I fill things too full.

I always have filled my morning coffee cup too full. At home and at work, I fill it up to the brim, then carrying the cup to wherever I plan to work is a real challenge, and I usually spill some along the way. Through the decades more than one co-worker has decided I should forgo my morning coffee altogether because of coffee spills.

One would think I would learn, and stop pouring coffee before the top of the cup, and I do, but then I need to add milk, and that takes it right to the top, every time! I almost seem inherently unable to stop doing this. I now consider this one of my hard-wired traits.

That is because the trait extends beyond coffee. Way beyond. I fill my watering jug for my plants too full, and spill drops on my carpet. I fill my arms too full with groceries when carrying them inside from my car, and drop some. I fill my bedside table too full with books, only to have the piles fall off at the slightest jolt, such as my attacking my alarm clock in the morning. I fill my To Do Today list too full to possibly get everything done this day.

And I fill my life too full. This is the source of the problem. There are just too many things I want to do in my life.

So many possibilities

In school, it was hard for me to concentrate because my interests pulled me in all directions at once. I remember exactly where I was sitting, in a classroom alone and what I was studying, when I finally really learned to concentrate, when I learned to un-fill my mind and focus on one thing. It was my senior year of college; what a shame it wasn’t sooner. But it has helped me ever since.

It was hard to declare a major in college because of all the other subjects I also wanted to pursue.

Some would say my working life has been too full. I’ve had many careers, and am not done yet. Some careers that I’ve seriously considered are now downgraded to future-hobby status.

Speaking of hobbies, many tempt me to further fill up my life, but that’s another column for another time, and I cannot even think about them in May.

May in Maine is probably my fullest month.

The house needs spring cleaning, inside and out. The outside plants are demanding food and attention as they wake up. The porch needs scrubbing and decorating because we wish to use it.

I want to get out the summer clothes and shoes from the basement, so I need to put the winter ones away to make room, they must be clean when I put them away, and I might as well clean out the closet before refilling it.

Without missing out

This year a friend prodded me to join her in a yard sale, which means I need to gather things to sell from the basement and garage, and those areas need cleaning anyway. As long as I’m cleaning the basement, I finally promise myself I will go through Mother’s slides I inherited 19 years ago, lovingly keep 5 percent and discard 95 percent.

All of this on top of my already full working life!

How good it will feel to get it all done. How lucky I am to have a home and yard and seasonal clothes, as well as an active life with many interests. How welcome are spring and summer.

Plan, prioritize, evaluate, readjust. I hope to attend to every career, hobby and project that pulls me, each in its turn. I don’t want to lie on my deathbed and realize I missed out on any passion of mine.

Although I’m always busier than I think I want to be, and my life is fuller than I seem to wish, I have always been grateful that so much interests me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The fullness of my life is a blessing. I can put up with a little spilled coffee.

Dianne Russell Kidder is a writer, consultant and social worker, who is based in Lisbon. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.