Friday, February 22, 2008

Sense of Urgency

When we lived in Costa Rica, fellow foreigners used to love discussing how the natives had no sense of urgency. My husband managed a factory there, and the head honcho (an American) used to tear out what little hair he had because the workers didn't seem to "get" that they were expected to churn out product quickly and accurately and oh yeah, yesterday. They just didn't seem to realize how important this was. Everywhere you looked, there were signs reminding the employees to embrace the mantra, but so little evidence that they were taking it to heart.

Everyday, my husband comes home and asks me how my day was. Every day, I tell him how I can't possibly do all the things I want to do in any given day. I rarely leave my house, except for exercise in the neighborhood. I work from home. I don't go to grocery stores. I don't clean. Yet, I feel there's not enough time in the day. That's because I have a highly developed sense of urgency about EVERYTHING. This is not a new personality trait (or disorder, depending on how you perceive it); I've always been this way. It drives people crazy. It makes me feel I never complete all I feel I should. Take my knitting project. Please. Seriously, this would-be sweater keeps me from doing other things I feel I need to do (such as read). Oh, the pressure. Then there's The New York Times. A few weeks ago, I switched from weekends-only to 7-day delivery. Now I have two papers to read, although the Providence Journal can be skimmed in five minutes. But The Times stares at me all day long, saying you're going to miss something if you don't read me. Well, guess what? There's tons of stuff in The Times I can easily live without if only I'd admit it. Then there's the writing, for work and pleasure. Did I say pleasure? And the blogging and the posting on the LLS forums. Who has time to sift through the pile of financial (deleted) snickering in the corner?

What I realize is that my sense of urgency, heightened due to surviving (so far!) an illness that threatened to negate all my senses, is at times misplaced. I've been putting the wrong stuff into the urgency folder and the right stuff eludes me. I forgot that I already learned this lesson in Costa Rica, where the folder contained family, leisure activities, personal grooming, travel, margaritias. I don't have to knit that damn sweater or read more books or write more sentences. (I don't?) What I have to do is is give different priorities to that stern taskmaster in my head, because she's not going anywhere.

Signing off now because I have to hurry up and live.

1 comment:

bravenewfrickenworld said...

Once again, you are playing my song.

Essentially, no matter what I'm doing, I'm supposed to be doing something else. I cannot win with myself. Nobody else gives a damn, unless I blow a deadline. Which I never do.