What does “my own schedule” look like?

Since Mom’s death, several people have asked me about my new “freedom” of schedule now that I don’t have all the caretaking duties. From my perspective I just traded one set of time-dictating “musts” for another. And it has me contemplating how we all so often set up our days by the “musts”.

Losing my mother set off an emotional roller coaster of its own and on top of losing her, because of a lot of not very smart decisions she made years ago, instead of inheriting the house in which I’ve lived for 24 years and a sizeable trust fund, materially I’ve inherited nothing from her but a giant hoarder’s mess to clean up and the need to move with great speed to pack up and move to the condo in Florida my dad’s more careful ways left me.

Some of the time I’m pretty angry and put upon. Until I remember the privilege that means I have a condo to move into and enough money to scrape by for a while.

The last months of her life, taken up with hospitals, nursing homes, diapers, wheelchair, etc. were exhausting and the second she died I had to begin the even more tiring task of clearing out her unbelievable piles of crap and trying to separate out and pack up my own stuff for the move. So no, at the moment I don’t feel free.

And Salty apparently decided to help me see it. He’s very old and frail and really upset by all that’s changing around him, from the absence of Mom to furniture and items disappearing and moving around, etc. He climbed on my lap a while ago for a snooze. I had a packing schedule in mind and the snooze was interfering.

I sat for a couple of minutes, tense and worrying about being late already at starting. He gently snoozed, his head tucked under my chin. I tuned in and noted the tenseness and chose to relax into the lovely moment with my fur baby. I’m not sure he’s going to live through all this and I’d rather drink in his sweetness while I can than be sorry later that I was too busy packing to enjoy him.

I’ve also been thinking about how nice it will be once I get to FL and at least largely unpacked. No caretaking. No clearing and sorting after I finish getting the dad/stepmom stuff I don’t want out of the condo and my stuff put in place. Ah, but then I remembered, in order to survive, I have to re-start yoga teaching, figure out doing classes on line, etc. Or get a job. How long can I float and relax, schedule-free, before I must get moving again?

Which then started me thinking about how many days when I have nothing on the schedule like an appointment or a lunch, etc. I still feel I “must” go to the grocery, do a load of laundry, make a new batch of granola or cashew creamer. How free is my schedule ever? And don’t most of us have these daily “musts”? Actual days of floating along, doing nothing are pretty hard to come by unless you have the money to pay someone else to fix your meals, including getting the provisions, or to take spa vacations.

Now I’m contemplating how little activity still leaves me feeling my day is “free” and mine. Much relies on perception and how I choose to feel about what I need to do. My mother resented pretty much all domestic tasks (she grew up in a household with a housekeeper and a cook) and I realized years ago that I internalized that dislike.

I have to actively shift my emotions just to get to neutral. Thanks to how much I love the smell of Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and love a clean floor, I’ve come to enjoy mopping and ignore the twinging back that results, which leads me to believe I can manage to shift the “ugh” feeling about other chores 🙂

I figure the whole schedule thing is mostly a question of staying in tune with how I feel about all the aspects of my day and choosing the feeling tone that leaves me also feeling free. But I’m not sure I’m gonna get there about clearing 30 years of clutter or packing for a move…

9 thoughts on “What does “my own schedule” look like?

  1. Anyone who thinks your days are filled with all sorts of free time have never walked in your shoes. Have never had to clean out and deal with a house while grieving and taking care of settling an estate. It’s a lot!! Physically and emotionally a lot. Sure, there’s a little more wiggle room in setting priorities, but still. Fortunately, you’ve got a toolbox to get you through this time.

    • Yes, it’s a lot. I think they meant more that I don’t now have the actual schedule of times things must be done that I had with Mom more than that I have endless free time. But from there I could see how I create my own “lack of freedom” story. Also yes, thankful to have so many tools to use now!

  2. I appreciate this post Leigh. I applaud your willingness to be real about all the mixed emotions. If it helps any, I abhor housework and I grew up in a spotless home with a mom who mostly did all the cooking and cleaning herself. I do like straightening up and uncluttering but would be incredibly overwhelmed with what is on your plate. Using all your tools and visualizing that great place in Florida may help with this transition. At least your dad thought of you and left you something special. Allow yourself to just be and try to decrease the musts ( so very Virgo! ) .

    much love to you,

    Linda ❤

  3. Your journey needs a change Leigh, but you may not want it. And it will test you, but you are now in a position to create, not react, one step at a time. Time to build what you want. Big hugs, love and light that it flows 😀❤️🙏🏽

  4. Of course there’ll be more “musts” when you get to Florida, but once you’re settled there the worst of all this will be over and you can take a deep breath. Do try to give yourself some time to decompress once you get there (apart from grocery shopping and cooking that is).
    I too hated the domestic chores (internalized for a different reason) but have come to terms with them and even come to love them. I love cleaning – for the exercise, and the way the place looks and smells after. It’s good for the soul. 😁
    Hugs Leigh. You’ve got this you know.

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