My sister and I like to joke about the “last pan.” Both of us have a habit of leaving one dish in the sink–usually a frying pan, or the 6-quart saucepot. A big one that doesn’t fit in the drying rack. It takes ten seconds to spread a dish towel on the counter so it can dry alongside everything else, yet we both fight the impulse to leave that one last pan in the sink, filled to the brim with soapy water.
In the last two months, I’ve made myself clear the sink when I do dishes. No last pans allowed. And now that philosophy is spreading into other areas of my life. I’m making phone calls when I need to. I’m making appointments when I should. I’m dealing with things now instead of “when I feel like it.”
In the last month, I finished three projects that have been outstanding for three years–all of them works in progress dating to the time of my separation:
- A 50,000 word story
- A labor-intensive landscaping project
- My kitchen floor
I’m not sure why I let them drag out so long. I think part of it is because they reminded me of my divorce, so it was easier not to think about them. But as a result, projects piled up and so did my stress.
I didn’t realize how much these unfinished projects were bothering me until I sat in the kitchen this morning, all three of them and the month of September behind me, and calmly enjoyed some tea.