Don’t Should on Yourself
This is going to be either a self-serving justification or a sensible explanation.
A dear and wise elderly friend has a favorite expression: “Don’t should on yourself,” whenever you say “I should really be doing…” whatever it is you feel you’re shirking.
I’ve been “should-ing” on myself a lot lately, and this morning I finally invoked Mrs. C’s reminder.
The city recently acquired a vacant lot near us and designated it a pocket park. The neighborhood association is sponsoring a park fix-up day today (Saturday) and asked volunteers to help with planting, clearing, tidying and the like. The session ran from 8:30 till about 2, with snacks provided and suggestions to bring a picnic lunch. The park is one block from our condo entrance. I seriously thought about volunteering, and even as I lay in bed at 8:30 trying to wake up I thought “I should get up do that. I hope to use that park when it’s developed.”
I just couldn’t do it. If I had my granddaughter this morning it would have been a fun way to teach her about volunteering. If my husband didn’t already have plans I might have been able to get him involved. There would probably be people there I know, and if not I could get to know some neighbors. (I’m not shy.) So what held me back?
Yesterday there was an email asking for local Democrats to meet at noon to protest the sequester at the local office of our Congressman. His nearest office is literally around the corner, and I had just come home from the grocery store at noon, so I thought I’d pop over there. Turns out that field office is closed on Fridays. Poor planning on MoveOn’s part, and a waste of my time. Several years ago I volunteered for one of our church’s Hands-on Housing projects, and there were so many people there we got territorial about what part of the house to paint. I felt useless and redundant.
So, that’s one reason—why show up if it proves to be a waste of time?
Another is my desire to do some spring fix-up around our place—sweeping the courtyard, cleaning up the patio, getting rid of dead plants and putting out new ones, which in this case is a little window-ledge herb garden. The courtyard is a lost cause—I set up a sandbox area for Chloe, and most of the courtyard is now sandy. But I swept and tidied a little.
I have noticed I am more of a homebody than I used to be and miss out on some cool local events because either (a) it’ll be too crowded or (b) it’s sold out. This week I missed out on a site-specific concert on the grounds of Laguna Gloria art museum because it was already too late to get tickets, and tomorrow I’ll skip the Kite Festival because it has become too much of a hassle to get there and back and then wait in long lines for toilets with small kids who can’t wait.
Which leads to me to the main reason: energy. I am loath to attribute this to age, but I suspect it is a factor. I’ve always been pretty high-energy, but lately, especially since I’ve been on Prozac, I need more sleep and I’m tired during the day if I don’t get enough. Mainly, though, chasing a six-year-old around playgrounds requires me to pace myself so I’m not a raving bitch by dinner time.
Selfish or sensible? Let’s just say I’m trying to preserve my sanity.