Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Last Of The Wise Words And Helpfulness From The Dept. Of Nance

This week we toss in a little bit of everything, from Parenting to Getting Stuff Done to Whatever Lies Between. A few of you decided to share meaningful sayings in Comments last week, so our series will end here. Did lives change immeasurably from our exchange? I'm betting No, but I never made the claim that they would. Instead, we had a chance to share What Works For Us in hopes that we'd lend a little glimmer of light along the way of someone else's pathway in Life.

Let's get started, shall we?

Reader Denise Fortney, in an effort to teach her children personal responsibility, used to tell them, "If you're going to be dumb, you'd better be tough." The longer version, she said, was, "If you're dumb enough to do it, you better be tough enough to handle the consequences." I think this applies to Life in general, where personal responsibility seems to be sadly lacking. The twenty-four hour news cycle is full of people making stupid decisions, stupid statements, or performing stupid stunts but not taking ownership of them. Or acting surprised when they are confronted with their actions. Good heavens! There are cameras and recorders everywhere. And would people everywhere learn how to simply say, "I'm sorry" and then shut the hell up? Too many apologies aren't.

Bridget, from The Ravell'd Sleave, finds this traditional saying to be very true: If you want something done, ask a busy person; the other has no time. I really get this. When I was working, I did so much stuff! I look back on it now, and I marvel at the Superwoman that I was. There were days when I fed the boys, took them to the sitter, went to school for an early meeting, taught all day (grading papers and creating exams in between classes), picked them up, did the grocery shopping, went home and put it all away, made dinner, bathed kids, graded more papers, then finally went to bed. These days as a retired person, I fritter away so much time and feel incredibly imposed upon if I have to do anything out of my usual little routine. The day I had to go get my oil change almost killed me. When I'm busy, I feel like I'm in Go Mode--I do a ton of stuff. But when I have only one thing to do, I will put That Thing off until I absolutely have to do it.

NCmountainwoman at Mountain Musings shared this as a favourite, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but if one of us is going to be angry, then it might as well be you.” I have to admit that I'm not too sure about this quote, and that either I need some context or I'm just not understanding it very well. I tried to imagine myself saying it to my husband in a discussion or argument under some circumstances such as me confronting him about his habit of leaving piles of mail all over, or the unfinished basement tile project. But I just can't imagine saying it...to anyone. I'm sure I'm just misunderstanding the saying, and I know all of you will remove my blindspot in Comments.

Finally, I wanted to share with you a very practical piece of advice that made a huge impact on my life, both professionally and personally. It's a small thing, really, but the difference it made has been incredible. First, a little backstory:

I grew up in a family of six in a tiny bungalow. We had one bathroom with only a tub. We had two bedrooms for four kids; we three girls shared an attic room. My father never did a bit of housework, ever. My mother did just enough, but laundry alone (and we had a wringer washer for ages) took forever. As a result, things were clean, but not always tidy. We were crowded, and if each of us left one thing out of place, it looked messy.

As a teacher, I quickly learned that Organization is your Best Friend. I put into place so many failsafe systems for grading, recording grades, filing, and make-up work that my students were awed. They could never claim that I lost a paper, forgot to enter a grade, or never got a make-up assignment. The System Never Failed. Ever. Other teachers got sick of hearing about how they "should ask Mrs. D. about her system."

I heard the advice on some local chat show. No idea who it was or why she was offering it, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was great advice for me. She said, "Touch something only once and act on it immediately." She went on to explain what she meant, but I only half heard the rest. I already knew what she meant and that it was easy to do. Stop piling mail on the counter to look at later--toss the junk and put the bills in the bill folder NOW. Don't drop your clothes on the chair--hang them up or put them in the hamper NOW. Don't leave the clean crockpot sitting on the counter--put it away NOW. Don't let the clean clothes languish in the clothes basket--Put them away NOW. Don't wait to fill out that form--fill it out and put it in the mail NOW.

I think you get the idea.

That piece of advice is now so ingrained in me that it's involuntary, instinctive--I do things immediately as a matter of course. Even when I absolutely do not feel like it, and it's then when I realize how little time those things actually take. The serenity of having fewer loose ends and an always tidy environment is my reward, and for me, so worth it.

I do hope you've enjoyed this Series of Wonderful Wisdom from our mutual friends here at the Dept. of Nance. And, as usual, we all look forward to your discussion in Comments.

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21 comments:

  1. I've enjoyed your series and find it fascinating to see what various people consider helpful advice. We're all so different thus what works for one person sounds insane to another. Thanks for putting this together. Very clever.

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    1. Ally Bean--Oh, it was truly my Pleasure. I loved that my Readers pitched in with their favourite sayings and advice. It's fun and you never know what little nugget might stick with and help someone else.

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  2. I'm sure this isn't the intention, but the one about being angry made me laugh out loud! I would love to say that to someone, but I'm not sure it would end well.

    I've really enjoyed this series, even if none of the sayings have changed my life. :-)

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    1. Bridget--That line can be sort of sitcom funny. It does sound like some clever dialog, doesn't it? For sure, if I ever said that to Rick, I'd feel terrible.

      My life is unchanged as well, although I do like so many of these sayings and thinking about them. Kudos to my Readers for pitching in!

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  3. I'm getting better at the 'handle something only once' but it's hard with some things.

    I've enjoyed the series but I would never, ever say the line about being angry. I could never be that rude.

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    1. Jean--Oh, yes. It is difficult to act on some things immediately. But it does free you up immensely by being able to do it with so many other things.

      I'm glad you've enjoyed this series, too. And the line about being angry is still befuddling me. It does come off as rude, but maybe it needs context, as I said. Hopefully NCmountainwoman will jump in here and clue us in.

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  4. The touch things once advice is GOOD advice and I USUALLY try to follow it. I can't stand stuff piled around waiting for something to be done with it.

    While I might not SAY the "anger" quote, I sure have thought it.

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    1. Dee--I hate the Eventually Piles, too. Rick is the King of those.

      I feel like if I'm getting ready to say something to make someone angry, chances are I'm already angry about it, so...another reason why I just can't get my head around that particular quote.

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  5. Growing up I constantly heard, 'everything has a place, put it back where it belongs' and 'don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today'. Without knowing it, I was being taught the 'handle once' lesson without my knowledge, lol.
    I heard a rumor, tomorrow is suppose to be dry and sunny. Also, Ohio is going to be recognized as the sixth Great Lake...
    FYI, I have volunteered my services as an ark/submarine construction supervisor.
    Have a wonderful summer, my friend; whenever it get here...

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    1. Denise--Exactly! Those two adages are combined in the one I have taken to heart. So true! And I don't recall ever being told either of them. Must be why that saying became so meaningful to me.

      Oh, gosh, this RAIN! I had to be out in it all day Friday for various errands. So frustrating and what a downer. My backyard is already a Great Lake! Here's to both of us having a great summer...Someday.

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  6. I'm loving the touch things only once idea...which I usually do. Fletch? not so much...which makes me want to say the anger statement, but I probably won't...well, maybe...we'll see.

    This has been such a fun series Nance - thanks for putting it all together.

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    1. Vera--I'm very glad you enjoyed this series. It was truly my pleasure to corral the contributions made by my Readers, whom I appreciate so much.

      We're kindred spirits on the touch things once and act on them thing with our more laissez-faire husbands. Oddly enough, he came from a Neat As A Pin All The Time home, whereas I did not. Hmmm.

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  7. Nance, it was avery fun way to hear new sayings and think about words. What words Matter? I loved it thanks

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    1. kathy b--I think it's fun to actually think about some of these platitudes a little more deeply as well. It's important not to let so much language go past us at breakneck speed without challenging or understanding it. And words can have a great deal of power, too. I'm glad you enjoyed this series.

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  8. Sorry my phrase was so difficult to understand. Its usefulness is limited in scope and follows a very long disagreement. When it becomes clear that the anger is escalating on the part of the other person and also that there is not going to be a resolution that is satisfactory, it is a way to finalize the heated discussion. It is more harsh that "we agree to disagree." It is rather like saying, "I'm tired of this and I'm going to let it go. Hang on to it if you wish."

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    1. NCmountainwoman--Thanks for clearing it up for me (and a few others).

      Sometimes arguing only leads to more arguing and more anger. It seems like some people are unwilling to listen; they only wait for a break in the talking so that they can say what they want to say. So unproductive! There seems to be a great deal of one-way communication anymore or false interaction, like Twitter, where someone feels as if he is engaging with others, but in all actuality, he is just hollering into a sea of other voices.

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    2. I like that you clarified, and that is pretty much how I thought it might work. Sort of like saying, 'whatever' and walking away.

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  9. I truly believe in only touching something once. I am always telling my husband this. Why place a cup in the sink and fill it with water just to dump it out and put it in the dishwasher? Rinse it and put it away right away. Take the garbage out immediately when you need to, stuff like that. But then again I am very type A and uber organized.

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    1. Meredith--Same here! I fight this battle over and over again. Why put the empty Pepsi can on the counter? In three seconds (literally) you could rinse it and toss it in the recycling bin.

      With the nature of your work, you have to be efficiently organized. It's only natural that it carry over to your home as well. Organization is a Survival Skill!

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  10. Oh my goodness yes on the busy person one. When I worked full time and was a full time graduate student, I got so much done! Also when I worked full time outside of the home and had a small child. I had a constant list in my head, and often on paper, and rarely left anything to the next day. Same with the 'touch things once' thing. Now, I work from home, and my work day has peaks and valleys and hours that are busy and hours that are not, and I get far less done than I used to. I don't need to study in the evenings, or get a child to bed, so I just watch TV or read a book. It's lovely, but not as efficient, as sometimes tasks fall by the wayside. Hence the state of my horrible closet, full of not only clothes, but also a box of my mother's things (papers, pictures, costume jewelry that is NOT my taste) that I haven't been strong enough to face. It's been 11 years now, and I think I may be strong enough to face it next week. We are doing a stay-cation, and I see no reason not to take a day for that. Followed by a day up in Napa as a reward.

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    1. J@jj--Yes, yes, yes! When I first retired, I tackled a ton of jobs that I had been putting off because I really did not have the time. I was like a tornado: cleaned the basement clutter, went through closets, reorganized cabinets/cupboards, etc. Now I just do things here and there, all unplanned sort of. As you say, it's lovely to have such largesse, but it's not nearly as efficient as having a full head of steam and powering through things one after another.

      I'm just Not That Dynamo anymore. But hey--60! I feel I've earned my relaxation. I really was sort of Tightly Wound those days.

      I won't say Good Luck for going through your dear mother's things. Instead, I will wish you strength and joy.

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