The big event I coordinate is over (except for the post-mortem analysis and final report). The bedding plants are potted and the beds are weeded (until the next big flush). The house was clean (until Grady showed up for the weekend). The new iMac sits invitingly on my desk (yet frustrates me at every turn).
Everything is in a state of flux. There isn’t a single thing in the world that you can point to and say ?Ah, yes, That’s it; all done.? Not farming or housework or childrearing. Not cooking or yard work or even learning.
Each day we fight the ravages of time and neglect. Moisturize your skin at 20, they say, or pay the price when You’re 60 years old. Get that blood pressure under control now or plan on prolonged physiotherapy after the stroke. Use deadly force on that first dandelion, or learn to make wine. Keep moving or be felled by bad knees and stiff joints. Build a relationship with a little kid or lose the chance forever.
With the to-do list, it was the same deal. For a short time, I felt an eerie sense of calm. There were no immediate fires to extinguish, no problems waking me at three in the morning. This made me wonder just what I should be doing?because doing nothing is never an option for long.
It’s as though a vacuum needed to be filled. Attend a meeting in the provincial riding and end up volunteering to work a golf tournament fundraiser. Score some Tonka construction toys, build a small sandbox, and invite a grandson to play. Try to learn Adobe’s InDesign program and instantly find half a dozen print projects that need doing. Gratis, of course. Book an author talk for the public library. Agree to plan a first birthday party at a golf club. Volunteer to work satellite bingo (again) for the church. Throw in meetings with wedding couples, a BBQ, a bowling and pizza night, and before long the days and weeks begin to bulge with commitments.
And that’s not all. Today I plunked down $40 for 15 millilitres of wrinkle cream; another must-do in the fight against time. But what about the bags? Concealer only masks the dark circles. There’s a chilled eye mask taking up space in the fridge. God help me, I’ve even started using a bronzing self-tanner. I plan my outfits and wear more colour. I keep the grey at bay with regular salon appointments and streaks to fool the eye. Giving up is not an option.
Sometimes it seems as though we’re locked in a battle with time. Whether the threat is horticultural, medical, emotional, aesthetic, or an overstuffed calendar, It’s a fight to hold on, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.