In about two weeks, my daily life is going to change a bit. I’ve been home with my kids for the last eleven years, but last year my son went to all day kindergarten. For about three weeks, I tried to figure out what I ought to be doing with the six hours of solitude this brought me- then, my neighbor, for whom I’d done before/after school care for her older daughter, got a new job and she needed care for her four year old. My days were not solitary again, so I got a reprieve from having to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, that same four year old is starting kindergarten and my reprieve is over.
I have a large number of things I should do with that time, a larger number of things I could do with that time, and also a few things I actually want to do with that time. And, it’s not as if I need to have it all worked out by the first day of school, but knowing myself like I do (better than most people, but not as well as my husband, I think) I know I should make some plans so I don’t spiral into laziness and depression as soon as the kids are out the door.
So, I start with lists (at this point, this will get boring, so I don’t mind if you stop reading- really, it’s okay- go read some of my fiction, instead).
THINGS I SHOULD DO:
* Spend some time on myself, health-wise. I need to get a physical, to see the eye doctor, and get into an exercise routine that I will actually keep up with. I am experimenting with going vegan- more for moral reasons than for health, but I also expect that it might be better for my health- doing this right will take some thought/research/package reading. I also need to spend some time on my wardrobe and will probably cut my hair short.
* Go through the house room by room to reorganize and get rid of (donate or throw out) things we neither need nor use. This house is small- not for the number of people who inhabit it (4), but for the amount of material possessions in it (eleven-ty billion give or take). Also, the number of closets is unreasonably low (5, if you include the pantry cabinet in the kitchen) so a good re-evaluation of how we store the things we do keep is in order, as well.
* Spend some time on the yard to get it ready for the winter. Also, spend some time with dear husband planning for the spring- the garden is now larger than previous years and the better we plan, the more benefit we will get from it. There is also the matter of where to plant the starter seeds in February, which may be a factor to consider when reorganizing the storage and space use in the house (this is usually the same place we have the Christmas tree because soon after the one comes down, the other goes up and they both do better if there is natural light on the area).
* Spend some time figuring out what if anything I need or want to do about making money. Right now, me working is not needed, but spending a large number of hours alone each day isn’t very good for me- depression, which I have and will always have to deal with (even if it is to just keep it at bay) really enjoys creeping up on me when I’m alone. Plus, there is always the possibility that our financial situation will change. If I were better at writing on a schedule (which I am working on, but feel I still need a great deal of improvement) I’d be thinking about pursuing a writing career of some sort, but I’m not in that place now and I might never be in that place. Writing for myself is possibly all I’ve got in me.
OTHER THINGS I COULD DO:
* In lieu of (or alongside) working, I might start volunteering somewhere. There are a great number of charities that I could get involved with. In fact, there are so many I wouldn’t know where to start.
* Look for more ways to enable the kids’ pursuits and to foster them learning about the things they don’t cover in school (this is something I am already doing- I have taught my daughter to hand sew and now she is learning to cook and both kids take sports and/or dance as well as religion classes).
* Look for ways to encourage my husband in his pursuits- his gardening and his writing he’s on top of right now, but he misses the trumpet and he misses sport.
* Pursue my own bliss- spend more time on my writing, get back into art and photography, perhaps find a choir to sing in or somewhere to dance (I miss colorguard some days) or learn an instrument (guitar maybe?).
* Go ahead with our idea of a family newsletter to help our large extended family keep up with each other.
THINGS I WANT TO DO:
Really, all of the above plus eat everything chocolate in sight, sleep all day and watch endless TV. Okay, this part of the list is of the useless, but maybe acknowledging that this is what I also want to do and then reminding myself that it is bad for me to fall into that behavior will keep me from doing it.