A Moment to Pause

My bio-rhythms were messed up Monday morning.

The Vanderbilt loss to Mississippi State, 10-6, in 11 innings in the NCAA Baseball Super Regional took up about a quarter of yesterday late. i was a bit disappointed but the effect on my day today was exponential. i was running around trying to do tasks i had put off, get ready for Monday (and of course, a round of golf) and was feeling the pressure. This dude who used to teach time management was on the opposite end of his instruction, the bad side. That would be me.

So i was stressed big time, trying to fit the round pegs into the square holes, trying to prioritize and then figure out the time required only to realize there wasn’t enough time. For those who read my almost daily posts from the no longer published “Murphy’s Law” desk calendar, you should understand when  write i was a walking, talking, writing Murphy’s Law.

Then, i checked my email. A very close friend who was part of one of my more successful weekends in my life, had written me to tell me her husband had passed away. i held my breath for a moment. i did not know him, or rather, i did not meet him but felt i had known him through his wife’s communication. The connection, even with her, was very long distance in a number of ways, but no less real.

The story of our connection is, i think, rather wonderful. But i shall not include that here. i don’t wish to infringe on her and her family’s time reflecting on losing someone vital to their lives.

What i will address is my reaction. The criticality of all of those things pressuring me (or really me pressuring myself) to get them done pretty much washed away. i remembered a bunch of sayings to motivate old agers like me. They rushed at my mind like a three hundred pound defensive end. Ordinarily, i don’t like them, shun them, certainly ignore them.

But the one i remember (perhaps incorrectly remembering) was “Live today as if it might be your last.” Like all of the other attempts to inspire me, this one is harder to pull off than it seems on the surface of it. Lord knows what a complete mess of things i could create by simply doing what i wanted to do at the moment.

Without going into detail, it reminded me of Stephen Covey’s “Prioritization Matrix,” which seems to draw a lot from Abraham Mazlow’s triangle holding the theory of “Hierarchy of Needs” (but of course with a square divided into four quadrants instead of a triangle and just different enough to avoid accusations of plagiarism). Covey says you should work in the “Urgent/Important” quadrant first, the “Not Urgent/Important” next, and ignore or not dwell in the “Urgent/Not Important” and “Not Urgent/Not Important” quadrants, which, of course, is where lies all i want to do. And Covey’s theory never mentions a wife’s “honey-do’s.” Where the hell do you put those in a matrix?

But sitting there Monday morning thinking about my friend, her family, and her late husband, i thought to myself, “You know, you’re there. As one of your high school friends said about a half-dozen years ago, now you are a survivor. Live like one. Enjoy those who care for you; don’t mess with those who don’t; do as much as you can; and as you have been saying and need to quit saying and start doing, live as good a life as you possibly can…and enjoy life.”

Easier said than done.

But i’m trying.


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