It is with earnest intention that I arise each day and assemble my "to do" list. Somewhere between coffee and barn chores, the day thumbs its nose at my list.
For many years, I have chosen to earn a living by doing two of the hardest things to do: Work at home and make a profession of writing. Both require discipline. When people ask for advice in writing, I always say, "Sit down and do it. Don’t just talk about it."
More and more it seems that I am a mother with an unruly child. An animal gets sick, a roof leaks, fraud pops up on a credit card or a bill arrives and needs correction.
"Here’s the phone bill and it’s wrong," I lamented to Tink. "That means I have to call and spend 20 to 30 minutes on the phone, straightening it out."
"Computer mistake," the customer service rep said in a shrug-of-the-shoulders tone. I liked life better before computers and cell phones. About half of my problems find me via electronics.
Exasperated one morning, I brought Tink to laughter when I said, "I need to get up earlier and get things done because I notice my day goes off track around 8:30 when people get to the office and start calling."
Not long ago, my friend, Ed Parks, and I spent a day with racing legend Richard Petty, who has the unusual ability to experience life while summing up its lessons. As the day crawled into night, we sat in Richard’s kitchen in a triangle and just talked. One of those leisurely, enjoyable kitchen chats.
Suddenly — I don’t recall at all what brought this up — Richard looked me and said in fatherly tone, "Let me tell you somethin’. Now, listen. OK? Listen to me. Ninety percent of the time we’re reactive. We spend our time reacting rather than doin’. I can get up in the morning with my little list of what I’m suppose to do and it can all be well planned, then somethin’ comes up that changes one thing and then that causes everything else to have to change. I spend the rest of the day reactin’ to everything that’s happening. Y’know what I’m sayin’?"
As I mused over that nugget, I thought of all the times I watched him "react" on the racetrack when something happened. A wreck happens, a driver reacts and the entire day’s strategy changes.
I’d elaborate more, but my stupid smartphone is buzzing. I have some reactin’ to do.
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