Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The price of admission

I recently re-watched the amazing "This Is Water" commencement speech by the late David Foster Wallace expertly put to video. Definitely check it out if you haven't seen it.

This is some of the most useful advice a young adult can receive. It's hard to realize at 21, but so much of life is spent in the throes of monotonous routine: commute, dishes, responding to an unceasing deluge of electronic correspondence. It's enough to make you want to unplug for a while.

Of course, this drudgery multiplies when you join your life with someone, and again if you decide to have a child, or 2. More everything: laundry, dishes, cooking, stuff to worry about, school, activities, the list is nearly endless. And this translates directly into less time for yourself to pursue your interests, or just relax.

What about delegation? you might ask. Surely, successful people outsource a lot of the drudgery of human existence. You can bet Sheryl Sandberg doesn't do her own laundry. Yet, as much as I outsource, and it's a lot, there is still the in-between cleaning, clutter management, and housework that piles up daily and consumes a lot of my time.

As I was putting away yet another load of laundry, it hit me. This, putting away laundry on Christmas Eve, is the price of admission. For unlimited access to my daughter's amazing smiles, and her looks of pure delight.

What I paid for this privilege was less time to explore my own interests and to run around rushed on Christmas Eve. The late nights of wrapping, and waking up early, or staying home when she was ill.

When viewed through this lens, it makes my daily activities feel a lot less menial and a lot more meaningful. As Life Is Good founder John Jacobs put it at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, replace "I have to" with "I get to." I get to pay the bills, I get to wrap these presents, I get to put away this laundry. Sounds like a mantra worth repeating.

1 comment:

  1. Very enjoyable. I work on gratitude, and this is a reminder to be grateful for *all* of it, and not just the obviously lovely.