Friday, November 9, 2012

Yard Work and "I Might Die Tomorrow"

EDIT: I've imposed a new rule on myself: No proofreading or "fixing" anything, just write and click "publish"! That, plus the fact that I dozed off quite a few times while typing this post, may possible equal a very, um, interesting post!)

I'm learning something about myself.
Namely, this:
I LOVE yard work!
I don't go out and do it nearly often enough; school and laundry and meals and messes keep me inside too much. Well. To be honest, I choose to be inside dealing with those. Yes, they are necessary. But I am learning that they don't have to take as much time as I give them.
I'm learning so much, seems like something new everyday. Things that I've "known" and even "preached" for years. Now I'm actually GETTING it!
Things like priorities.
I have an index card taped up on my kitchen cupboard where I can't miss it (I love index cards!). It says (in bright red Sharpie (I love Sharpies too!) ),

"Today might be the day I die."

I got the quote from a documentary on some extreme sportsman/stuntman we watched, Christian Hosoi or Matt Hoffman or someone.
(I also love those things- I get so inspired! I -still- want to accomplish things like that, I point my children toward them. Not for the acclaim or praise of people, but because they seize life, they live hard. They seem to encapsulate my very favorite quote:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” )

I'm feeling parenthetical, apparently.

The thought is common enough, kicked around in all the Chicken Soup-y books and the like. There are other quotes about living like you might die tomorrow, and living like you'll live 100 years; which statements, in their contexts, are both saying the same thing. Another version is, from L.M. Mongomery's character in Anne of the Island, "When you can't make up your mind, do what you will wish you had done when you are 80." Or something along those lines. 
For me, I get so wrapped up in the details of what is right in front of me, I miss out on the glorious big picture. I'm so focused on keeping the backsplash of the kitchen sink clean all day, for example, that I miss out on the sun blazing radiantly off the sugar maple's undressing, on the snaggle-tooth grins of my daughters as they scoop up huge armfuls of piled leaves to load into the tractor wagon, on the goofy mini-manliness of my son as he backs up the tractor to the trailer to haul the leaves and then drives "no hands" across the yard. 
This is not good.
I know, I know, that in 10 years from now, I will NOT remember whether the counters were wiped, and under the couch swept. But I will remember the glittery Hello Kitty shoes kicked off beside the mountain of leaves so they won't be lost, and the giggles of my 2 year old as she aims the leaf blower's nozzle at a pile of leaves and sends a crazy swirl of leaves dancing through that special autumn sunshine. 
IF I'm there to see them in the first place. 
Today, I was. 
and that's when I realized how much I love yard work. 
and discovered it has another benefit.
well, I think it's a benefit. Maybe it's something I should be embarrassed about. 
When I've been out doing yardwork for a few hours, I come back into the house with an entirely different perspective. The little things don't bug me as much. I'm much happier with living in my house rather than trying to keep it looking like a Pinterest picture. I'm able to "zoom out" better, see the room as a whole, rather than a few detailed problem spots. And, somehow, this gives me a better perspective and more ideas on how to handle those problem spots!
Given the message of the above quotes, I think this is a good thing. 
I look around and I think, "Yes. This home could be cleaner. It could be tidier. It could be better organized. I could do it, and do it well. BUT. It would come at a price. Everything does. The price I would pay would be those moments. Those precious, jewelled, golden moments enjoying and laughing with my children, doing things we will all remember long after we've forgotten the dust bunnies behind Mama's rocking chair. 
And do you know what? 
I've heard women say similar things before, and, to my shame... I've judged them. I've mentally accused them of using soft, feely-feely Polly-Anna-ism to justify and glorify their laziness.

THAT'S ugly.  

So it's especially good for me to be where I am. Among other things,  I can repent. I can quit judging cruelly and wrongfully, and instead i can offer friendship to my fellows.
And I can make a choice that reminds me and teaches my children powerfully:
"What is truly important?"

-a book I highly recommend, as well as a few blog posts I found encouraging:

1 comment:

  1. Oy. I was so sleepy I didn't link the book or the posts! The posts are now linked in Monday's post. Here's the book: