Some people are great achievers. They have numerous interests and can always be found working on one stimulating project or another.
I would kill to be one of those people but, so far, it hasn’t happened. I sleep with a Post It Note pad along side my bed. At least once a week, before going to bed, I write down a project I would love to work on next: a huge collage, decorative bird houses, quilting, guitar lessons or, start writing another book. I make a list of the steps I must take to make that project happen. Then I turn off the light and go to sleep.
Yesterday, as I prepared for bed, I came upon a Post it Note that had fallen under my end table. I looked at it and realized I had completely forgotten about the project I’d written on the paper, even though I had been so excited about it several days earlier.
I’ve had serious memory problems all my life, and aging serves to exacerbate the condition. I make plans in the evening, and forget them by morning. I attend celebratory affairs and several weeks later I don’t remember having been there; and I’ve never been able to memorize anything. I once prepared a speech for Toastmasters. On a 3″x 5″ card I wrote the keyword, “father,” because I planned to relate a humorous incident about my father. I stood at the podium, and stared blankly at the card, with no idea what the word “father” was supposed to trigger.
I sought help from a doctor who suspected it is either a chemical or electrical problem. He surmised that my synapses don’t appear to be connecting. It is my opinion that they not only don’t connect, they repel each other, the way like ends of a magnet do.
My husband, Mighty Marc, has countless interests he looks forward to working on every day. The difference between us is that he thinks about what he wants to do it in the evening, and still remembers it in the morning. And, when he’s engrossed in a project he can’t be distracted. In an effort to get his attention, I once walked up to him and shoved my face directly into his. He swatted at it like it was an annoying mosquito, and continued working. I have tapped danced, juggled knives, and offered sexual favors. Nothing distracts him.
I envy his ability to not get sidetracked when he is focused on a project. He has an internal shade that automatically lowers to block out the world. What I have is a Venetian blind … with broken slats that allow everything in. I am distracted by buzzing flies in the next room, leaves swaying outside my office window, chirping birds, air currents, and the whirlpool of thoughts searching for a resting place in my brain.
He is repeatedly praised for his talent and accomplishments. Yes, he is amazingly creative and versatile, but what the world doesn’t realize is it is because of me that he completes each of his projects.
We’re retired, so most mornings we enjoy going out for breakfast. All he has to do is pull on a shirt and a pair of jeans and he’s ready to leave the house. I require more time and work, so he usually attends to one of his projects while he waits.
A phrase like, “I’ll be ready in a minute,” gives him ample time to create a full chapter of the book he is writing.
“I still have to feed the cats,” allows him time to carve out a neck for the violin he’s making.”
“I only have to apply mascara,” has him pounding out the first movement of the classical score he’s composing.
“I just need to put on earrings,” affords him plenty of time to build a frame for his latest oil painting.”
As you can see, I am a necessary part of his creative process. Okay, I’m not exactly his muse, but bottom line is it’s because of me that he is able to achieve so much.
Do I get credit for any of this? Never. And, to be honest, I’m angry that my role in his success has never been recognized or viewed as significant. But, if I run true to form, by tomorrow I will not remember that I am irritated. We will plan to go to breakfast, as usual, and while I decide which shoes to wear he will probably scale Mt. Everest.
Editor’s Note: Laverne H. Bardy is a syndicated humor columnist. Visit her at www.LaverneBardy.com. She’s the author of “How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?” Her articles appear regularly on AfterFiftyLiving.com. She blogs for the HuffingtonPost.com and is also a columnist for RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, Shrewsbury.net, and WritersBeat.com. Copyright, Laverne H. Bardy, published with permission.