Faded

March 23, 2014

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools

Dry, faded blossoms of beautiful flowers seem sad to me.  I have never been a fan of dried corsages, nor flowers pressed in old books.  I love the beauty, the delicateness, yes even the transience of flowers while they grace our homes, our desks, or other spaces.  I think the very fact that they only last a while increases their appeal.  They call more to us, that we might appreciate them while they last.  Their presence creates a shift in our daily life, and that stirs the proverbial pot.  In subtle ways, fresh flowers surprise our attentions over and over again, giving those everyday tasks and priorities a little shake.

How much moreso that “little shake” when it’s my own houseplants that are blooming.  I take their blossoms personally, like a thank you or as if they are celebrating here in our home.  This week though, I got a big shake, courtesy of my houseplants.  I was able to get a few days off, and spent part of it self-indulgently caring for my plants with a level of attention that has been lacking for some time now.  I was saddened to find spent blossoms on several plants – blossoms I never even noticed.  How long had they been there, offering their beauty while I ignored them?  So sad.  More sad than the withered blossoms of a purchased bouquet.

As I cleaned up the crisp and faded blooms, my attention chewed on the things in my life that put me in this position.  I’ve been too busy, partly by choice and partly by chance, to enjoy the world around me.  Too distracted to appreciate the things I have gathered into my life.  Too busy to enjoy the things that keep me happy.  No matter how you try to whitewash that, it still comes out “way too busy.”

Now the question becomes: What to do about it?

Well, some things aren’t very negotiable.  When a roof  leaks it demands immediate attention.   Relatives and friends have birthdays that don’t change.  Holidays are fixed.  Pets have a regular routine to keep.  Our bosses expect us to work when we’re scheduled.  The IRS expects tax returns filed by April 15.  This stuff just doesn’t change.

Other things are a little bit negotiable.  We have to eat, do laundry, sleep, bathe, and keep house – but not generally on a real tight schedule.  These components of life are more flexible, and give us a little bit of choice in when we do them, even though they have to be done.

And finally there is “free time,” that non-descript and highly elusive component of life.  This is the portion of our days on earth when we’re supposed to be able to do the things that we simply want to do: tend houseplants, build cabinets, read a book, play a game, watch TV or get out to the movies, to a pro sports event, visit friends, go out to dinner.  These things are beyond the everyday drudgery; they nourish our souls and lighten our spirits.  Free time is the balance that keeps life from being all about “have to”s.

When we don’t get enough time for activities of our own choosing, something is wrong.  Life isn’t balanced, and it’s harder to be happy.  When hobbies get neglected, something is misaligned.  Whether it’s a matter of organization or over-commitment, something is wrong.  When we find crisp, tired blossoms on houseplants when we never noticed the flowers….. it’s time to make changes.

© 2014, J. L. Cools

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