Life continues to zip by at a thousand miles per hour. I am so busy I just can't stop. My world is ruled by to-do lists, lists that never shrink but only get longer despite constant crossing out. Every day on the way to work I think of things I have not done and wonder when I am going to do them. Rarely do I think of the things I have done, which of late would be a wonderously long and satisfying list. Would that I kept the multiple scraps of paper with which to remind myself of the time and effort spent, but no, it is all about what is next.
Today I spent an extremely unprofitable day at work during which I accomplished precisely nothing off my to-do list. In fact the list got longer, as gazing into space during conference calls I thought of other things I could put on it. I believe I may have even started a new post-it note. When I got home, I jumped in the car and drove to Bedford. There I delivered some wine glasses to a new home, and a few miles later picked up a coffee table. Not an ideal swap in terms of volume of stuff in vs volume of stuff out, but apparently we needed a coffee table. It's Danish, and has a lovely sheen to the top that I expect the children to make short work of on their way down to the wood beneath. This is all completely irrelevant as I'll never actually manage to place a coffee on it, as that would require sitting down and stopping doing stuff.
This got me to thinking. What exactly is the point? Why spend money (and time) on a coffee table that I am patently never going to get to appreciate? The same can be said of many of the things I do with the aim of having a nice pleasant place called home to relax in. The getting ready to relax part happens with alarming frequency, whereas the actual relaxation never does. If I sit down I feel guilty that I could be doing something, so I spring up and do it, all the while thinking of other things I need to do. What I really need is to stop and enjoy a short period of relaxation (whilst everything goes to hell in a handcart, obviously), just to appreciate for a microsecond some of the good times.
What I would like to know from the old timers out there (you know who you are!) is when does it stop? When do you run out of things to do? When do children not need ferrying places? When do they stop leaving stuff all over the floor? When does a house stop getting dirty? When do clothes not need washing any morey? When do plants not need watering? When do light-bulbs stop fizzling out? When does dust stop settling? Or rather, when does the dust settle? When can I stop worrying about the next whatever it is and enjoy the present? At what age does one learn this life skill exactly? If I'm not careful I'll fizzle out before the light bulb.
Ah yes, the light bulb. On February 29th of this year, an easy date to remember, I returned home from Arizona. Literally the minute I sat down and turned on a light, the bulb went. This sums up all of the above. Anyway, I got up again, and replaced it with one of those new-fangled long-life ones. The packet said it would go 8 years, this is nothing short of miraculous! What a boon for busy people! I would thus expect to not be changing the bulb in the downstairs toilet again until two leap years from now, on February 29th 2024. I will be 48. You read it here first.
So, answers to my questions on a post-it please. Just don't let me get hold of it.
The bad news Jono? Both of my children (25 and 20) still need ferrying around, still leave clothes strewn about the house and one of them doesn't even live with us (at the moment!) As for all the other stuff that fills your day, remember this - you invited them into your life, you maintain them, you indulge them, which means that you have the power to uninvite them, abandon them and forget them. Pick and choose what you want to keep and what you wish to spend time doing and ditch the rest. We are slaves to peer pressure, consumerism and tat. Brake those shackles and, to quote Renton in Transpotting, "Choose Life". Here end etc this mornings lesson.ReplyDelete
There is tat, and there is tat. I have tat. Not garish tat, but tat like a signed and framed Graeme Swann test match shirt, a model A380, or a china egg from Iceland. Tasteful tat. But totally useless nonetheless. Also not strictly necessary is my collection of pine cones from around the world. I volunteered to bin these but amazingly Mrs L did not want to. She was happy for the cuddly squirrel that sits with them to go, but that would obviously be sacrilege. The squirrel (and his many friends) are also proof that peer pressure has no sway in Chateau L.
I suppose I might qualify as one of those old timers who knows who he is. My response is that it doesn't slow down but you do.ReplyDelete
Jono, in many ways I am with Steve on this one. When I was 43, Mrs NQS and I made a decision: we would get off the home counties treadmill and I would leave full-time employment. The rest is history. The financial consequences of leaving a reasonably well paid job and becoming a part-time window cleaner are obvious, but the benefits have been without price. I am not going to get all philosophical here but, as Steve points out, it was all about choice. Once the decision was made we simply worked towards it and made it happen.ReplyDelete
For what it's worth, our sons were 17 and 20 at the time. The older was with us, on and off, for a couple more years, and the younger for another 5 or 6. They both still talk to us.
Very interesting, and there are at least some plans with a hint of similarity afoot in Ch. L. Was this a response to feeling old and knackered, or just jaded?Delete
Increasingly disgruntled at what was happening in my place of work. Opportunity for voluntary redundancy came up; reasonable package. This was too good a chance to miss, so I volunteered and surprisingly got it - in theory I was too young, but by now I was so grumpy at work they were probably happy to see the back of me...Delete
...I should add, within 9 months we were living in Seaton.Delete
The crux of a life change is entirely related to one's children, unless you win the Lottery or inherit silly amounts of money. Once they are no longer financially dependent on you, do whatever the **** you like. I have just hit this stage at the age of 55 as both my kids will now be living and working in London. I am not going to give them any more of my money. I have given up my job in the very stressful NHS after 34 years and moved into a less stressful part-time job. Less hours, less stress, more birding and moth-trapping. You don't need lots of money to be happy, just a pair of bins around your neck and a 125W MV bulb!ReplyDelete