dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Choose today, for tomorrow

on September 19, 2012

I’ve done my 1,000 words already today… and oh, what a difference it makes! Turning my priorities upside down seems to have put them right way up.

I have been doing ‘To Do’ lists seriously since 1994 when my then-husband Andrew died. The shock hit me hard and I went into a kind of numbed trance, a zombie-like existence.                                            

At the time I was living on the edge of a tiny hamlet in Somerset. A lovely place within walking distance of the National Trust’s Barrington Court. The walled gardens are  among my top 20 places in the world.

But it’s not exactly populous.

Our house looked out over fields, with a row of low hills on the horizon, then miles of sky.  If I was lucky I might catch a glimpse of the postman bringing more condolence cards. Otherwise I was out there on my own. Me and the cat.

I soon realised it was up to me to pull myself together and get out where there were other people to talk to. So I grabbed a journalist’s shorthand notebook and put the date at the top of the page, then listed what I had to do, always including something that would get me out of the house.

Those of you who have been through a bereavement where you were left in charge of sorting out the estate etc. will know just how much there is to do – and how easy it is to overlook things. I’ve been dating the page and making the list ever since!

To Do lists are fine so long are you’re clear about your priorities, about the simply non-negotiable things that have to go on the list and then have to get done, not slip by into tomorrow and the next day – in other words, never.

Sometimes prioritizing is difficult. It takes scrupulous honesty to look at what you’re doing and sort out what really matters. So much that appears urgent pushes noisily to the top of the list. The easy-to-do things slither up there too ‘cos it’s nice to be able to put a ‘done’ mark against them. All the time, the quiet, solid,  seriously important things tend to sit waiting to be noticed.

Wrong way round.

What really matters to you? What will you regret not having done in ten years, twenty years?

Barrington Court reminds me of Andrew and his shocking sudden departure from my life. There is so much that I might have done differently if I’d known our time together was going to be short.

Can I learn from that? Can I learn to value – and prioritize – what really matters?

I hope so.

 

 

 

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3 responses to “Choose today, for tomorrow

  1. Wise words and a strong reminder to us all that we should not take our loved ones for granted or the time with which have with them. Thank you.

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