “5 things I will do, and 5 things I will not

  1. I wish I could send this to a colleague at work, who is dealing with terrible personal stuff and insisting on operating at full capacity while so clearly not…and creating chaos for everyone! Very wise of you, Amy.

  2. Very wise plan! And good guidelines for life in general, whether under extreme stress or not. The ‘do one nice thing for yourself’ (and the other pieces of advice) has gotten me through some very rough times. Even as minor as a cup of coffee, a candy bar or buying a single flower. Hang in there and good luck!

  3. During these past few tumultuous months (my dad’s death, etc.) I found myself telling my family: We all need to be careful. We think we are operating at full capacity but we are not and we will not be aware that we are not until we open the fridge and drop a big jelly jar on our toes. Wear closed-toe shoes family! I love your list and am adopting them too!

    • I hope they are useful for you, Allegra! And lots of love, hand on heart, for the loss of your dad. Again, I’m so very sorry.

  4. Amy, it sounds like you’re handling a tough time with some really smart and healthy strategies. You’ve provided a good list for anyone facing a challenge. Fingers crossed that you’ll find a new place soon.

  5. you could fulfill #2 & #4 simultaniously while floating in my pool :-)

    • I have & I will! (Assuming I am lucky enough to get another invitation — sorry I didn’t make it yesterday. I was stresssssed and not a lot of fun.)

  6. This sounds like a superbly functional, and kind way to deal with things! I may take up the habit myself this week, as I’m easing into/tiptoeing around a work situation I’m uncertain about. Thanks!

    • Glad to hear it, Corie! Would love to know how it works for you. Lovely blog you and your husband have, btw — I just paid a visit & really enjoyed what I read.

  7. This feels like a wonderfully gracious permission slip. Filling up on permission not to operate at full capacity!

    Also sending warm support for the hard.

    • Kudos for what seems to me a healthy, balanced, realistic, and useful way through!

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