Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Noble Art of Letting Things Slide

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone." - Lin Yutang

I totally subscribe to the quote above, but some people would not be comfortable with the concept. I recognize that "leaving things undone" is an art. I do not think that life is intended to be a series of tasks that are to be crossed off of a master to-do list. And, some of the best experiences in my life have happened as a result of "leaving things undone."

I have friends who gauge their weekend's success factor by the number of tasks and projects that they were able to complete. They recite their accomplishments to me with satisfaction and pride. To me, my family and friends seem to be over-scheduled, harried and stressed. There are always more meetings to attend, more phone calls to be made, and more emails that beckon a response. Tasks and commitments can consume you, if you let them.

My brother is consumed with his job. He just told me that he is working three weeks in a row, without a day off. He has a two-year old son...I think he needs to leave some things undone.

I had lunch with a friend today, and she apologized for not answering an email that I'd sent to her. She explained that she is making a conscious effort to really be with her kids when they are at home. Prior to making this decision, she found that her time was sucked up by the computer or the telephone. And, often times the minutes were being used up by people who were not nearly as important as her children.

Being busy with tasks does not hold any allure for me. I am blessed to have free time through voluntary poverty and a "wealthy" partner, but I have also made a conscious effort to acquire more free time. There are lots of things that remain "undone" in our house, but my daughter is not one of those items. As a Mom, I am *there* for her whether it be at home or at school. I place a priority in spending time with her. Tasks will always wait for me...people will not. They grow up, they move, and sadly, sometimes they die. I will not regret having never made my bed, but I know that I would regret not having spent time with those I love.

And, when my daughter has left home to attend college, there will be an abundance of free time for getting things done. I will have ample holes in my day to organize paperwork piles and corral dust bunnies. Oh happy day.

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