This week has been chaos. While I love to keep busy (I know no other way), I feel close to a breaking point.

Though, I won’t actually break because almost everything happening is wonderful.

This week is the ultimate juggling act of my various identities and roles –

  • mother
  • writer
  • coach
  • employee
  • freelancer
  • daughter
  • wife
  • neighbor

It’s funny to list identities out because there is no role that is more important than the other.

I reassure myself of this as I list “wife” second to last.

Lists by design have an order to them which often represent a sequence of beginning to end or the level of importance from most to least

My lists tend to be my train of thought – which is often off the rails. Reflective of what I deem to be worthy of my attention at that moment which often does not align with what others want of and from me. But it’s my list and I order it how I want to.

One look at the trail of neon Post-it’s on my desk left by my tornado of thoughts, and it’s quite apparent that I am a fan of lists.

However, I am not a fan of crossing things off my lists. Many Post-it’s have empty checkboxes next to to-do’s, even the ones that have been completed.

While some get a high off of crossing off a to-do, there is no glory to being done for me. I do not enjoy endings, and as my kids close out their school years this week and I end my time in a wonderful writing class, endings have been top of mind.

When something ends, it opens the door for regret but when we are in the process of something and haven’t crossed it off yet, we can’t regret it – right? That would be akin to being nostalgic about something before the thing happens.

Regret is undoable, a death of what could have been that never will. My body rejects the crossing off, rather littering my desk with incompletions. Endings feel like a dementor’s kiss and the regret feels like the longing from the lifeless form that follows.

Endings happen everyday, I remind myself often. Things begin and things end – the natural progression of life. So why do I avoid them?

It’s because I’ve been trying to even the score all my life.

Even before I began, I already knew an ending – my maternal grandmother – crossed off my list, my life, my mother’s life shortly after her fourth birthday.

I carried her tragic death into this world, a completion that feels wholly incomplete. Each item I cross off brings me back to a deficit, an ending that never had a beginning. Irreconcilable as how does one reconcile death?

Perhaps the answer is life as it is the opposite of death. A beginning is the closest we can get to reconciling an ending.

So I start things that I never cross off. And I have done it again and again. Businesses that have never gotten off the ground. A stagnant corporate career. Borrowing things I never return. Piles of ill fitting clothes that don’t get donated.

But endings still come – barreling down the train tracks – and I stare motionless as my body betrays my mind.

A million deaths happen over a lifetime, and as a mother, those deaths multiply at every milestone.

As much as I want to push it away, ultimately, regret drives me.

Perhaps it’s not so much that I am pushing it away but rather it is pushing me.

Perhaps it’s not so much that I am racing away from the darkness but rather it is following me as I race towards the light.

Perhaps it’s not so much that I am trying to hold back the hands of time as they tick-tock around the clock but rather I am riding the clock hand and embracing each tick awaiting for the tock that follows.

Because a million births also happen over a lifetime, and as a mother, those births multiply at every milestone.

——

I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.