Creating a Life

Beware of Commitments. How did I get so busy? Sometimes, I go through each day without being alert to the commitments I make. Little commitments, but they add up. Then, I feel overwhelmed with “stuff to do.”

Yesterday, I made a commitment that will determine how I’ll spend part of every day for the next three months. I didn’t think about it that way. I just wanted flowers in my yard and a few salad greens. An enjoyable trip to the nursery and an afternoon of planting now means a commitment to outdoor watering every day throughout the summer. Add that to my already-full “stuff to do”  list.

Another example. Four years ago, I was feeling lonely in my single life. I found a beautiful—really gorgeous—Ragdoll cat that I thought would be a lovely tactile companion. I brought her home. I now have a commitment to Tinkerbell for many years of feeding, combing, and cleaning up after.

Recently I bought a lovely new shirt. I wanted it despite the fact that it must be hand-washed. Now, I’m committed to that little bit of time that wasn’t required of me before buying that shirt.

I make a myriad of these commitments without even thinking twice. Together they determine how I spend my days.

So today I’m pausing to ask, Is this really what I choose? Is this how I will most enjoy this day? Of course, I have daily commitments that are non-negotiable. But so many of these little things are negotiable. I can change out my flowers for zero-landscaping and save time in my day. I could (but won’t) find a new home for my cat and save a whole lot of time. And I don’t have to wear that pretty, hand-washable shirt.

I choose the splendid flowers, the Ragdoll beauty, and the pretty clothes in exchange for some of my life’s more mundane chores. In this way, I am consciously designing the life I want to live.

How about you?


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4 responses to “Creating a Life

  1. wanda

    So that’s how I got to the point where I hardly have time to breathe! None of my committments are monumental or
    necessary for anyone’s good health, but I couldn’t figure out
    why I am so busy. Thank you, Alice, for solving another of life’s little questions.
    Now what do I dismiss from my life? Not the yard that requires hours of tender loving care, certainly not family and
    friends, and can’t be social outings which I enjoy very much.
    The dilemna remains.

  2. octavia

    Here’s one committment I have learned the hard way not to make: volunteering for things other people are paid to do. Have also learned: commitments involving the welfare of family or friends are never regretted. Alice, you are the gentlest person I know. Proof, the pulse of every sentence. I can put my fingers on it, feel it. Keep writing, please.

  3. Lucy Rhodes

    I do have a commitment to worship, pray, and praise my creator and Lord. I have learned that daily exercise, trying to eat sensibly, being available to spend time with my husband, seeing my children and grandchildren at least once a year, cooking more vegetables in interesting ways and working to raise beautiful flowers and a few vegetables combine to make my life fuller. I have committed to several part-time jobs because I enjoy getting out of the house and seeing other people.
    I would like to spend more time with friends and feel more comfortable inviting others to our home. I read a lot during my hours after lunch before my afternoon job at mid-afternoon. Reading is one of the ways I escape the sometimes boring tasks that must be done.
    I do enjoy reading what you write, Alice. Your friends comments are helpful too.
    How do I design a life that has purpose and meaning? Sometimes it seems to just happen. Love God, Work at something you love to do. Love your family and friends for being there for you forever.

  4. I’m afraid I’m very selfish with my time. Before I retired from teaching my time belonged to everyone else. After eleven years I’m still trying to get some of it back. I do see friends, attend events I want to see, but I’m very selective and feel I’ve earned the right to be that way.Hope that doesn’t sound too selfish. It seems to be working.

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