Spring is on hold, delayed by day after day of chilly, damp weather; meteorologists label these stretches of stagnant weather, “blocking”. The birds have literally been flocking to the feeder, probably feeding themselves and their chicks in an attempt to fend off the chill. The forecast is for more of the same.
On my desk, a stack of papers has been growing, a pile of tasks in process. There was once a time, maybe in high school, when I imagined I would get through all of the work I had been assigned, had chosen, or that had just somehow accrued. This idea periodically returns, buoyed by the illusion that I have,against all odds, mysteriously caught up. On these occasions I have been known to dance and sing through the house, even to boast of my warrior-like deeds.
Those moments of relative success are precious and, of course, illusory. Still, they are the source of enormous, if transitory, pleasure. They are also the result of selective attention; my desk, and desk top, may be clear, but there are dust bunnies proliferating under the bed, and the laundry basket overfloweth. Let’s see: my office needs vacuuming, as does my car. My disability scooter requires a test drive, as although I have tried valiantly to keep its batteries charged throughout the winter when it is not in use, I suspect they have failed and will need to be replaced. Failed batteries mean that I will have to wait for replacements to arrive; meanwhile the scooter will sit in the garage.
In the face of all that is unfinished, I take refuge in the understanding that life as a human, or a bird, assures us that new tasks will always be added to the list, and there will inevitably be something left undone. A truth of living with Post Polio is the certainty that said list will always grow, that one will be faced, in the service of saving energy, nerves, and muscle, with the conundrum of actively choosing what NOT to do.
I have learned that other people often mistake such choosing as procrastination. This is understandable, if misguided. Rather than putting things off, we Polios must decide what to let go of, sometimes entirely. I imagine this is actually fundamental to the human condition, although able-bodied folks may be better at pretending this is not so. In the end, as the saying goes”, we will leave things undone”.
Oddly, I find this idea hopeful. I am certain that I will leave much undone come the end of the day. I will also accomplish something, will cross one or two, or possibly more, things from my to-do list. Hopefully, I will take some pleasure in that. How about you?