Friday, December 29, 2017
My dad was not an easy man to live with: bipolar and a sociopath, he was also far more intelligent than his background would allow for. And now and then he would get it right, advice-wise.
One of my tasks growing up was working alongside my parents in the blueberry field, cutting brush and poisoning out things like poplar and raspberry canes. One day he planted me in front of what was about an acre of hundreds and hundreds of poplar shoots, all of them no more than four feet high, and told me to start clearing them out. One. At. A. Time. Cut, poison, cut, poison, cut, poison, each tiny stub. I would cut a few, straighten up, sigh, and stare out at the endless sea of these things.
After awhile I suspect it began to get on his nerves, this whiney child, snipsnipsnip sigh snip snip snip sigh.
And he gave me the best advice I have ever gotten, for getting through long tedious things.
"Never look ahead to see how much is left," he said. "Focus on what's right in front of you, and nothing more. But now and then, look back, to see how far you've come. You'll be amazed at how
much easier it is when you do that."
And he was right.
Life, it turns out, is loaded with mindless, seemingly endless tasks, the kind you have to do, but with this advice they turn out to be not so endless, and ultimately you have a large mowed piece of lawn, or a much smaller pile of logs (and a corresponding larger pile of stove wood) or even a shoveled driveway.
Posted by mittens at 10:36 AM