The Devil’s in the Details

One of my favorite bloggers once asked, “Why do we feel compelled to confess the stupid things we do on the internet?”

Cleaning up computer files on a Sunday morning, I found this draft blog post that I wrote shortly after returning to work full-time (almost a year before I started this blog). I thought it was so funny that the unposted piece was about failing to keep my shit together that I had to confess about it on the internet.

Yesterday, as I realized that I had overlooked another detail – I already can’t remember what it was – in planning my day, it occurred to me that details were like confetti in my life these days.  Tiny pieces of colorful paper floating through the air, landing all around me, getting lost and caught in the cracks.  It’s an attractive image, until you remember that moms are always the ones who have to clean up.

Today I thought I had it all together.  Instead of frantically dashing out the door leaving a trail of forgotten items and winding my kids up with stress as we raced to beat the school bell, I had packed both girls a lunch, brushed everyone’s teeth and braided hair all around.  We were ready for school on time and left the house without leaving anything behind.  Everyone got a hug and a kiss and then I was off to the bus stop.  I practically walked right on to the bus, taking the last empty seat, and calmly began to enjoy my book.

detour

Unfortunately, I was on the wrong bus.  The first two stops were the same, and when I glanced up, I saw a detour sign at the end of the bridge, so I didn’t think anything was strange when we turned onto the wrong street.  I went back to my book, and when I looked up again I found myself on lower Queen Anne, instead of Pioneer Square.  I didn’t get to work until ten o’clock, and I was scattered and useless the rest of the day.

When I told the story to a coworker, she said, “It’s them or you!”  Sometimes it scares me how often that seems to be true.  Sometimes I wonder if I sweat the small stuff too much, if maybe paying less attention to detail would allow me to appreciate my bigger successes more.  But when I try to relax and back off, the details come back to bite me in the ass.  When I try to plan every last detail, I become overwhelmed by my failures.  Where is the right balance? I don’t know.  I have never gotten close enough to that happy medium to see what it looks like.  But I don’t think I let so much more slip by me than the average mom.

This afternoon I picked up a book at the library (while paying off library fees costing more than the lunch I didn’t have to buy because I actually packed one today) called Bluebird.  It is supposed to analyze the psychology of happiness, and I’m hoping that it will contain some insight on how to capture more of the confetti flying around my head, as well as how to enjoy the spectacle of those pieces that flutter to the ground.

Bluebird was a great book, and it spurred a bunch of reading about happiness. I still pick up happiness books more often than I actually have time to read them. In the nearly two years since I wrote this post, I have learned to enjoy the look of confetti strewn across the floor.

confettimessThanks to this lovely blogger for the use of her photo as a metaphor for my life.

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