I am Only What I Can Accomplish

Or am I?


“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.”
-Annie Dillard

I have just finished the spring term ASL 102 class at our community college. I took 101 in the fall. I am taking ASL because my daughter is hard of hearing, and ASL has quickly become her first language. I have spent the last nine months with a very specific routine from which my family only strayed for the course of Christmas break. And now it’s summer.

There is suddenly more time in the day. Not only are the days longer, but I spend more of my day at home. I still have to drive my son to and from school for a few more weeks, but my mornings are free in a way they haven’t been for nearly a year.

And I feel like a failure.

In fact, I am working more, being more creative, keeping my house cleaner, and playing with my kids more. I’m just not running around town like a maniac all day. And the change in routine from physically going places and doing things to having most of my accomplishments be attained within my four walls has left me feeling rotten about myself.

What is it about having a list of things I physically did that makes me feel okay about myself? Why do I tie my worth to my accomplishments? Is this a normal “overworked millennial” phenomenon? Or is it related to my worry that if I am not a productive member of society, that my psychosis will cost more than my contributions can pay for? That I have to earn my right to be here.

The more practical question is what I will do with my summer. I am thinking of planning little weekly artist excursions with my kids a la Julia Cameron. That’s a start, but won’t help with the rest of the week. I have forgotten how to make a routine out of an empty day.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas for making a routine with young kids? I have to fit in my work and chores and naps for the baby. I like the idea of walking every morning. I feel like any structure I impose on our time will be a false structure, after having had our school year dictated by “real” obligations.

Bigger than that though, do you ever feel like your worth is dictated by what you can accomplish, and that those accomplishments must somehow be visible and measurable to count? Or… is it just me? Let me know in the comments!

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