Saturday, November 22, 2008


I think it's very important to be hard-working.

I am frustrated by laziness, in myself and in others.

But I find it harder and harder to know when can't is won't, or when won't is can't.

If I try just a little bit harder to be organized, or to get more done, can't I do just a little bit more, just a little bit better than I'm doing now? But following this logic, I will be able to do ANYthing: leap over tall buildings in a single bound, stop a speeding train, etc ... because, after all, those are just a little bit more than the step before. Right?

When a child is learning to read, or go potty, a ride a bike, or do two-digit multiplication, how does the mother/teacher know when failure is caused by the child's laziness (or stubbornness) instead of failure due to the child's not being ready? Some kids will learn to read easily at age 3 or 4, more of them at age 6, and some not till age 10. Brow-beating a kid to read usually won't hurry the process. But what happens when some good hard work is what's necessary to get over the difficulty? How do we know?

It always seems that I can be just a little more frugal than last month. But does there come a point when you just can't do it anymore? Does there come a point when either the grocery budget increases, or you don't fill up the people's tummies, or you sacrifice nutrition to save the dollars?

How do we know when our bodies are simply no longer capable of hauling around lumber all day? How do we know when daily jogging is now too harshly bouncy for the guts to take? How do we know when the solution is a little more stick-to-ive-ness, and when the solution is "Give up already! You're too old for this!"

Once upon a time, we were sick. The whole family. Sicker than we'd been in quite a while. We were sitting around, aching, not reading nor watching tv because we were just too sick. We nibbled jello and watched the clock to see when we could take our next dose of tylenol or aspirin. A friend invited us to some event. I turned her down due to illness. She insisted that it would be healthy for us to get out of the germ-laden house, into the fresh air and sunshine, and get going with some physical labor. They had been sick once, but had to go out and do a lot of physical labor that day in spite of illness, and it seems they "sweated it out" and by the end of the day were feeling much better. I often think of that when I'm feeling puny. Maybe I should just ignore the need to rest and get out there and WORK. Maybe I'm just babying myself. Too much of a patsy. Too lazy.

Today it crossed my mind that I don't know the answer to "When is something too much?" in a gazillion different areas of life. And it drives me nuts! Because I value hard work, I am prone to plugging away at something, trying to make it work, far longer than I ought. And because I have no sense of balance (hence the name of this blog) I realized that I will NOT know "how much is too much" until I collapse with a heart attack or have a nervous breakdown or fall down the stairs with a basket of laundry, or whatever the case may be.

So I am trying to convince myself that middle-aged people are allowed to work less than 16 hours a day, that it's okay to sit and put my feet up and allow my mind to veg. I am trying to convince myself that sometimes a person can get more accomplished by stopping, resting, and coming back at the project fresh and re-energized. I have often told myself and others that it's good to "do the best you can," but you can't do better than "the best you can" no matter how hard you try. The frustration lies in recognizing that "the best you can" isn't as good as you want/need for it to be.

Someday I will learn to accept those limitations on my strength and endurance and memory (and the similar limitations of others). Then it will be easier to sit back and take the rest-breaks I need without constantly scolding myself for being lazy.

And today?
I'll just rest anyway,
even if I do think I'm lazy.


  1. Stop scolding yourself PERIOD!

    Life is a trap of never ending things to do. There must be balance in life. A balance allows a person to get done what is reasonable, as well as allows a person to skip those things that cannot be done in that same day.

    I argued with my hubby one day, he was upset that the house wasn't done (yet he didn't expect it perfect). He said a child's assignment of 25 questions are either done or they are not done. Doing 24 of the question does not mean the assignment is done now does it?

    I explained to him ... Honey, we are not talking about 25 questions getting done because we have so much to do and I am so limited that it is like asking me to do 200 questions in 10 minutes! All I can tell you is that I got more done in my 10 minutes today than I did yesterday ... so please be proud that I accomplished more and didn't kill myself in the process.

    ...he still didn't get it. :o(

  2. I am SO bad at being well-balanced.

    Why is it so easy to look at other people's lives (especially yours and Karin's and LaRena's) and see that, OF COURSE, there's no way you can do it all. In your lives, it is easy for me to recognize that not everything can be done, and that you do what you can, and sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less, but it's all good. And even when things remain undone, it's enough, and God is accomplishing good things (!) even with our to-do lists still sitting there with items not yet tackled.

    But when it's me, I always think that anything less-than-perfect is because I didn't try harder. It's dumb; I know that! But I figure it's going to take me a long time to unlearn those unreasonable expectations of myself ....

  3. Susan I do understand what you are saying. The finite creature thing is that we can only just perservere and do what we are given to do today and try to be satisfied with that. We are finite. LaRena and I do still say "AAAAHHHHH!!!" frequently at projects and cleaning we would like to get to, try to laugh it off, and keep doing the next thing. We dream a lot too. We DO take time to relax some in the evening, even if we force ourselves to do it by spending some time together. Don't EVEN suppse that we have this figured out! Hugs from the other side of the lake. Ingrid just spit up down my back so perhaps I should be quiet now and clean up. That must be the next thing I am given to do.....

  4. I have the opposite problem, I'm lazy and like it :)

    The house is never really clean although it's mostly picked up. I spend more time on reading and projects than anything else. We get done everything that absolutely must be done and then play the rest of the time. I used to be the opposite but it never got me anywhere but frustrated so I gave up.

  5. We are moving about a mile from where we currently live. I understand the frustration of feeling lazy esp. since I haven't the energy to do more than 5 minutes worth of work while nearing my 8th month of pregnancy.

    I have to make everyone do all the work for me and tell myself to be "balanced" ... I cannot do what I normally could do, that is just where I am at this time in my life. Before I got pregnant I was doing over a mile of walking/jogging and working on "the beast". I was on my way to be happier and healthier.

    But I had to put that all on hold to be pregnant, fat and lazy again.

    Funny thing is that this last Sunday I was approached by 4 different people at church who stated in shock that they didn't know I was pregnant! One person's response was that he thought I was having a problem loosing the baby fat. LOL!

    I think we all know very personally the struggles of living a balanced life and accuse ourselves daily or weekly. But ... that is life. We just need to remember that a 24 hour day is what it is and that 40 hours of work can't be expected to squeeze into a 24 hour time-frame. AND THAT IS OK.

    The older we get, the earlier we get out of bed, the more naps we need, the less strength we have, the more we desire to be young, the more we appreciate the vitality of the young ones around us etc., etc., etc.

    All I tell myself is to do my best for my family and leave the frustrations of self at the door.