birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Doing Everything and Nothing at All

We call it my grandma's cleaning sickness. We joke about it constantly.

She always has to have things clean. Not in an OCD kind of way. She's not cleaning up after you as soon as you drop something on the counter. No, it's an "I can't sit still" kind of sickness.

She cleans her bathroom frequently. And the blinds. And vacuums the kitchen. And does the laundry. Because she likes to have a tidy home. But she also cannot sit still. I mean, she can. At the end of the day, she kicks up her feet and watches TV, but she's usually so tired from all she's done during the day she falls asleep.

My grandma gave me this sickness. And mine is not the cleaning sickness. Yes, I too love to have things clean and tidy, but I won't even count how many days it's been since I've washed my sheets in case my mother decides to read this entry.

This sickness, this do everything, sickness, is real. In fact: I currently have 8 freelance writing pieces and five new years resolutions I'm working toward. That's right:

New Year's Resolutions for 2018

1. Go somewhere new every month
2. Complete 30 straight days of yoga (check)
3. Write 52 Thank you Notes
4. Read 18 books
5. Run two marathons and one triathlon (one marathon completed.)

And on top of those goals, I have monthly, weekly and daily goals.

My monthly goal is to have more fun. As you can probably tell, I don't often make time for fun. I'm up at 5 a.m. for workouts, home by 7/7:30 a.m. depending on if I did a double workout. Write from 7-8:30, make breakfast, lunch, walk the dog, get ready for work. At my job from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Home by 6. Make dinner, walk the dog, do a little laundry/pick up something/run an errand. Asleep by about 9.

It's easy to have the weeks pass when that's pretty much your daily routine. And look it's not like I'm completely inflexible to that routine either. It changes. But I often say I can't do something after work because of a workout I have the next morning. Yes, possibly why I am still unmarried. /Shrugs

So My monthly goal to have more fun has included things like visiting a new brewery, finally completing that show on Netflix, finally running that errand I've been avoiding that would really make my life better once I do it, spending more spontaneous time with my roommates, etc.

And my weekly goal, this week, is to rest because I'm sick. And even when I'm sick, I love to push myself.

Man, writing this down makes me seem crazy. Am I crazy?

So yes, I try to do it all. I see something new and I want to do it. And I think it comes from this: I lost my dad when I was 14 years old. One night, we went to a high school basketball game. The next morning, he was gone. So while I've learned so many things from that very not-fun "life lesson", what I learned is that you never know when your time will be. So I try to live my life to the fullest. There are days I do it wrong, way wrong. Where I try to do everything and I get anxious and I get irritated when my friend takes the longest way possible to get anywhere. Those days I try to realize my irritation and dial it back. And then there are days where it goes really great. Where I have a great day because I just had so much fun that day.

And that's what I'm trying to go for - is a lot of fun days strung together with some tough ones in between. Yes, I know, to you it may seem like I'm absolutely crazy. Cuckoo probably.

No wonder she's sick, you're probably thinking. She's running herself into the ground. Don't worry. I hear it all the time from one of my roommates.

This was the latest message when I told him I was behind on my 40 Days & 40 Writes:
"Don't overload your plate and then get stressed out and feel like you didn't accomplish something that in the overall scheme of things is probably pretty insignificant. I'm not trying to criticize you or be controlling. I totally get that it's your time and you are the one who determines where you invest your energy."

But here's the thing: I have nothing to do with my part-time job right now. So I thought, what makes me happy right now? Today, it's reading and writing. So I read a few stories from daily emails I receive. And then I decided to see how many of these writings I could tackle. Will I make up all that I'm missing today? Possibly if the day continues to go as slow as it's currently going.

But if not, I won't feel like a failure at the end of the day for not doing it.

I didn't start 40 Days & 40 Writes to see if I could write for 40 straight days. I've done that for about 10 years now. 40 Days for me is about seeing if I can sit down and start writing and where that will take me. So many times, I waste time because I tell myself I don't know where to begin or what, to begin with, or I just don't quite have the perfect beginning concocted in my head. This has gotten me out of my way. That time starts and it ticks and I'm typing before that bell dings because once it dings, I'm not allowing myself to write much past it.

So is my plate overloaded? Probably. But I'm 28, unmarried and without a kid. I think right now is probably the best time to overload my plate with the kinds of things I want to do so one day I can say, that was fun. It was great. I'm so glad I did all of that. But I have a responsibility now to make sure my husband and my kids get to do what they also want to do. The challenge will be not overloading myself then. But they always say that acknowledging you have a problem is the first step of the problem, right?

I know I don't say "no" enough. So I've started saying "yes" more. And I've started saying yes less and started saying no more. Because I've learned it's a two-way street.

Phantom Limb

200 Miles across Texas