This I Believe

Jill - Jamestown, Rhode Island
Entered on January 2, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

This I believe

I believe I hang on to too many things. I hang on to old papers, receipts, keys, belly fat, and lots of worry about the world preceded by a daily ‘to do’ list about a mile long. For example, I know exactly where my old college id is – several of them in fact – and when I go to put another paper into a desk drawer for safe-keeping, one falls out. I pine away for the simplicity of lost youth, free time, and the energy that was mine to use while unconsciously feeling my chubby thighs rub against the armrests of the old wood chair. If I just hurry I can start today to retrain for that mini-triathlon I did in my senior year. But somewhere between forgetting to take my multivitamin and another cup of coffee, it occurs to me that hanging on like this my life. It’s part of what sociologists refer to as “the second shift,” where mommies with jobs just go crazy hanging on to the things that are part of juggling family, work, self, and citizenship. If I had an extra 3 hours a day, I’d think, I can simply be more productive, and what’s more, positive about who I am and what I’m able to accomplish. But of course, on my ‘to do’ list includes a docket of things to worry about: Global warming, world hunger, and the list is endless. In fact, I drive a gas guzzler but can’t afford to exchange it for something Europeans might approve of. I think of these things while I make my son’s lunch with individually packaged items, including a small yogurt that I know he won’t eat and will end up in some landfill because the plastic cup is not recyclable. I wonder why it’s not. Large and small, the things I hang on to feel insurmountable, which I hope isn’t true about global warming or any of the other really important things that go on in the world. But right now I need to pay the car insurance bill (it’s late, so I better call it in and pay the extra fee); find a babysitter; and do several loads of wash and the grocery shopping. Driving to the store, I plan my weight loss strategy and wonder what it will be like to become that athlete I was in college. Just how would my new image – and the time it took to make it – fit into my world? I hang on to a lot of things, but I believe this one I shall let go for today.