Need To

I’m a lover of lists, and plans. Every week I open my day planner, draw in the outlines of each day’s schedule–the meetings planned long in advance, the deadlines. I add in errands, reminders. Monday, groceries. Wednesday, make spare keys. Friday, play games. As things come up, the sketch of my day is fleshed out, filled in. Have lunch with this friend. Drop into that colleague’s office. Sew the button back on to these pants.

Crossing items off is soothing. Satisfying. Affirming, even: I said I would do this thing (if only to myself), and I did it. I’ve fulfilled my duties, gotten through what I need to do, earned the blank hours of time my day planner doesn’t presume to chart.

The last month has not, in day planner terms, gone well at all. Items pushed to the next day, and the next, then the next week. I send apologies, trim all but the bones from my projects, but still every line of every day is filled. Still so many lines are going uncrossed. I need to write that paper. Need to stop ignoring this blog. Need to do laundry. Need to sew that button back on to these fucking pants, the ones I’m wearing right now that are driving me up the wall.

The need-to list crowds out the rest. The uncharted hours don’t feel earned. Maybe I’ll try to poke at work or catch up on chores. More likely I’ll sit, text, feel too much guilt over being unproductive to allow myself a book or a night out, knowing that not-relaxing is just going to make tomorrow more stressful. Knowing that if I can not-relax, I will.

So I drove twelve hours and change to fuck a friend for a weekend before turning around and driving back home.

I had a psychiatrist once who suggested I manage anxiety with casual sex. Call a friend with benefits, go to a swinger’s club, be safe of course but unwind. It was a good suggestion: sex is an outlet for all that nervous energy. It was a good suggestion but I’m not taking it much lately. Used to be a week without sex felt like an unbearably long time. (All right, it still feels that way.) Lately six weeks or more isn’t unusual. No partners in the state. It’s something I could change: I’m frequently reminded that there are about a million apps for that, but frankly it feels like just adding another stressor to the need-to list: find a partner.

I don’t have time for that. God, especially after indulging in last weekend. I need to write that paper. Need to do laundry. Need to sew that button back on to these pants.

There’s a chance the burden at work will decrease in a few weeks. (Honestly I’ll probably quit if it doesn’t.) Now I’ve moved and unpacked, things at home are starting to calm down. There’s a hope of getting back to days that are filled with lines I can actually cross off.

Until then, it would be nice if I could fill the prescription for casual sex alongside all my other meds.

One thought on “Need To”

  1. To-do lists are very much like packing a suitcase (or filing an apartment with things); you fill as much space as there is. I bought a smaller planner because of this!

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