Today I’m going to attempt to understand a bit of advice that Babci dispenses over and over again. This particular advice is something that I find a hard time listening to. You see, I very much take after Babci with regards to my schedule. I run myself ragged and never seem to have a moment to myself. The only moments where I seem to have any down time is when I’ve completely gone too far and get myself sick. In college, I would always seem to get sick right after my last final was over. It was as if my body was saying “Okay girly girl..I let you abuse me for long enough. Now it’s my turn to relax and if you don’t let me, I’m going to get sick to force you to stay put.”
As I’ve been talking to Babci over the phone, I’ve been updating her on the progress of her bathroom remodel. Due to our schedules and how screwed up the plumbing had been, it’s been extremely slow going. Plus, the plumbing was running along the outside of 2 adjacent rooms, so those had to be done too. The gutting took place on Thanksgiving weekend, and we’re just now to the point where the floor tile is down and the sheetrock is hung. We still need to tape and paint it and finish installing the toilet and sink. We have another 3 weeks before Babci is back home and I hope that it can be functional by then, plus there is still a hall and bedroom to sheetrock after that. At any rate, whenever I tell her about my plans for the coming weekend, the first thing out of her mouth is “Stop Killing Yourself with so Much Work”, quickly followed by “Take your Time, there is no rush.” Now, my mom’s hallway has been gutted for over 2 years. I hardly feel like I’m rushing things.
Also, when my mom was my age, she was working all kinds of overtime, plus kept a garden and sewed her own clothing. She kept the exact same schedule as I did for decades and I’m now following in her footsteps. I mean it sure beats being lazy but here she is telling me over and over again to work less and up until now I’ve ignored this advice. What does it all mean?
Work will Always Be There
I believe that one of the things Babci has learned over the years is that no matter how hard you work at getting ahead, there will always be more work right behind it. A house is never “done”. Even if it’s been remodeled, it still needs periodic maintenance. In the 10 years we’ve had our home it’s been remodeled from top to bottom, but I can still list off 5 things off the top of my head that need attention this year.
I think part of what she’s trying to tell me is that whether you work at a backbreaking pace or a slower one, you will never be “finished” with trying to maintain and improve your living conditions.
Take Time to Enjoy Yourself
Babci often talks about never being able to go anywhere and do anything when she was younger. Even as cheap as she was, she always supported my decisions to vacation and travel. She wanted me to be able to see the world and enjoy life. If you’re working all the time, you miss out on a lot.
Do Deadlines Really Matter?
Again, over a lifetime, when I’m almost 80, will I look back and say, wow..I wish I would have remodeled my mom’s house in 5 years instead of 10. Probably not. I may wish I spent more time with family but not necessarily more time working on stuff.
I’ll admit. I’m a little obsessed with efficiency and forward progress. I also think my mom didn’t tell herself to take it easy when she saved for her house and then fixed it up. If she took it easy, she may have never become a homeowner/landlady and she would have been much worse off financially.
Maybe she just sees that I’m finally at the point where I have “enough.” Maybe she wants me to take my foot off the accelerator pedal so that life doesn’t pass me by too quickly.
As with anything, there is a balance. I feel like it’s good for the soul to be hard working and independent. I also don’t want to leave my future self hanging with no safety net. However, I think it’s time to heed some of Babci’s advice and learn to slow down a little so I can enjoy the present more. What do you think? Why do you think she’s dispensing this particular advice constantly?