There’s a line from the AA poem Just For Today that says: “Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not tackling all of my problems at once. I can do something at this moment that would discourage me if I had to continue it for a lifetime.”
I use this line a lot. I used it even more when my kids were small.
I homeschooled my kids and I was reading the journal I kept back then. I in my first few months homeschooling and my enthusiasm was already flagging. My son woke up one morning and began leaping around asking for our “reading time”, which was how I was starting our day when we first started. I was using the Five in a Row curriculum, which meant reading the same book five days in a row and that week we were reading The Story of Ping. I really thought he’d be sick of the book by the middle of the week but that morning he asked to do another “thing about Ping” like we have the two days before. Anyway, in honor of Ping’s “mother and his father and two sisters and three brothers and eleven aunts and seven uncles and forty-two cousins” we made a family tree. I tried to keep my side of it simple by leaving off one half-sister and shoving the other two off to the side of my dad.
Anyway, as I sat helping my son sift through the pictures I thought, “I cannot do this for the next 12 or 13 years.” But then that line in the poem came back to me. For one thing, I knew homeschooling would change as my son got bigger (and it did, a lot) and for another thing, I didn’t have to think about doing it for 12 or 13 years; I just had to think about doing it for that day. Just that day.
I immediately felt calmer.
I use this same thinking for lots of stuff; it comes in handy. Break it all down to small parcels and suddenly it’s not overwhelming. I say, “I don’t need to write the whole article, I just need to read this one book.” And next thing I know, I’m writing the article. Or I say, “I don’t need to do anything except finish this one lap.” And then I find the energy to do two. I put my blinders on and go to whatever is before me and sooner or later, I’m on the other side.
Just for today. Just this one thing. Onwards.