Several years ago I was working on a strategic plan for a local non-profit, spending two or three long afternoons each week with the executive director as we plotted the steps toward a long-term vision. Each Thursday or Friday when we finished for the week she would ask about my weekend plans. “I have GOT to get organized,” was my all too frequent reply. One day, instead of nodding with a smile, she responded, “Honey, to do what?” (Blank stare from me.) “I mean, what is it that you’re going to do when you finally ‘get organized?'”
Until that moment getting organized seemed to me a goal unto itself. I’d never thought past that magic moment, which existed only in my mind’s eye, when I achieved ultimate mastery over life’s stuff. I suppose I thought organization would mean freedom from daily chores, and that freedom would automatically result in blissful creative time and family merriment. As my wise friend already knew, it wouldn’t.
Life’s routine requirements are never ending, but ignoring them completely would quickly make life unpleasant. I realized then that the real challenge was this: allow practical responsibilities to crowd out more enjoyable pursuits, or accept that enjoying those pursuits is also one of life’s responsibilities.
I feel the pull between the two each and every day, but I try to remember that life is short and shouldn’t be defined by tidy, color-coded Snap-ware. Especially not when the light in the bathroom is so soft and pretty, and the whimsy of making funny faces so fleeting.