There is only now

I swim at an outdoor community pool.  The pool is open year round. I know winter is coming because the water temperature has dropped to 76 degrees and I know it is going to be cold when I hit the water.  This week as I stand at the edge of the pool ready to dive in and begin my laps, I’ve had to give myself a pep talk to  leap into the bracing water.

Yesterday, as I hesitated at the edge of the pool, I prevaricated. It was 7:33 AM.  The pool had just opened. No one was in the water, and the surface was glassy smooth.  I was going to have the privilege of being the first person in the pool.  I knew it was going to be chilly and that it was going to feel so much better once I started swimming.  I finally just told myself, “You’re going to do this anyway, so you might just as well get to it.”

A lot of life is like this.  I know I’m going to do something– make my bed, take out the trash, write those reports, make that phone call, write that email–so I might as well just get to it and get the job done.  This is where I find a to-do list helpful.  I make a list of all the things I need and want to do and then I prioritize.  Somethings get put off for a more convenient time.  For instance, if I need to drive into town to get an item taken care of, (drop books at the library, mail a package, pick up drugs at the drugstore, get a haircut, buy groceries, etc.) it works best to lump several things into one trip.

Somethings for my to-do list are just too big, and I need to figure out how to break the task into smaller pieces. (Do I need to find some help complete a task?)  I do this so I can make some progress, but also so that instead of putting a project off, I can at least begin. It is like the swimming.  The hardest part is getting into the pool. For me the hardest part is getting items on to the to-do list.

Once I dive in and start swimming, I feel great.  I love the feel of stretching my body out and having the water support me as I stroke to the other end of the pool.  I enjoy the feel and my amazement at how far my body can travel in the water with each swing of my arm and the kicking of my feet. It does feel good.  And anyway, while I’m swimming I can think about all those things I need to add to my to-do list.

There is a similarity between how I feel when I’m done swimming my laps and the joy and satisfaction I get from checking an item off my to-do list.  Now, I must get to it.

How are you spending your now?

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