Monday, October 25, 2010


This weekend, I spat in the face of my directionally-challenged self. So what if I can't tell north from south, if you don't even have to spin me around to disorient me? I didn't care. The Kiddo wanted to go in a corn maze, and I was going to take her.

Admittedly, the first maze of the afternoon set me up for some false confidence. It was easy-peasy, whereas the Phase 2 Maze was anything but. Filled with dead-ends and endless loops, the maze led us around our elbow to get to our nose.

But the sun was high, and way above the corn stalks were scaffold platforms with event staff making sure nobody got terribly lost, so we soldiered on.

I thought about a lot of things while we plowed through the trails in our very slow trek through the maze. I thought about what a terrible lab rat I'd make. I thought about aliens and Mel Gibson and crop circles. I thought about what a fabulous setting a corn maze would make for a television show like CRIMINAL MINDS, where a killer lurked in one of the dead-ends of the maze. (You can tell, can't you, that my claustrophobia was setting in toward the end, huh?)

But mostly I thought about something I've long been convinced of. The big decisions in our life are pretty much already decided by the time we get there. No, I'm not talking about pre-destination or anything like that, and I truly believe that no matter where you are in life, you can do a 180 and go the other way.

Still, every turn that carried me deeper into that corn maze was preceded by a turn before that one. And it's like that in life. The little decisions I make, decisions like, "Oh, I won't write tonight," or "I'll write that errand on my to-do list later," well, those are the very decisions that make the big decision ahead of me almost a fait accompli.

For instance, say I choose to NOT write an errand down on my list, thinking that surely I'll remember it. But of course I don't, and then at the last minute, I have to do it in a very inconvenient, inefficient way. That in turn steals the tiny sliver of time I have to write, which then puts me further behind on my goal to finish the current project.

Before we enter the Big Rat Race called Life, then, we need to think like a well-educated lab rat. What do we want? The cheese, of course. And when do we want it? ASAP. That being the case, whatever our priorities in life are -- and for me, that's my family and my writing -- we need to be single-minded and let every decision guide us closer to those things.

How do you handle life's little decisions? Do they stack up like bricks and wall you in? Or are you able to jump over the walls they build before you're completely boxed in?


Linda G. said...

Tip: if you ever need to know where "south" is, just look in the mirror. ;)

Jessica Lemmon said...

I hear ya! Def been struggling with finding time to this-or-that since I gave away another 20 hours to my 2nd job. *sigh*

My to-do list is in my cell phone. I put everything in there with little ringing reminders. And I make lists. And if I have a blog idea, I jot that in there as well.

My other secret is my ability to let it go. Laundry, dinner, housecleaning... I put it off on Saturday to write for three hours. SO GLAD I DID! Today, I have some catching up to do, but it was worth it. The challenge now? Fitting in housework + writing today!

abby mumford said...

i'm usually good at NOT procrastinating with everything except my writing. and then all those little 5 minutes stack up and hours piles up and i'm all "oh man, i need at least 2 hours to get settled back into this" and the more daunting (and easier to avoid) the task becomes.

i like this idea that i should embrace the little slivers of time. i believe it will make my writing easier in the long run.