clearly defined goals
“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia, until we ultimately become enslaved by it.” – Robert Heinlein – 1907-1988, Novelist and Screenwriter
When I read this quote, I thought that sounds like some of my “wasted” days. Days where I seem to be like an unmoored boat, just being led around by the tides with no particular destination or goal. The danger therein, is that I will end up on the rocks with a hole in my side taking in water and wondering, how did this happen?
I remember when the kids were young, that I had a basket that I would carry from room to room and I would pick up the various toys, clothes, shoes, school work from my kids and my husband, and then move to their rooms dropping off the items that belonged to them. It was a tip I got from some magazine on being organized, because otherwise I spent half my day walking back and forth from the bedrooms to the other rooms in the house. I was able to clean up in half the time because I was focused.
Daily trivia is just a bunch of habits that don’t really accomplish anything. When my mind is having a hard time landing, I will play the game Free Cell (a form of solitaire) until my mind quits arguing in circles with my heart and lets my intuition really speak to me. I used to think that this was a waste of time and just me trying to avoid what I needed to do. Then I read that Dr. Maya Angelou also played solitaire to free up her mind to think. She was such a talented woman, that I figured I was in good company.
So I thought, since Free Cell isn’t my “daily trivia” what is? I think that besides the TV (I record my favorite shows and then on those really hard days at work, I will watch several buzzing through the commercials to detox from my day) what it really is for me are those days when I have no focus. I sort of wander through the rooms in my house starting but not finishing project after project. Usually I am avoiding something I need to do, so I flitter from one thing to another and at the end of the day, I can’t see that I actually accomplished anything.
How much of our day do we fill up with things that don’t really matter? Have you ever walked by one of your teenagers or do you remember those conversations when you were a teenager on the phone – it sounded like this – “whatcha doing? Nothing. Me too.” I remember walking by those conversations where my son or daughter would be talking on the phone for hours bored by the conversation but more afraid of not having anything to do, so they would continue to talk about nothing. It could be T.V. or “trashy novels” or talking on the phone – almost anything that takes up time but without actually accomplishing something until it just becomes a way of life. You get up and go to work, come home, grab something to eat, sit on the couch until it is time to go to bed and do it all over again, week after week, after week.
So if you identify with being enslaved by daily trivia, how do you break free of the chains? It sounds like a pain to do, but you create some form of a “to do” list. Not the kind where you check off a box as in “did the dishes”. This is something different. This is more like a bucket list, but of things that you can easily fit into your everyday life. Watch a documentary about something that interests you and learn something new. Read a book that can create a shift for you or feed your soul, like a Rumi poem or Dr Maya Angelou’s poems. Walk to the park, not for exercise but to get your mind out of the normal routine rut and start it thinking down some new path to explore. Really open your eyes to see what you would normally walk by, with unfocused eyes. Have a spa day. Handwrite a letter to someone you love and mail it off – they will be so surprised to get it, because no one does that anymore.
So you get the idea – it doesn’t have to be life changing or dramatic, but it might just spice up your life a little and get you out of the enslavement one step at a time. What ideas can you think of that I didn’t? I would love it if you would all write down just one thing you would like to do this week – and make it fun!