Saturday, October 4, 2008

To be, or just to be~

To be, or to just be. How? That is the question.

Or to be busy as a bee.

I exist; I'm a human being. I am, so of course I be.

But there's being, there's being too much, and there is just being, I'm discovering, and I've been being too many things at once for too long. I'm trying to learn how to just be "in the moment" as they say, even while being busy as the proverbial bee.

"First things first" (my motto) sounds good, but it's tough to manage if the to do list is overloaded, and mine was. So I did many things first, seldom doing one thing at a time . . . or if I did, I dropped that task unfinished, hopped to another, and then to another, and eventually back to the first. Breathlessly finishing at deadline became a habit-- and a bit of a rush, to be honest-- a habit I now want to break.

Did I have to wait until retirement added hours of formerly prescribed time to my day to learn to just be? I suspect not, but I'm not sure.

Maybe it was the fact that my job took a huge chunk of my time, leaving my "wanna do" list squeezed into the constraints of a weekend along with my "must do" list, that made me feel so frazzled. I guarded my free time zealously, not wanting to waste a weekend minute cleaning the oven and fridge.

So here I am with some free time on my hands for the first time in 35 years, and feeling a little at loose ends. I'm not complaining, exactly, not complaining at all, really, but it's odd to be able to just be after years of rushing.

And old habits die hard.

I need to stop thinking I'm wasting time if I sit down and read for pure pleasure . . . in a bubble bath no less; or if I only do one thing at a time, slowly even; or if I do something that I want to do but doesn't absolutely need to be done . . . ever.

I want to stop resenting the everyday tasks--cooking, making beds, vacuuming-- as intrusions on my "free time," and slow down and do them one by one. All time is free, after all. I know no one who has more than I do, or less. Where can you buy time?

It's a gift, time is, and perhaps nothing wastes it more than to pack it so tightly that it passes in a blur.

So I'm keeping busy, but doing it more slowly. Busy as a Zen bee.
To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles
and by opposing end them.~ William Shakespeare


RiverPoet said...

Wow - beautiful flowers!

And I hope you continue to be "busy as a Zen bee," my friend. You deserve to slow down and care for yourself....D

Pauline said...

This is a gem of a post - the photos and the thoughts.

Between our Puritan work ethic (idle hands are the devil's tools) and our concept of time rushing by, it's a wonder anyone ever slows down enough to appreciate what's in the moment. I think we have to find our individual inner clock and set our actions to that. Children tend to be good at that. It makes for a much more satisfying life.

sc morgan said...

ZZZZZZZ... Great post, Ruth, you little Zen Bee you. I think many people will relate to this. I certainly do.

Sometimes my life reminds me of my old life in the ER. There I was forced to prioritize (and rapidly I might add) as to which things needed looking after first. Often patients' families were angry about my choices, but they weren't aware of what else was at stake. I used to have a mantra when things seemed too hectic: Everyone has an airway. Take it one at a time.

I once told a patient's relative: "If we aren't getting to you right away, you should be thankful." Once the meaning of the message was digested, she backed off.

It is hard to change after a lifetime of "work habits," and we are formed in large part by that span of our lives. It's hard to take as seriously your own art, or writing, or time.

I also think it's a woman thang. We are geared to answer to other's needs first. I don't know about you but I often feel guilty because I am focused on My needs rather than others.

So buzz away my dear.

Barbara said...

Managing your freedom and your time as a retiree is perhaps your biggest challenge. You simply have to come to terms with the fact that you might not be a productive as you once were. But then who really cares?

Wanda said...

Oh Ruth, I enjoyed this post.

Funny our Time Managment and Retirement seem unrelated, but they are not. I think you have a good handle on managing your Retirement time... We are an awful lot alike!!
Wish I could sit down with you in person.

As my profile says, I love "being"!

Love and Hugs

Pam said...

I am a first-time visitor here, but as a teacher I can imagine how you have had to prioritize, and organize, not only yourself but others for many years. This next step might take a bit of getting used to!Enjoy!

Jo said...

"I dropped that task unfinished, hopped to another, and then to another, and eventually back to the first." You just described my entire existence! How do we change that habit? If you figure it out, please let me know. :-)

Those are beautiful photographs!