Wednesday, March 16, 2016

To Do, or Not to Do. That is the Question.

The other day I figured out this extra nifty life-simplification technique. It works so well I resent it. But I love it too! My future self does, anyway. My current self, not-so much sometimes. But I will be spending almost all of my time with my future self, so that is a minor detail. Or should be.

It regards decision making, and how to make the best ones. Life is chock-full of decisions. Many of them subconscious, to be sure. Much of the time they are not choices between right or wrong, but choices where each option has its pros and cons. And the options so often get saddled with unbelievable baggage. I am guessing, (speaking of subconscious) we make it complicated in order to make the decision we feel like making without having to deal with a negative opinion of our choice, which none of us wants to deal with, frankly.

I mean, really.

But sometimes, it is quite in...

Do I make this remarkably astute observation about this person, or keep quiet?

My audience would do well to be alerted to the type of person we are discussing here, after all. I'm just speaking with the Chief, and I am not telling him anything he doesn't already suspect, or know.
Or, this person's behavior could be an excellent learning tool for my natives. But on the other hand, it does not put this person in a very positive light. Not that they deserve positive light or anything, exactly.
But then, neither do I....

Do I eat this last piece of cake?

I haven't eaten any dessert for 4 days. But then, I still want to lose those 10 lbs.  I want to go ahead and wash the cake plate. If I don't eat it the natives will argue about who gets it when they get home from school. It's little; it can't be more than 115 calories. I want this cake. I crave this cake.

Do I wash up these dishes, or go to bed?

I am exhausted. But I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen. If I don't do them though, the Chief might. The Chief is tired too. But he's more robust than I. I need sleep. I do.

Do I write this letter or take a nap?

Because, I am after all, exhausted. And Sunday afternoons only come once a week, which is not anywhere close to often enough, and God made them for resting for a reason. I haven't touched base with her for a long time. But our friendship isn't going anywhere. I can call her next week.

Do I sew my daughter's dress, or iron the Chief's shirts?

My daughter needs dresses badly. The Chief LOVES to find his shirts ironed nicely.
I kind of like to iron. But my daughter...she needs dresses.

Do I read my Sunday School lesson, or step into the argument that is developing in the kitchen and give motherly guidance?

Do I buy these shoes? Or give this money to the fundraiser?

Do I read this book? Or not?

Now in any one of those scenarios, there are pros and cons flitting about like butterflies. And mostly, they are not cut and dried. There are pros. There are cons. Because of that, it's super easy to cuddle up to the pros of the decision I want to make right this minute, and dismiss the cons of said decision.

And then one day, not so long ago, a question popped into my head. God might have put it there, but I am not one to claim Divine inspiration lightly, so He might not have. Regardless, it has clarified my daily decisions in remarkable fashion.

I just ask myself, "What will I wish I had done?"

Tonight. Next week. At the end of my life...."What will I wish I had done?"
Just asking myself how I will feel about it tonight is generally sufficient. My future self knows.

The flitting butterflies disperse. There stands the answer. There is almost never any question.
I might resent knowing the answer. But I know it. And if I regard it as I ought, it makes for easy sleeping.

Which is a beautiful thing when you're exhausted.


  1. That is splendid advice, I had never thought about it that way before!

  2. I'm going to give it a whirl. I'd still be in a quandary over the shirt or dress issue though. When there are 2 good things, but only time to do one. My future self wants them both! :-) But it should work really well in the cake issue. Thanks for writing it. It seems like a hard thing to say, but the butterflies helped convey it.

    1. Usually the thing I feel like doing the least is the thing I will be the gladdest to have done. At least, I have found it so!

  3. This is a great rule of thumb to follow, Rhonda. Dispersing butterflies - marvelous word picture!

  4. it. Why is it that something so simple never occurred to me.

    It might be hard to the selfishness in me - but I can live with fewer regrets.