Thursday, August 16, 2012

We Do One Thing at the Cost of Not Doing Another

A Stanley Marsh 3 road sign pretty well sums up
my view of the way time is passing.
I keep staring at my blog and thinking, “It’s been two weeks since I’ve written something. I should write something.”  And then I see on my blog roll that someone else has updated their blog and off I go. 

It’s not that I don’t want to write something or that I don’t have things to write about; I do.  It’s just that I’ve been busy with some things and lazy about other things. 

William Barrett wrote in his landmark study of Existential philosophy, Irrational Man, that “we know one thing at the cost of not knowing another.”  I concur.  But I would add to this that we could replace the words “know” and “knowing” with several other concepts and it would still be true.

We do one thing at the cost of not doing another.
We esteem one thing at the cost of not esteeming another.
We love one thing at the cost of not loving another.

This truth has been acutely evident in my life lately.  I have played in softball tournaments at the cost of not having Saturday’s in the garden.  I have spent lunch hours running to the Post Office to mail off eBay sales at the cost of not snapping garden photos.  I have spent those extra two minutes here and there playing Words with Friends at the cost of not taking the food scraps out to the compost bin.  I have been reading "A Year of Wonders" and "The Monsters and the Critics" instead of "Fine Gardening" and "Horticulture." 

How people spend their time and their money is the most visible barometer of what matters to them.  And lately, I have to say that I’m not feeling all that great about how I’ve been spending my time and I'm ready to get back to what feels right to me.  But first I have some commitments this weekend.  I will help a friend bring home some bookshelves (the curse of owning a truck), I will celebrate a wedding and I will attend a meeting.  These are good things, of course, but they take time.   

So I am also going to take a day off and make it a 3-day weekend.  And I plan on using at least some of that extra time to do one thing (gardening) at the cost of not doing several other things.

And I can hardly wait. 


  1. I couldn't agree with the title of this post any more if I tried. It's certainly true around here. There always seems to be something that's 'let go' in favor of something else, and I expect, until someone can invent 72 hour days, it will stay that way! Enjoy your day off, and happy gardening!

  2. Those wild horses seem to run faster and faster, don't they?

  3. Chad, I don't see how anyone could think that had wasted their time reading A Year of Wonders -- a wonderful book! -Jean

  4. Good plan, Chad.

  5. A Year of wonders is my favorite book!! I just finished The People of the Book, which is also written by Geraldine Brooks. Reading a good book is never a waste of time. A blog is a joy, not a job. Don't waste time feeling guilty for not posting.

  6. This could be the Zero Sum Rule of Time Management, that you can't add one thing without subtracting another. It is usually made most manifest when you have kids, Family and Child Activities preclude Grownup Activities so very frequently. Don't treat yourself too harshly over this, so many people think that they should be in a constant state of multitasking, when really they are just perpetually half-as*tasking.