About 6 weeks ago, after sending an email to a professional, I noticed that I had written that I was “building out my calendar” and needed to verify a few appointment times. I thought, ‘that’s a funny way to say that—building out my calendar.’ I pictured myself getting off the phone with a pencil behind my ear, but then taking a nail from between my teeth to drive it into a 2 x 4 to create a sturdy frame in which to house the people, ideas and supplies involved with my appointment. It made me smile at the time, but then I didn’t think about it for weeks . . . until today.
Today has felt like a very unproductive day. On my daily planner, the most important accomplishment I was supposed to check off by day’s end was Remove Wallpaper (from our kitchen, in one of a zillion steps in our DIY kitchen renovation). Here it is, 5:00 PM, and I have not picked up wallpaper removal spray nor scraper and I’m beginning to feel guilty, even lazy. So I’m thinking about what I did accomplish instead.
Craig and I ordered online some appliances for the kitchen. These orders involved using coupons, and finalizing details about size, installation accessories and shipping dates that coincide with cabinet delivery and Lauren’s schedule. I “built out” my calendar when I added the delivery dates to our future.
Craig and I discussed how and when we are getting our college daughter’s bed and other requested furniture and household goods to the new house she is moving into about 200 miles away from us. (It was a complicated challenge—we wanted to go as a family, but a mattress, bed frame, etc. can not fit in our van with a Lauren.) We thought outside the box (or van-hee hee), figured this out and “built out” our calendar by listing the date of transport.
I told a friend I would be happy to help her regularly with something, and then insisted we get together next week for a much needed lunch/pow-wow. On my calendar, on each of the potential dates for said pow-wow, I wrote my friend’s name with a question mark so that I wouldn’t schedule over a proffered date, “building out” my calendar, if only with temporary splints to be replaced by solid studs when my friend agrees to a day and time.
The other day, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment one year in the future. I use an Outlook calendar, so as I scrolled over months and months into 2013, I noticed how blank they were. It was a little uncomfortable, like an abyss of nothingness. If it were truly what my future held, well . . . it would mean I was most certainly dead. I’m a Christian, so . . . not so bad. Worse are the “what if’s” of this earth-bound life. There is only one thing I’ve learned to feel certain about—that I have no idea what this life will bring. It felt good to scroll back to this week and to see that we have something “built out” for next week, even if some events are only tentative, like lean-to poles, holding plans in place as at least mental protection from an uncertain future.
Wallpaper removal would have been a solid, visible accomplishment from which to throw myself into a sofa with a heavy sigh at the end of the day. It certainly would have thrust us forward a day or two in our slow-going kitchen building project. But maybe building out our calendar was just as challenging and important to our happy living tomorrow. I am no longer fretting about whether we’ll get appliances on time or on sale, nor if my daughter will feel well-loved and well-parented by her parents doing all they can to help her in this “next stage” in her life, nor if my friend needs me and I’m not there for her. My intentions, concerns and plans are all alive within my calendar, which I built out today, so we may have the greatest chance of living happily within it next week.
Okay, getting rid of that awful wallpaper would increase my chances for happiness next week, too, but . . . tomorrow’s another day . . . with Remove Wallpaper once again listed at the top on my daily planner.