I was at a kid’s birthday party over the weekend when I found myself saying the following in response to a conversation about moving in a million different directions at once:
“One thing at a time.”
I smiled as though I had revealed some sort of magical secret… I mean, why can’t it always be that simple, right?
“Yea, well, tell that to my wife.”
A moment ago, I was so self-assured. But when I really stopped to think about it, I couldn’t have been further from the mark. When the hell was the last time I actually focused on JUST.ONE.THING? I mean, what was I even talking about?!
I understood where this man was coming from, because I empathized completely with the wife.
The truth is, it’s so much easier to give this kind of advice than it is to receive. Women (for the most part) don’t compartmentalize the same way our male counterparts do. It’s called the Ball of Wire Theory (and thank you to my dear friend Nicole who originally pointed me to an article that explains how this works. I strongly suggest you watch the video because it’s hysterical and also very true).
Like the string of Christmas lights we unearth each year from the far corners of our attics and crawl spaces, a woman’s mind is an endless highway of memories, thoughts, conversations, actions, and yes, clutter that is inexplicably woven in a dizzying pattern.
This is one of the many reasons we meditate, and why we must constantly remind ourselves to slow down. Our minds are always racing and connecting things that couldn’t seem further apart (and yes, it is incredibly exhausting). The idea of someone doing NOTHING drives us completely bonkers. Who has time to think about nothing? Is that even possible?!
And what about my Ball of Wire? This might sound crazy, but when I envision my future, I see EVERYTHING. The house is tied in with the baby, which is related to the adoption of more shelter pups and job growth and a barnyard wedding. It’s all in there, but there is no timeframe for these objects—they are all a part of my future. And so when someone asks me about marriage or babies I start to panic because now I’m forced to visit that superhighway of clutter and go to that ONE BOX.
I can’t get there without tripping over everything else in sight first.
Tell me, are you able to compartmentalize or do you have a ball of wire, too?