Saturday, May 1, 2010

Budgeting That Which Needs to Be

It has pretty much always seemed to me that life is a long stretch with plenty of time to lolly-gag and putter aimlessly about. And procrastination isn’t a crime as long as it causes no inconvenience to others. Always there are tomorrows, so many tomorrows, endless tomorrows.

And how did I come to this conviction? Easy enough. My sixteenth birthday may have happened in sixteen Gregorian Calendar years, but to me it seemed more like sixty years. Likewise the ten days proceeding Christmas on the Gregorian Calendar are actually more like fifty-four. High school Graduation didn’t happen for about forty-four years, and first job took forever, and marriage took forever, and career advancements took forever.

So of course I had to conclude after all that, that life is more a waiting game, than anything else. Everything is in slow mo, and so with so little time actually usurped by necessity, there is much time to burn.

But eventually all things ripen and as my elderly time of life approached, rather quickly, I must say, compared to my other milestones, I came to a puzzling alter-realization that not only is time sparse, but it moves at breakneck speed.

And so that is when I realized as well that I must move from my haphazard way of reckless burning of that irreversible duration that flows in synchronization with clock and calendar, to a stringent budgeting of time. That is, if I expect to realize any of my outstanding wishes, hopes, dreams, and endeavors. Or even, if I have any intention of completing the half-finished quilts and crafts in my basement storeroom.

Now if one takes the time to find out, there are a whole lot of things seniors should concentrate on. Though it seemed to me, in that which the experts advocated, I found very little scope or understanding of my own particular character, life, and situation. For example, I am the iconic symbol for how to bumble through half a century of living without planning or organization. And so now, what is step 1?

Critical and fundamental is this first step – to “set goals” and “get well-organized” (?).

And from thence, one must speedily get documents in order. Then examine investments and work out solid money plans. And also of critical importance, one must document ‘their wishes’ in some new context that falls outside of my long-understood, and your long-understood original meaning.

Are not “wishes” heartfelt longings? Not in this instance. They are called ‘wishes’ but even the simplest-minded can see that in this context there is some new cast of meaning that falls way outside of the realm of hopes, desires, endeavors, and…heartfelt longings. That is rather perplexing.

And what perplexes me even more is now, with more than a half-century of living-experience under my belt, of a sudden, I now find friendly-advice coming at me from every quarter (not just from the hardware store).

And not only that, when my advisors realize I have not faithfully, and diligently attended to the matters I have stated above, I find my reputation besmirched for side-stepping these ‘important issues’ in favor of doing other unrelated things. Like writing, blogging, crocheting, reading, and knitting.

But if I may digress—I need to tell you that gratefully, despite the nasty criticisms from outside advisors, I don’t have any of my kids sending me planning guides for ‘my wishes/longings’—or other unmentionables such as track-shoes, or exercise equipment, which is damn considerate of them. I don’t mind telling the world that if they did, I would be greatly offended.

But now, returning to our original topic, it seems to me that this is not a time to budget my meager monies, or a time to plan and organize papers, or a time to make wish lists –of a kind I fail to understand. How practical is that? The practical thing is to budget time, cause like I said before—I have too many projects to finish to ignore the compression of time.

And so, I have no time for fantastical ‘wish lists’. Instead, on a restrained budget of time I sit and knit and listen to the clock rampaging off the minutes.

But that is not to say that all that outside advice doesn’t cause painful guilt about whether this is the seasonable and profitable thing for me to do. Especially when I consider that the child’s socks I am knitting can be easily purchased ready-made for about $1.20.

I’m supposed to be on a budget and here I am running all my time-statistics into the red by doing such a stupid, impractical thing. Especially since I haven’t even contemplated the more important task of my ‘wish list’.

I see you nodding your head in agreement. You do agree, do you not?

But wait, not so fast. I have one more thing to tell you.

Last weekend, I had my two-year-old grandson stay with me for three days. When he came he had on the little woolly green socks I knit for him at Christmas time. He wore them on the first day. He wore them on the second day. And so on the third day, when I was helping him get dressed, I said, “Oh my goodness. You need some clean socks.”

I reached into his little overnight bag and got him a lovely pair of store-bought blue socks and slipped them on his little feet. (Amazingly at the age of two, Grandson already knows basic colors).

“Blue socks, no good! I don’t like blue socks!

And with that, he ripped them from his feet and adamantly stated. “Green socks good. I wear green socks!”

So now, say what you will, say what you may, about me being occupied in a tight budget of time on what is really important –getting papers in order, wish lists, etc. etc.

I am doing the most significant and important stuff I have to do despite tight timelines. I am in my chair, rocking, and knitting little woolly socks, while the clock ticks away at warp speed as freely as it pleases it to do.

I am engaged in the most worthy of occupations that fulfill wishes/longings (in a context that I understand), of a grandma and her precious little grandson.


Pauline said...

ha! caught in the act of doing the right thing at the right time! Don't let anyone else tell you what you should be doing Roberta - you're already doing it!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh how I love this post. You have spent your time wisely...what could be better than Grandma's Green Socks; and apparently your little guy agrees. That's all you need to know. I really enjoyed this Roberta... ~Joy

Roberta S said...

Thank you, Pauline. I'll try not to feel guilty any longer about what I'm doing with that kind affirmation.

Roberta S said...

Thank you, Joy. So glad you enjoyed it. I never realized how pleased I could be with flattery about my knitting coming from a 2-yr-old. That is about as thrilling as life can get.

Anonymous said...

Oh Roberta, you have it right; it's all a matter of priorities set by the heart.


Roberta S said...

Thank you for that comment, susan.

You summed it all up so nicely.