One of my favorite quotes of all time isn’t poetic or spiritual or deep or elegant. The late, wonderful , Broadway actress, Marian Seldes said it and it is about as plain and unvarnished as you can get …and for me, one of the most very essential truths about myself. It is this homely little nugget. “Well, I love a task. I really do.” True enough about me that it could be my epitaph.
I love everything about tasks: feeling competent, feeling useful, feeling engaged, feeling challenged …and best of all perhaps, satisfying my closet OCD nature by being able to check something off a “to-do” list. I feel absurdly happy just writing this paragraph…. THAT is how much I love tasks.
I also have a tendency to completely lose myself into a large task at the expense of all else including the most basic of things, sleeping 8 hours, eating properly, exercising every day… I get a little, um, intense about my large projects. Oh fine, the truth is, I get really, really intense.
And this is a good thing…for the project. I get some very high quality work out there as a result. And it is, generally, good for me too.
Right now though, I am trying hard not to take on any new thing, no auditions, no classes, no volunteer work. I’ve come out of an intense three-year period working with all I have on two huge tasks, one of which was voluntary, the other essential. One was the grueling hard work of earning Professional Chef Certification, the other helping my daughter with special needs begin a new stage in life. I gave each absolutely everything I had to give, and sometimes it felt like more than I had to give. Two such different things… both pursued with passion. Both completed so satisfactorily I could only collapse at the end into the most profound gratitude.
And collapse is le mot juste. I am played. I am very happy, I am very grateful and I am very tired. It is time for sabbatical. Time to make my well of energy and creativity fertile again. Time to turn over the earth of my imagination, harrow those newly turned fields, lifting out all the weeds and clods…. and let all lie fallow a bit, and perhaps to see what unexpected seeds may be lifted by gentle breezes into the newly nourished lands of my being.
I know it won’t last too very long, something or other will show up seducing me to jump in with both feet…but for now I am going to try to hold onto doing nothing but enjoying my gratitude… and settling in for a time of taskless thanks.