Friday, March 4, 2011

Quote of the Day and Attendant Thoughts

"Sometimes I think, if I took the time to do all the things a person is supposed to do to live correctly I wouldn’t have time to live. I’d be too busy getting my oil changed, buying new A/C filters, flossing 3 times a day, cleaning my refrigerator once a week, buying fresh organic foods daily from the local farmer, changing the batteries in my smoke detector, volunteering, and other real important stuff." --The Nester

When I showed that to Vern, he paraphrased something Joel Spolsky wrote (which, unfortunately, we can't find).  The main idea is that if you want to be really good at something, you need to be lousy at a bunch of others.  We are mortal creatures, with limited minds.  (As much as we like to think that we're not, and that we are, cranially speaking, all that and a bag of chips.)  By choosing to do one thing, we actively choose to NOT do every other thing we could possibly be doing at that moment in time.  Ditto with thoughts.  Ditto with words.  The power of choices as constrained by limited time is rather staggering.

So. Think about what you do each day. How do you use your time? What are you choosing over everything else? When you stop to actually see what you've been doing, does it fill you with joy and peace and a sense of satisfaction (or at least a knowledge that your family really needed you to scrub that grout and clean the oven)?  Or is it like a poem I just ran across that I wrote years ago about my struggle as a housewife?

Sunday shoes and crumpled denim
   clean laundry everywhere;
Unmade bed, and used towels on the 
   desk chair.
Open dresser drawers, crammed shelves
   and closets.
Hangers & boxes - receipts, books and stationery.

A plugged in iron not on, leaning against 
    the nightstand.
Half-finished notes, scissors and 
   wasted time.
Is this my life -- this disarray around me
    on the floor?
The unused day speaks from the mess --
   reproachful.*

I still have plenty of reproachful days, when my mortality gets the best of me, and I find myself searching for something that will make me happy . . . some kind of entertainment, some leisure activity . . . and I always find, at the end of the day, that I'm more frustrated and forlorn than I ever was at the beginning.

I'm going to try to pick a time each day to assess how I'm doing with what needs to be done, and jump in there and do it.  The days that I give myself over to my work, and consecrate my efforts and time to my children and husband, are the days when I'm happiest of all.

(*Yes, I write poetry.  I have written quite a bit, actually . . . but not for a long, long time.  Something to do with a persistent cycle of pregnancy, lactation and recovery for the last twelve years.)

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