Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. -Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)
I subscribe to The New York Times “A.Word.A.Day”-e-mail, and I received the above great quote from them yesterday. It rings very true to me, as in the past I have often crammed my days with way too many chores, ending up feeling entirely overwhelmed by them. Recently, I’ve been learning to structure my life in a way that leaves more time for contemplation and relaxation… Interestingly enough, I have ended up getting more done than ever before!
I’ve often felt this urgency that I Only Have This One Day To Do Everything That Needs To Be Done!!! Somehow the wisdom in the quote “Live every day as if it were your last” got warped in the translation… It created this stress of accomplishing, succeeding, achieving… In my experience, that kind of attitude just creates paralysis and frustration. If, instead of a sprint I see my life as a marathon, I can divide the things that I want to do over a longer period of time. True, we all have just this one moment: tomorrow, or even the next moment is not promised to us. But let’s face it — some of us indeed end up living until we are 80. Taking that into consideration, wouldn’t it make more sense to take smaller steps every day towards where we want to go?
I for one have decided that that’s how I want to live my life. Taking smaller bites every day in fact ends up giving me the opportunity to live, love and be merry in the process. Really, what’s the hurry? (I should really listen to myself, hehe… Even now, there is a ticking clock somewhere in the back of my head, pressuring, pressuring, pressuring…)
Truly, I think that this urgency is another chip installed by this world, one that I passionately want to remove from my brain. It’s the product of ageism and egoism, so rampant in our culture. If I let go and take it easier and slower, I bet ya I’ll get there faster. “There” meaning feeling happy and fulfilled, doing what I love to do. Isn’t that all I really want anyway? Thinking this way, it becomes very obvious what the nonessentials are.