I spend a little over an hour each morning and each evening in my car. It’s my thinking, praying, problem-solving time. It’s also idea time, musing time, and unwinding time. These are the bits and pieces of thought that have occupied me this week. Nothing world changing, or life altering. Just some things to ponder as you go about your day.
One of the drawbacks to school starting is that I must reprioritize my life. I still have the same twenty-four hours a day that I’ve had all summer, but now I must be away from the house from 6am to 6pm. That means that if I want to write, read, do the laundry, eat, watch television, shop, or live outside of my job, I must prioritize my activities and squeeze them into evenings and weekends. We all do it. My friend wants to exercise more this year and is trying to find the time to do it. Another friend is caring for an ailing parent and must now divide her time between her two families. We’re rushed and stressed and exhausted.
How do we cope? I think if we’re wise, we cope by saying “no”. We say “no” to projects and people and tasks that really aren’t worth our precious time. We say “no” to things that can wait. We say “no” to people who are manipulative. I used to say “yes” to almost anyone who needed my help. I found myself pulled in a dozen different directions and I never felt that I was giving any person or any task my best effort.
As I’ve gotten much older and a little wiser, I’ve learned to think and pray longer before I say “yes”. Oh, I still make mistakes. Last year I let myself be flattered into accepting a responsibility I really wasn’t prepared to handle. I was in WalMart one day and someone smiled and said “I’m so glad you’re taking care of that!”, and I found myself wondering, Am I? Am I really taking care of it or just going through the motions?Am I prepared to spend a major portion of my time and emotion on this vital task ?Can people depend upon me? The answer was “no”, which is what I should have said in the first place. I resigned and I’ve been at peace about it.
I think my point is that we all need to find that balance between what we need to do and what we want to do, between what we are asked to do and what we can do. And above all we need to take care of our physical and spiritual needs first, so we have the energy and strength to do the things that are important, and to do them well. Don’t feel guilty if you have to say “no” to someone today.
Education vs. Sports
This is my pet peeve: Why do we have to hear about every new coach, every quarterback, every game, EVERY MINUTE DETAIL of sports??? Our local sports coverage includes a report every time a coach leaves a school, is hired by a school, or is thinking about changing schools. Our local sports coverage includes interviews with the quarterbacks of every junior high, high school, and college team within a fifty mile radius! Just once I’d like to hear about the new English teacher or the new music teacher. Just once I’d like to see an interview with someone who earned a science scholarship. I’d like to see an interview with the captain of the debate team. We talk about the value of education. We talk about “no child left behind”. We talk about educational accountability. However, we sure don’t want to hear about it on television!
When I talk to relatives about memories of things we’ve shared, it amazes me to hear the differences between our experiences. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how strongly who we are affects our relationships with other people, and later, our memory of them. What made me think of it is a piece I’ve been working on about an uncle who terrified me when I was a child. My cousin, on the other hand, wasn’t a bit afraid of Uncle Ben, but was afraid of his brother- my grandfather! My grandfather was often drunk and loud and verbally abusive to others. However, I can’t remember ever being afraid of him. I can’t even remember him yelling at me. Is that because he didn’t, or because for some reason I erased it from my memories? We all know the story about a dozen witnesses at a crime scene describing a dozen versions of what happened. Only lately have I related that to my childhood. An interesting idea to ponder. I’ll tell you more about it later as I tell the story of my Uncle Ben.
I know as much about my computer as I know about how electricity works. I know how to turn it on and how to use it for a few basic functions. Beyond that I’m lost. So when Word decided not to open this weekend I did what all technically challenged women over fifty do- I called my son. He stayed on the phone with me and gave me instructions to try different options. Nothing worked. He finally told me to check the Microsoft website and consult technical support. Short version of the story- I tried three things on the ELEVEN page list of things to try before calling technical support. The third suggestion worked. Just further proof that 1. we are far too dependent on these things, and 2. they are only good when they are working! When they are NOT they are the devil.