Do the Next Thing

Yesterday I drove home from Oregon.  All day I drove home from Oregon.  Still I was happy and hopeful to be getting home.  Then I missed the main turn off the freeway.  Still, I took the next turn and counted it as an adventure that I could find my way through an unfamiliar part of Sacramento to get to the ROAD GOING HOME.  And then I saw blinking lights.  And signs that said GO ANOTHER WAY.   I ended up having to backtrack and go an hour out of my way just as I was on THE HOME STRETCH.  12 hours of driving in all.  Still, how lucky am I that I can take off at a whim and go to visit my best friend in Oregon?  I have the resources to have my dogs taken care of while I am gone  (I think Noah enjoys my trips more than I do!)

Still.  Today I am left feeling unsettled and down.  Dare I say depressed?  Its embarrassing to be depressed (see above note about how fortunate I am.)  I think of all the things that need to be done, and all the things I am not doing because I am “depressed.”  So I just do the next thing.  Sometimes it is not the “priority” thing that needs to be done.  Sometimes it is not even the most fun thing that could be done.  Still, it is something that would need to be done sooner or later.  And though it does not make me particularly joyful and happy at the time I am doing it, I know that sooner or later it will bring me a sense of satisfaction that that chore has been done.

This morning it is sweeping the patio stones out the front door (why I like doing this I am not sure.)  Laundry of course.  And sitting down to do a little reading.  I glanced through a new Hobby Farm Home magazine, and there was a touching article about a young mother caring for her son with autism.  Oh my.  This life I am living is pretty simple.  Sophie is happy.  She has found a small corner of sun to sleep in.  Monk is happy, in his usual chair.  Bess is on her usual perch on the back of the dog bed underneath my desk.  And Noah seems content to be guarding the outdoors.  I look down and my black nightie is covered in Monk’s short tan hairs.  Because he loves me and I love him.  Life is good.  I will do the next thing and make it through this day just fine.


15 thoughts on “Do the Next Thing

  1. You’ve probably looked forward to that trip for quite some time and now that it is over i can understand you being a little down……..about the sweeping……i’ve always said sweeping is repetitive, monotonous AND theraputic. When i worked at Lowe’s i cannot tell you how many hours i have swept the floor……i think i enjoyed the instant gratification part of it too…….It made things look nice………So chin up girly i’ll bet tomorrow and every day thereafter looks better and better. Hugs! deb

  2. Listen. Everything is relative and you are entitled to your depression for your issues. There will always be someone or something that is worse. Still, that does not lessen your own issues nor mean they are not important.

    But you are correct, you are very blessed to be able to pick up and go and know that your babies will be well cared for. And sometimes, doing the next thing is just the right thing to do.

  3. Back during my corporate days when I was spending countless hours counseling folks who were about to or had already lost their jobs, this was the single most important piece of advice I offered. I told them there would be days filled with purpose and activity, then the switch could flip in two seconds time and the minutes would drag with little or no motivation to even care. But no matter which end of the spectrum they were on at any given minute, the advice was simply to DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING! Apparently somewhere along the way, someone has given you the same advice and it is very good advice indeed. I missed you while you were gone – if I can help in any other way, you know more than one way to reach me!

  4. I don’t think you need to justify feeling depressed. Everybody does from time to time, no matter how fortunate they are in all manner of things. You have a right to have the feelings that you do.

    Sometimes you just need to muddle through it.

  5. Weird things bug me when I come back from a trip, like having a couple weeks worth of magazines stack up. It’s not like I’m going to be quizzed on reading them, and I’m pretty sure I subscribed to enjoy them, not feel rushed and obligated to get through them. So yeah, I get what you’re saying, especially about something like sweeping the patio.

  6. Aw Debs – maybe you have post-vacation let down, kind of like the let down after the holidays. My advice is to just go with it. Grieve for the end of your trip for however long it takes and just keep doing the next thing. xoxo

  7. post vacay blues–you realize all the things you could be, should be , want to be doing . But are not doing. Because it isn’t how you’ve lived your life up to now. Sometimes it’s a “this too shall pass” or next thing kind of thing. Sometimes it’s a wake up call. Only you know. I so get this

  8. Everyone has down days now and then, and sometimes for no seemingly good reason. This too shall pass. I agree with your strategy of doing the next thing. Soon you’ll look up and realize that your cloudy day has turned to sunshine.

    PS I’m reminded of a Bill Bright illustration of a train. It talks about how Feelings are the caboose behind the engine of Fact and the cars of Faith. It’s kind of towards the bottom of this webpage:

  9. As someone who suffers from depression, even though I know what a lucky girl I am really, it is not something you just get over. It is a process of ebb and flow. Be gentle with yourself. Sounds like you are doing the right things. I am often reminded by my mother, when I am in the depths of feeling low, that I can just do one thing that day – that’s all I have to do – and everything seems more manageable. Sounds like you are lucky – like I am – to be surrounded by your 4-legged furry children! They make everything so much better. 🙂
    Blessings to you,

  10. This was a thought-provoking post. I think your solution is spot-on. It made me think of a song from that old Santa Claus is Coming to Town ( Fred Astaire was the voice of Kris Kringle). KK was encouraging Winter and helping him overcome his discouragement. The song, which has been going thru my head all week is Put One Foot in Front of the Other. You’ve gotta be on the right track when you’re on the same wave length as Santa!

  11. Hope you’re feeling better! Maybe the cure for your post-BFF-trip blues (I so know that feeling!) is to plan your next adventure? (Maybe it could be coming down here for the Kings Mountain Art Fair again? I so enjoyed our visit and looking at all the fun art stuff in the redwoods! 🙂

    Your “do the next thing” is similar to my “pick the low-hanging fruit” strategy when I start feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to be doing but don’t feel like doing. If I can at least tackle something, it usually gets me onto the other stuff that needs doing, too.

    • LOL, love the “pick the low-hanging fruit” analogy. Gotta remember that for the next time! And yes indeed, that does sound like a cure! Off to check out the details!

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