The past fortnight has been a delightful time-out-of-time. With an elderly house guest I was fully occupied doing activities which involved him. This left minimal computer access time for me, and only my phone to keep me connected and reading the blogs of my friends.
As it’s autumn here we went into the garden harvesting plums, lemons, kumquats and apples. So many that there was very little room to move left in the kitchen, so cooking and preserving began just to reduce the stash.
We made marmalade, plum jam, chutney, sauce. We preserved pie apples for winter, pickled onions, made spiced plums in brandy and stewed fruit for the freezer. We’re even brewing cider, just to see what happens!
The evenings held more stash busting activities as I was began preparing a lot of fleece for spinning. Combing and flicking greasy wool isn’t something I regularly do, but in this time-out-of-time period it felt right to do it again. I made little rolls of the fibre (rolags) so that I can use a technique called long draw – an old one-handed way of spinning to make a very light fluffy woollen yarn for knitting winter sweaters.
For the first few days I fretted that I wouldn’t keep up with everything online – that the pile of work was mounting. Which it was of course but only because I felt that work was something to be done and deleted – ticked off – from one my endless lists of things to do.
That was the problem.
I was clinging to those pretty meaningless lists as if my life depended on them. The realisation hit me that there is only so much that can be achieved and that for a short while my “duty” was to our visitor. And that was the turning point – then it became more than a “duty” – it became a real pleasure. By truly experiencing and accepting that we really only have “now” and what we do now is what counts – not the bits of paper designed to map out a career. Only then was I able to let go of the fretting and anguish caused by the tyranny of my todo list. I don’t think I’ll be trying to catch up – just pick up where I was and move on.
I realise that these lists are necessary for progress and development – even sometimes just getting through the day – but I know now that letting them go for a short while is also beneficial. It’s all part of getting on with life, really.
How about you? Do you have a marmalade recipe to share? Do you ever feel the tyranny of lists? Have you been able to take “time out” and not feel guilty? I’d love hear you experiences or thoughts on how you manage.