By Laura Moore
I missed my spinning class. I forgot it was blog day.
I immersed myself, instead, in an essay I plan to submit to an anthology, and during my "clear my head for a second to get perspective" breaks, I handled household tasks and posted pictures of clothes I wanted to sell on the buy-trade-sell site that, in my humble opinion, is the greatest idea since, well...I don't know...sliced bread?
My husband took off Monday, my son's Monday morning swim lesson got canceled, and bills that I normally pay on Monday were due on Tuesday this week...so the first day of my week felt like a Sunday in every possible way. The zoo was packed with people on spring break and the skies were a delicious shade of Carolina blue that skies seem to be on perfect Sunday afternoons (for all of you other Ohioans, yes, I am living in a fantasy).
So when Tuesday came around and normal activities resumed, it felt like a Monday. I was paying bills, we were going to lessons, my husband and I were back to work. It was the start of our week, and though the following day (yesterday) felt like a Wednesday to everyone else, to me it felt very Tuesday-ish, like I was still easing in, not like I was standing on the top of the hill.
But at about 9 pm last night, I realized I botched the whole thing. Oh my God it's Wednesday, I remember thinking as I sat on the floor folding laundry. I couldn't do anything about spinning, but I could do something about my blog. So I jumped up immediately. I left piles behind and plopped down at my computer, poised to pound out my weekly post. I sat down to scurry out something that would inch its way into cyberspace before the clock struck midnight, before the clock informed me that I was late, before the clock converted my computer into a pumpkin.
I sat there, eager and anxious, waiting for the site to load. My heart somersaulted behind my ribs and my palms itched with sweat. I don't miss deadlines, I mouthed to no one in particular, and the chant grew louder and louder with every fruitless second of waiting for the cursor to blink. The mere thought of falling short of my Wednesday promise made me squeamish and uncomfortable. I am the sort of lunatic who follows through relentlessly, I told myself, even when it makes no sense.
But the page wasn't cooperating. The cursor spun for what felt like an eternity, and a blank, white screen hovered before my eyes. I bounced my leg in triple time, and I stared at the clock taunting me from the upper right hand corner of my screen. "HURRY UP!" I whisper-shouted through clenched teeth, and once three full minutes escaped me, I began tapping closed fists against the edge of the keyboard as if the pounding would dislodge whatever was causing the signal to tangle.
Eventually, I just sat back.
And just before the fourth minute tumbled over the hill, my computer's airport lights all flashed to black, the screen filled with color, and my fingers climbed out of my palms and pressed against the keys. The page was loaded. The canvas was ready for my ink. The time was still ticking in my favor.
9:04, I remember thinking. You got this...
But strangely enough, I didn't have anything. I had no inclination to proceed.
See, the further I got from the third minute--the fully frenzied oh-my-god-if-this-stupid-page-doesn't-load-in-the-next-second-I'm-going-to-lose-my-mind minute--and the closer I got to the fourth one, the more I realized how absurd my anxiety was. I realized that even if I sat there and wrote for the next two or three hours, even if I managed to click "share" before the calendar flipped to the next page, no one would be awake to read it. No one was standing there in cyberspace with wooden ruler smacking against her palm. No one--at least no one who really mattered--would think less of me because I decided to accept my mistake and try again tomorrow.
I imposed the deadline on myself and I missed it.
The window was gone, even if I wrote the post and the page still said Wednesday, even if the chance for the "time-stamp" was technically still there, even if I had a streak to continue and my word to uphold.
When I whittled away the semantics and faced the honest truth, the reality was that I had dropped the ball, that I had broken my promise, that I was out of time to follow through.
But none of that was a life or death situation. None of that warranted the amount of angst and guilt that coursed through me. Sure, it was a matter of pride and principle, and those things matter a whole heck of a lot, but no one got hurt on account of my mistake. No one was inconvenienced. No one's life was any worse because I lost track of time. In fact, no one, besides me, probably spent more than a second--if that--thinking about the fact I didn't release my words into cyberspace yesterday. And so while I shouldn't make absentmindedness a habit, I also shouldn't allow an instant of absentmindedness to crumble me to pieces.
I'm human and I screwed up.
Sometimes I will fall short--just like everyone else--but when I'm lucky enough to wake up and try again, when I'm lucky enough to get another day stuffed with everything that is truly important, I need to just take it. I need to let myself run full throttle into Thursday. I need to scream to the universe, "Okay, that's gone, but I got this. I'm back."
I don't need to negative self-talk myself into the ground. I don't need to question my aptitude. I don't need to think of a thousand ways to apologize or rationalize.
I just need to breathe...
And then smile...
And then pull up my calendar, so I can enter in a reminder, so I can let myself roll right over the mid-week hump, so I can pick myself (and my pride) up, and hop right on along.