And so today’s moment of happiness despite the news.
I am a hyper-organized person. When people ask me how I manage to get so much done, the answer is in one word: organization. Things are in their place, and their place is set in cement. My desk calendar is meticulous. I don’t use an online scheduler, either via my phone or my computer, because there’s too much chance for a screw-up. I know where I’m supposed to be when, and what I’m supposed to do when I get there, and I’m prepared. Things. Get. Done. I was that person everyone hated in college – my papers were always done at least two weeks in advance of the due date. I don’t write papers anymore, but I do have deadlines, and they’re met well in advance.
Until today. From now on, I have to add “almost always” to my sense of organization. I have to add “usually”. I have to add “typically” and “probably”.
I knew I was in trouble this weekend. I organize the work for the week ahead around a Saturday night outing. But this weekend, everything went crazy. There was the sudden interruption of a dentist appointment early Saturday morning, followed by my once-a-month three-hour workshop. Followed by my having to take my daughter into Urgent Care because she couldn’t stop coughing. Followed by my falling asleep (as the result of no sleep the night before because of nerves for the upcoming dentist appointment) during meditation, which led to an unplanned nap, which led to dinner out, which meant I didn’t even sit down to do any work until almost ten o’clock Saturday night. This led to Sunday, which had two extra activities: my daughter’s violin recital and going to see the play Jane Eyre at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where my husband works. I brought folders with me to the play and I read during the twenty-minute intermission.
But ohmygod. Organization plans all awry.
Then came today. I deliberately got up early, so I would be showered, dressed, and fed before my morning phone clients. That way, I could hang up the phone and get right into my own writing and still get my own creative work done while trying to catch up with my teaching work. Instead, my coughing daughter was still coughing. So I had to take her to the doctor. At 12:45, the only time available. And he was running late and didn’t even get into the exam room until 1:30. I only got an hour and fifteen minutes of writing in, and then I decided to sacrifice the rest to meditation, to try and calm myself down. After meditation, I was in the process of signing on to Skype for my 5:00 client when I realized I couldn’t remember what my client wrote this week and what I said about it. And a chill went flying up my spine.
BECAUSE I NEVER READ HER WORK.
I read the two clients before her and the client after her and the class after her. I checked her off as completed on my calendar. But I completely leaped right over her.
I had to show up a few minutes late to our appointment so I had time to wipe away tears of absolute frustration and failure. When you’re as organized as I am, perfectionism is, of course, right there in bed with you. It’s a threesome: Me, Organization, and Perfectionism. We don’t have room for a fourth: Failure. But it felt like Failure was all over me. It was Armageddon.
But I got on Skype and I told my client what happened. She was gracious, kind and forgiving.
And you know what? My world didn’t end. I am back in my chair, trying to get my ducks all lined up in a row again, my cats all herded. And I know they will be. I also know now that if one wanders off, if one of my things isn’t in the place it’s supposed to be, if I drop a ball…I’ll be okay. The world won’t suddenly hate me.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.