It is Saturday afternoon. Hubby has taken Baby Bird, as our little one is known, out for a walk and has promised to do the shopping on his way home. I have been promised two whole hours of peace and quiet. The temptation to spend that time "productively", doing any of the many, many jobs that need doing around here is immense. There's laundry, ironing, all manner of cleaning and tidying to be done. However, I know that if I spend this time doing any of those things, I will regret it. Hubby can, and will quite happily mind Baby Bird at home while I am doing housework and housework is fairly forgiving of interruptions (equally likely from the older as well as the younger members of my household!). Before they left, I was made to promise that I would spend this afternoon relaxing, enjoying myself and doing something fun. In fact, I was specifically told that "If you're going to waste the afternoon doing something productive, you can get your coat on and come and productively help me do the shopping". I know he is right.
I don't get a huge amount of time to myself with zero responsibilities these days. Hubby works pretty long hours, even more so at this time of year, and so during the week, I am generally Baby Bird's sole caregiver from the moment she gets up until she goes to bed, and often for much of the evening as well. Consequently, afternoons at home alone are rare and precious things to be savoured.
So, here I am, sat in our office, drinking coffee, listening to the new CD I had for Christmas from my Grandpa, and doing the thing I probably enjoy the most: making plans. I love planning. I am a compulsive list maker. Everything from groceries, household chores and to do lists to more aspirational lists such as books I hope to read, craft projects I would like to make and long-term goals. I have been making lists almost as long as I can remember. I feel all at sea without one. It is the first thing I do when I being a task. I don't always make terribly good use of the lists; I often fail to look at them again after I have made them, but there is something about the very act of making the list, the process of pushing the information out of my head through my hand and on to the paper, that helps to cement the information in my brain. Mental lists have never been as effective for me, and need to be rerun, over and over again, in order to remain in my head. Yet, once it is written down, I can "see" the list again in my mind's eye, even if I don't look at the physical paper very much.
Asides of the lists and the wonderfully exciting stationery needs it creates (I'm certain there will be more on my love of stationery later), planning also allows me to indulge my imagination, my desire to better myself, my desire for change. It is about possibilities, hope, opportunities, but it feels one step closer to action than mere daydreaming. Even if the plans are never enacted (and often in my heart of hearts, I know that they wont be, even as I am making the plans), an afternoon planning always feels like time well spent. There is a quiet, collected energy about a well-made plan. I feel galvanised, rejuvenated, ready to go.
What am I planning today? Well, partly this blog (and I'm coupling it with a spot of confidence-building action by writing this post), partly my favourite type of planning: craft projects. I suspect there are not enough hours in a lifetime to make all the things I would like to, but that's no reason not to daydream, and not to plan. I received an order of fabric remnants from the lovely Dots N Stripes the other day, so I'm planning what to make with those and I have a stash the size of a small yarnshop to be converted in my head into knitting and crochet projects, making a little Ravelry research an inevitable part of this afternoon. By the time Hubby and Baby Bird return, cold and hungry, I shall have a crafty to do list as long as my arm and I will finish the year with most of it unmade. It doesn't matter. I have learnt that even if I only make a fraction of the ideas I come up with this afternoon, I shall feel the lovely warm buzz of completion, of creation, and of physical endeavour that makes me love making things so much. More importantly, those two hours of planning will restore me and leave me ready to rejoin my family, ready to make dinner, ready to be a wife and a mum once more.
The clock is ticking. Only an hour left now. There's work to be done...