project thing-a-day: 2. the spilled coffee

my coffee cup runneth over

It's happened a half-dozen times this week alone. I'll be making a cup of pourover coffee in the cute little cherry-red apparatus you see pictured above. It's the same routine I've had since I moved here in November: I'll measure out the beans (one heaping silver soup spoon of regular and one of decaf because I'm trying not to be such an addict anymore and GODS is it hard but I digress), grind them as finely as my (t)rusty old blade grinder (an heirloom from my parents, possibly with a year or two on me) will allow, and arrange the elements while the kettle's on the stove. When the water's hot enough, into the grounds it goes—first a trickle; then a drizzle; then, with an eyeballed half of the cup left to fill, all at once.

And every one of these past half-dozen times, I have, without fail, poured in too much water. This wouldn't be as heartbreaking as it is if I didn't then walk away, smug and secure in my eyeballing abilities, to let the filter keep dripping and the precious nectar of life in the little earthenware mug below keep getting more dilute and the pool on the counter keep dribbling outward.

And gosh darn it if I don't feel a lot like that little earthenware mug lately.

I am a planner. I prep and schedule and note and track. Every morning, before I get out of bed, I do a mental walkthrough of the day ahead of me, noting if I need to pack lunch and how much I should probably pack based on the amount of activity I'm projecting, or what time I will need to leave one job to be ten minutes early to the next and which book I should bring with me for those ten minutes. My daily planning notebook is color-coded. My process for how to approach life has been simplified and refined over the last year-ish since I started using it, and by all rights I should be so very On Top Of Things that an oxygen mask might be in order.

And yet lately all my plans—based on months of tracking and reams of notes and knowing what methods work under which circumstances—are consistently too much to handle. I am stretched out and worn thin; I am dilute. I plan and prep and pack and make educated guesses that have not failed me for a hundred thousand iterations and then I am wrong. I feel ashamed by this. In a world where life is fair and/or I am competent, my methods should work and I shouldn't ever find myself overburdened. All my problems should line themselves up in a neat queue to be managed in a timely and orderly fashion. Since this isn't happening and I know life isn't fair, I therefore must assume that I'm hopelessly incompetent and shouldn't be trusted to dress myself in the mornings, let alone manage something as complicated as a real grown-up life.

Here is the point where I hear Man of Steele's voice saying "shoulda, woulda, coulda..."

Breathe. Don't rely on a false idea of the world freezing directly after measurement - you're a scientist and you know that's not the way it goes. Growth means change; the same process that worked the first time around will stand again for yet another period of refinement. You're not wrong; you're just not completely right yet.

Coffee is precious, after all. No sense at all wasting it just because you thought you were doing it right and were proven wrong.

Did I say coffee? I meant life. Or time. Or something.

(But seriously though I spend good money on some god damn delicious bougie-ass coffee and I need to stop wasting it).

-b