One Thing At A Time


Wind blows from outside.  Someone is smoking.  It comes through the window.  I look up from my laptop.  I feel a headache coming on.  I stand and close the window.

I turn the AC unit on.  60 degrees.  Fan on high.  I like it chilly.

I sit back down at my makeshift desk.  Right above me is the flat screen tv playing a constant stream of ESPN.  Somewhere for my eyes to go, but I should be focusing on my paper, so I turn it off and put on the headphones.

Living life out of a hotel room is much different, especially with your wife and son on the other side of the country.  Won’t see either of them until Christmas Eve.  Long time away.

Hotel life is no fun.  I’ll be bouncing around California for the next three weeks. Almost like a grand farewell tour to the Golden State.  Then a cross country drive.

This may sound like a sad situation to you, but it’s one many early childhood educators face.  When you don’t make enough money and you’re trying to make a life for your family, you have to make big decisions.  Moving to Pittsburgh is the big decision of the moment.

Moving your life from one side of the country to the other requires a lot of decisions.  I have a lot right now.  Hotel room full of boxes.  Then there is my car which also filled with stuff.  I’ve weening down what I’ll take with me on the road trip.  Still takes time though.

I like the clock, but do I need it?  It would be a shame to throw it away.  I don’t know.  Oh, I’ll just keep it.

Seeing everything in my hotel room, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  It’s not just boxes.  There is change of address, billing information, banks, finding job, finding a home… so much more.  There is either a time commitment and/or energy requirement.  Everything needs it’s time and they’re all important.

At times, I’ve paced around my hotel room thinking about what to do next… and that’s all I do.  Pace feverishly around thinking I have to do that, then I see something else, and I walk in that direction.  I’m just thinking about doing things and not actually getting things done.  Then I get tired of thinking and retreat into my head.  I sit on the bed and watch ESPN… the fetal position for my mind.

It’s those moments where – figuratively, and sometimes literally – I shake myself out of it.  I say out loud, “Stop.”  Yes, out loud to myself.  “Get a box and take it down to the car,” I say.

I follow my own command.  It doesn’t sound like my own voice.  I know I’m saying the words, but it still has the effect of someone else telling me what to do… like the logical, calm me.  It works though.  I get a box and take it down to the car, getting ready for another visit to the post office.  Most of the time, that’s all it takes.  Stopping and restarting.  Everything can be overwhelming, but one thing is manageable.

Moral of the Story:  You can’t complete everything at one time, but you can complete everything one at a time.

Everyone has those days, weeks, and months where work and life require all of your energy and attention.

May & August come to mind.  The teacher calendar.

You walk around not knowing what to do, but you know there is a lot to do.  I’ve gone through that feeling a lot this year.  Meandering around, juggling everything in your head.

But nothing is going to get done until you actually start getting stuff done; and the first step in that direction can be hard, but snap out of it and get stuff done.

There will always be that DRDP’s.

There will always be that observation.

There will always be paperwork.

One thing at a time.  That’s how you get things done.

For me, that one thing at a time is figuring out how to down size what’s left to fit in my car.  Then it’s hitting the road throughout California.  Maybe a couple of posts from various locations?  Perhaps.  A Guy in Preschool hits the road.  Sounds like a fun idea.  Go for it I guess.


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