Last week, in the middle of deadline mayhem, I was scheduled to "hostess" a luncheon at church. This involves coming up with decorations and dessert for a monthly meeting. With work breathing down my neck, I found myself pulling out the mixer to make a cake, and I stopped cold in my tracks.
The women at the luncheon rarely eat dessert. And an apple pie from the store is $3. What if I used the time to work on one of the deadline projects, instead of baking a dessert that no one would eat? It was possible for me to bake a from-scratch cake, but was that the best use of my time?
It occured to me that too much of my life is held captive this way, victim of my own unreasonable expectations of my available time and the front I choose to present to the world of my abilities. It is only aggravated by my perception of my work situation. My jobs (all three of them), are home-based. Unfortunately my reasoning too often follows the path of least resistance. If I'm here, then why can't I just throw a cake in the oven? or write another e-mail for 4-H? or cast on another knitting project (preferably for charity)? or plan an entire 5K race?
The potential for mayhem, not to mention aggravation and stress, is obvious. Less obvious, at least to me, is that it is almost always self-created.
The past few months, I have found myself evaluating my time much more carefully. I have no idea what caused the switch, but I suspect it has something to do with a growing sense that there is simply no way for me to get around to all the things that I thought I would accomplish in my lifetime, back when I was young and foolish. I need to be more careful to make time for those things that I hold dear, and make the conscious decision to jettison the rest. Things are getting crossed off the list by necessity.
Doing something just because I can do it, or because I think it looks better if I do it, has no place on that list.
Watching movies with my sick youngest son? These days, nothing competes with that. I know that the days of one of my sons asking me to spend time with him are growing very short in number. I was open to almost any suggestion. We watched the first Star Wars, and How to Train Your Dragon, and Fellowship of the Ring, and quite a few episodes of The Muppet Show.
If I happened to finish knitting a sweater while doing so, well, that is just icing on the proverbial cake.