To be the caretaker
“Life is too short to be the caretaker of the wrong details.” — Alexandra Stoddard
I don’t have too many regrets in life, but one thing I know for sure I’d do less of, if I had it to do over: FILING. For years, I compulsively kept neatly tabbed file folders with everything from medical records, to school papers, to warranties for all sorts of major and minor purchases, to financial statements and paid bills. Even craft ideas and recipes were tucked away under appropriate subject headings.
Once in awhile I was able to find something I really needed, but most of the files were never touched, so I have to wonder about the value returned for time invested. I don’t think our lives would have been much worse without those files. Now, decades later, I have spent time shredding much of what was in them. It strikes me as a waste of hours that could have been better spent, and I’m so thankful for the advent of electronic records that can be located with a quick word search (assuming my computer doesn’t crash and destroy them all).
The older I get, the more I can see the difference between the details that are worth my time, and the ones that aren’t. I am not arguing that we should be irresponsible. I’m only saying that some of the biggest responsibilities are somehow harder to grasp and quantify; they can’t be neatly stacked in a “to-do” bin and filed away one piece at a time.
Over the years, whenever I’ve let the mundane household tasks go undone in favor of things that seemed more important and/or fun, I’ve been known to declare “On my death bed, I don’t want to be saying ‘Well, at least my house was always clean’ ” — to which Jeff always replies, “Don’t worry, no chance of that!” 😀
Do you ever have the feeling that you are taking care of the wrong details? What urgent-seeming but ultimately unimportant tasks can you choose NOT to do today? What would be better ways to spend that time?
One year ago today: