When I sit here and think about it, my first inclination to almost anything is that I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to clean house, I don’t want to work, I don’t want to go to the grocery store, I don’t want to make dinner, I don’t want to plan social engagements, I don’t want to go to social engagements, I don’t want to go running, I don’t want to watch my diet….oh, I could go on and on. Honestly if I could spend the bulk of my life laying around and reading books, I think I would be quite happy. That’s sort of like a monk’s life, but not so spiritual, huh? Yeah, when I put it like that it doesn’t sound very appealing for a variety of reasons or like something I am cut out for. But still, sometimes I want to hole up in the world of fantasy.
The truth is that almost every day we have to do things we don’t want to do. I don’t think others are as extreme as me, but really….doesn’t it just annoy you that you have to brush your teeth so many times a day? (Oh, that’s just me?) I know there are some people who bounce out of bed on Monday mornings and can’t wait to get to the office, but I am not one of them. Even though I really don’t mind working once I get there. The idea of having to do it mentally exhausts me before I even start!
Who likes washing windows? But sometimes we must do it so we can see the sunrise and sunset views in all their glory.
So I will get out of bed, go to work, earn a paycheck and pay those essential bills that give me shelter and food and even entertainment. That’s how I build the base of my life. I will change the oil in my car and get it inspected and get new tires….because that car takes me all kinds of great places and it makes for a better journey if it doesn’t break down along the way or I don’t see that blue light in my rear view window. I will run and work out with weights and do painful things like squats and pushups and lunges….because that is how I build a body that will carry me strongly forward as I age. I will eat right, and not just exist on chocolate, because that will fuel my journey and who wants water in their gas tank? Good food builds my body into an efficient machine.
I will always struggle with doing most things. I hate to clean house and I hate to go through all of the papers that gather in my house (sometimes my mailbox is the enemy!), and I hate to go through my closets and get rid of clothes and shoes that I don’t need. These are second tiers tasks on my to do list, however. I give myself permission to not be perfect at them. The truth is that I really don’t want a lot of hours of my life devoted to such things, so I will probably never be strongly motivated to do them. But I need to do them a bit better than my inclinations. Having lots of stuff hoarded that I don’t wear but that others need….pure selfishness. I need that thought to spur me to make a few trips to donate those things to others. That requires that I hunt and gather them, or in other words, clean some closets and drawers.
When it gets down to it, having a great life requires we do the “don’t wannas”. Doing things we don’t want to do are the building blocks to the things that will eventually reward us. We invest our lives by giving up a little bit of the present doing these things that will be the foundation for the future. A bit of delayed gratification is necessary for the big payodff.
While reading my life away often sounds lovely, I am not sure it would be something I would be proud of in retrospect. Oh, many hours are spent doing it, and I love those times, but instead of my whole life being about that they should be times I savor. Instead I would like my life to have been vital and full and fun and meaningful and well lived. I want to have been a kind person who gave to others, was a good friend and family member, worked hard, played hard, honored God, and gave to the world even more than I got. That takes time and effort and patience. I still haven’t figured out how to get back less than I invest, so that part seems a bit impossible! But what fun to try anyway. Sort of like trying to out give God….the impossible goal that is rewarding to pursue.