Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Resolved . . .

Have you made any New Year's resolutions yet? I know, it's not even Christmas, but I have to spend at least as much time pondering what resolutions I want to make as it takes me to break those resolutions - about a week.

Last year I had a three page list of resolutions.  I remember exactly 3 of them: read more, call my good friends regularly and get more sleep. I do think I've worked on that last one most diligently.

I'm pretty sure that another one had to do with losing weight and getting in better shape.  After all, what self-respecting American woman doesn't have that on her to-do list every year? This year I'm paring down my list considerably: spend less, eat less and get more sleep - hey, I've heard that the sleep thing is really important!

Along the same lines as a list of resolutions for the New Year is another list that has become popular in the last few years, a "Bucket List." Have you made one of those?  I only have one recommendation, make this list when you are young and stand a better than even chance of accomplishing the things on your list.  It's not that there aren't some wild and crazy things I'd like to do at my advanced age, but I realize that the chance of doing most of them is rapidly decreasing.

But I'll share a couple of mine with you. I'd like to go on a cruise - my DH wants to go to Alaska, but I don't care where the boat is going as long as it brings me back to dry land eventually. I'd also like to drive across the USofA, and I'd like to take my grandchildren someplace they've never been before - an adventure for all of us.  See, those things aren't too wild and crazy.  Once upon a time I did want to parachute out of an airplane but not so much now.  I consider that one definite advantage of getting older - getting wiser!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time, Time, Time

I am a time-waster. I admit it. I can sit down at the computer to check e-mail and 30 minutes later, after several games of Free Cell, finally get around to the task at hand. I can always find something to do to keep from doing what needs to be done. There's another word for that. Now what is it? Hmm?

It doesn't help matters that I have a somewhat "addictive" personality [did I mention Free Cell] and the things I find myself addicted to are those time-wasters like crossword puzzles and before that sudoku; Twitter and before that Facebook; and my newest on-line addiction, "Pinterest" - oh my, so many things to see and do there!

My DH can tell you about all of the hobbies I've been "addicted" to over the years:  cross-stitching, smocking, knitting, wreath-making, sewing, photography, and worst of all, shopping [not technically a hobby huh?] I have closets full of the remnants of those former "hobbies." My latest hobby is card-making. It's all the rage, and if you don't believe me, check out Pinterest. I can tell you that I have made all of our Christmas cards this year. I also make birthday cards, Thanksgiving cards, etc.

The best thing I can say about all these hobbies is that they are an outlet for my creativity. There is definitely satisfaction in that. And many of my hobbies have led to hand-made gifts which have saved money over the years - not sure how the math works out though when you take into account the money spent on materials, etc. Let's just say that the people at Michael's and Hobby Lobby know my name!

The worst thing I can say about these hobbies is that they give me an excuse to not do the things that need to be done, or the things that would be more edifying. For example, I don't read books as much as I did at one time. I miss that. I don't cook as much. The DH misses that! My Mother would say, "Why can't you be addicted to something like house-cleaning?"

Oh yes. Now I remember that other word. I believe it is procrastination which in psychology "refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time." (Wikipedia) Now there are a whole lot more psychological definitions of, justifications for and baggage resulting from procrastination, but we don't need to get into that.

The funny thing is that the older I get, the more I think about time itself. How precious it is, how finite and how fleeting and how much I want, no, need to be a good steward of the time I have remaining. And of course as my obsession with obituaries shows [see earlier post] I am keenly aware of  how uncertain the future is. So you'd think that I would not allow myself to waste any time, right? Well, it turns out that there is a physiological reason for my addiction to the Internet, et. al. Via a great article on this topic by Betty Duffy I read about a book by David J. Linden called The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good. Linden and Duffy do a much better job of writing about this important topic than I ever could. I especially liked what Duffy had to say about the spiritual aspect of focusing on external stimuli for pleasure. She actually makes the point that the absence of pleasure, or suffering if you will, has merit and benefit to our lives and that our very survival depends on it!  Go read her article and let me know what you think.

In the meantime I'll just be right here playing a game of Free Cell.....