women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not Yet

Black socks; they never get dirty.
The longer you wear them, the blacker they get.
Some day I'm going to launder them.
But something keeps telling me, "Don't do it yet."
Not yet, not yet...
Not yet.

When number one son was in day camp one summer many years ago, he learned this song and performed it many times over, always to the great delight of his grandparents. Said grandparents enjoyed the song so much, they had a plaque made that says...

"Not yet."
"Not yet."

It hangs by the side of their front door up at the lake. When the boys were younger, it adorned the door itself every morning, until my parents arose for the day and were ready for company. If they ran down the hill from the guest cottage at 6 AM and saw the sign, they knew they should quietly, like little mice, creep back up and jump on their parents' bed (lucky us!) instead of disturbing the grands.

I believe I have previously shared with y'all the extremely well-adjusted, self aware, thoroughly analyzed fact that I am a procrastinator.

Of the nth degree.

Twas not always so.

Before my depression and its ensuing life transformation, I was anal. I was organized. I was spastic about it. I stockpiled:


and yes...


I have been conditioned to feather my nest, gather my finery, catalog my excesses, and pull them around me as a protective blanket.

Just in case...

In case it is no longer available.
In case I run out of it.
In case I need it.
In case I regret not having it.

Whatever it is.

A book I read once, called this the "ga-zingus button." You know, that thing that you gravitate towards, even though you already have one (or more) because you don't have "that" one.

For most of us that button is yarn. Witness the evolution of the "stash."

Some of us knit from our stash. Some of us take vows of yarn poverty. Some of us wear proverbial hair shirts and flog ourselves.

Only we use Quiviut and knitting needles.

I have tried to quit cold turkey with little success. I am a tried and true worshiper at the bright, shiny, "new and improved" altar of modern consumerism. I struggle with this issue on a daily basis. Bombarded by messages aimed at creating a previously non-existent need which only they can satisfy, I have learned two things:

I cannot stop the juggernaut.
But I can slow it down.

It's called procrastination. And it ain't always such a bad thing folks. Used judiciously, it can save you a ton of money and a butt load of heartache.

Do I need this? Maybe.
Do I want this? Definitely.
Do I have to have it?

Not yet.
Not yet.

One day at a time. I learned that lesson from the folks at Al anon. Do I need to control my acquisitive impulses for the rest of my life?

Nope. Just for today.

The downside of this approach is the feeling of always having a ton of stuff on your to do list. Because I don't do things ahead of time. I wait until I have to. This sometimes creates, shall we say, uncomfortable situations and last minute emergencies.

The upside is having a larger balance in the bank and spreading out your purchases and energies over a longer period of time.

I no longer have to figure out if I need something, or only want it.

I just have to figure out if I can live without it for today. If I really need something, it will become self evident in the normal course of events. If I only want something, that too is revealed by the passage of time and the degree of obsession. Sometimes, the want deserves satisfaction. (Hey, nobody's perfect! Life is short.) More often, it doesn't.

And by putting things off and refusing to worry about tomorrow, I gain a firmer awareness of living in the moment. I turn my eyes from the new to appreciate the familiar. I don't reject what will come to pass. I just choose to ignore it for a while and focus on what I have.

Instead of what I don't.

Not yet...not yet...

Not yet.


Elysbeth said...

Such a timely post for me. Thank you for the delicate-but-firm nudge.

Denise said...

Well said! I often use 'not today' when I'm shopping and some impulse overtakes me ... Love the black sock poem too :)

Donna Lee said...

Not yet, not yet. What good words to keep in mind. I find myself trying to rush through my week to get to the weekend. But what am I missing on those Monday through Fridays? I'm going to find out.

Kim said...

Iris is beautiful - great job. I would love to see it in person!