Packing Sand; Pretend You’re Good At It

Today I made order in my office. For the first time since my husband’s death a year ago, I cleaned my desks. This comes after many times in the past year attempting to press myself forward. My attempts at living are very much like my process of beginning a writing project. I write a paragraph, stop and look at it, think, edit, delete, start again. It is what the author Dixie Browning used to term ‘packing sand’.

When you get your car tires stuck in the sand at the beach, you go forward, back up, go forward, back up. You keep doing this until finally you’ve packed enough length of sand that the car will keep on going up and out of the sand. The process can be helped by throwing a burlap sack under a back wheel. I think my burlap sack was cleaning my desks. I am moving firmly forward now.

I knew I crossed some sort of line toward cultivating my new life when I chose between two mouse pads. I had been using two, one on top of the other ever since I moved into this house. The top one my mother gave me over fifteen years ago. Worn, it was still cute, printed with an office angel to help me through stress. Beneath it was a mouse pad printed with Victorian red and yellow roses, a gift from a writer friend. I tossed the office angel and chose the newer, vibrant, roses. It suits me better now.

I have spent the past year attempting to come to terms with the changes in my life, to cultivate a new life, to find a life of my own in the midst of being tugged between the needs of myself, my grandchildren, and my elderly mother. It’s been the packing sand method, two steps forward, one step back. I’ve come to learn that this is living life. It’s all part of the whole.

On my desk, I came across a number of scribbled notes. Things I planned to do, ideas to help me do them. “Oh, yes…so that was what I wanted to do…and here’s those notes on…”

photoOne of the notes is a printout of a quote a friend sent me. First is the Theodore Roosevelt quote: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Below this is printed advice from my friend: “Pretend you’re good at it.”

I’d forgotten. Now I smile.

I’m at my desk, writing again. Pretend I’m good at it.

15 thoughts on “Packing Sand; Pretend You’re Good At It

  1. Oh my Goodness!
    I am so very happy so see you writing “out loud” again. You are so very dear to so many of us that have never met you, but know you through your writing.
    I am reminded of you daily as I tend my hens, and my prayers for you are sent out through the cooing of the chickens into the early morning breeze.
    I still pull out my Valentine books and reread them time and again when I yearn for kind and gentle people. Funny, how they too are friends I’ve never met in person!
    So grateful you are able to feel some ease in your days again.
    Big Hug,


  2. It is so good to see you writing and inspiring again! You made me open my eyes to the mounting clutter on my own desk and dining room table. More than that, I actually did something about it today! For more months than I care to admit, I had turned a blind eye to my dropping things on the dining room table, my desk, my side table. Things that I “thought” I would deal with later. Later, took a long time getting here! Thanks for the kick in the pants that I needed. Maybe now I can pull out the sewing machine and start working on a quilt that I need for a wedding gift in October. Love you dear friend, keep packing the sand!


  3. Oh honey honey – you are good at what you do – be it taking care of your mom, taking care of the grandkids, or taking care of yourself! I admire you so much and send much love and hugs!!


  4. you are good at it all! no pretending necessary i have missed you so much but know that you were dealing with life altering changes hope you are filling the loss with happy memories and making new and good ones i would say chin up honey, but i feel like you might have heard it already ❤ with all good thoughts for you and your family and your future


    • Hi, Liz— I am chuckling with delight at how good a feeling I’ve gotten from cleaning my office! I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. I think it instructive that both of my grandchildren are away, and so Nana can play. 🙂


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