Unfinished Business

photoI haven’t written a blog post in weeks. I took a hiatus from blog writing to take care of unfinished business, to complete something I started a while ago but resolved to finish in the last few weeks. I am like that. I have a tendency to start things and then put them aside, either because they take more time than I anticipated, or they elicit such intense emotions that I need to pull back, take a break, and address them anew, maybe with a refined plan or a new eye.

It used to be the same when I tried a new diet. I would immerse myself in a program with intensity and commitment that were impossible to sustain. I read books, bought cookbooks, adjusted recipes, tracked food and exercise, and plotted weight graphs. I wrote affirmations and walked around with them on cards which I would pull out at odd times to remind myself I was worth my efforts. It was exhausting. At some point it fell apart, and I berated myself for my lack of resolve or willpower or for choosing the wrong program or strategy. I would pull back, take a break, and find a new program into which I would throw my efforts.

This is part of the fabric of my personality. I have always immersed myself in whatever I undertook. It stemmed from my intellectual approach to things, my commitment to learn as much as I could, analyze all the sources, synthesize and assimilate them, and move on. When I was not prepared for the emotions that bubbled up, they threw me, leaving me with doubt and indecision or paralyzed and unable to complete what I started, which happens when you separate head from heart and gut.

Several months ago I discovered a blog written by a woman who wrote forty lists of forty things as she approached her fortieth birthday. She called it Listing Toward Forty. She posted one list a week for forty weeks, but I only read the article three months before my sixtieth birthday. I thought it would be cool to write sixty lists of sixty things for my sixtieth birthday. My birthday was two weeks ago. I have sixty list topics (really I have a couple more than that), some of which have sixty things on them, some of which are blank. This project has taken me much longer than I anticipated, and some of the lists elicited memories that came packed with emotions for which I wasn’t prepared. I am not going to post my sixty lists of sixty things. I am not even sure I will complete my sixty lists. My kids pointed out this project meant listing 3600 different things.

On the other hand it inspired everyone around me. My husband gave me a list of sixty memories from our more than forty years together, and my daughters gave me a box of sixty lessons they have learned from me. At some point I will compile a list of the most important things I take from my sixty years on Earth, but right now, it remains unfinished business. But I know it is never too late to take care of unfinished business. Even years after putting something aside, it is possible to take it out, dust it off, and finish it. Nothing needs to remain unfinished. Time often helps change your outlook or perspective or commitment or emotions. And time can let you trust yourself in ways you never anticipated.