What I’m Learning to Avoid

Have you ever read The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot?

It’s a poem about a man, so consumed with anxiety that he asks himself these absurd questions like “Should I dare to eat a peach?” My favorite line in the poem is “I measure my life in coffee spoons.” I think about it frequently and often use it to describe how I’m feeling.

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Prufrock was so anxiety riddled that he could only focus on these small increments of time. And he had to focus on them. He had to measure his life using the smallest measuring device he could think of. And he missed life because of all the measuring.

I do that a lot. I time things – laundry, cooking, my drive to work. I’m in a constant state of measuring and missing out on living. And I’m trying really hard to make that different.

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Which seems like the opposite of what’s happening by writing. Here I am, sharing thoughts and ideas on saving time, saving money, saving space, but saying that I want to stop being so focused on time.

The truth is, I do all these things so that more of my time is flexible. Certain piece of life need doing – laundry, bill paying, grocery shopping. Those things might change over the year, but you’re always going to have things in your bucket. So I’m trying to figure out ways to do them and use the least amount of time possible.

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And more than anything else, I’m trying to get right with all the times I fail at it. All the times I wake up 30 minutes late; all the times I forget to turn the dishwasher on; all the times I decide to watch TV instead of whatever I’m supposed to be doing. What’s that line from that song? “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?”

I don’t want to be too busy to see it. I don’t want to be too busy to love myself through my mistakes. And I don’t know if this is the right way. I just know this is the way I’m doing it.

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