When you don’t feel like doing anything, is it easier to take action when
(a) you have an unwanted obligation or
(b) you have absolutely nothing to do.
Not working right now, this is the kind of profound query with which I challenge myself. (I’m leaning towards “b” as the answer.) And that discussion is a step up from, “Should I wear my old jeans or my really old jeans?”
It takes some adjustment going from the frenetic world of teaching full-time** and raising three children to absolutely nothing. I’m not asking for pity.
As with others in my position in life, I’ve been looking for The Next Big Thing or The Grand Gesture that will propel us to the end of our lives. With luck, I’ve got about a third of a life left, so what’s it going to be?
So, last week, when I had the opportunity to hear Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmentalist and lawyer, speak at the Cleveland Town Hall series, I was struck by a couple of things.
To begin, my husband and I agreed on what Kennedy said – our marriage has survived thirty years of opposing political views so the fact that he appealed to both of us is just unbelievable. In addition, Kennedy is smart and impassioned and, most importantly, has affected change in the environmental landscape of this country. His posit that, “Good environmental policy is good economic policy” makes all kinds of sense and the fact that he suffers from spasmodic dysphonia that causes his voice to quaver and still goes around the world speaking to live audiences, is inspiring.
So, when I think about Kennedy’s accomplishments (I think we’re the same age), for example, or the Ohio State football player who made the amazing catch in the end zone (which game? – the only one I watched), or Raphael Vinoly who designed the awe-inspiring changes at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I am humbled.
My actions may not be lofty or even very important right now, but I’m heartened when I think of Mother Teresa’s statement that, “It is not the magnitude of our actions, but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”
Today, I baked pies. Pumpkin, apple, pecan. On Thanksgiving, I’ll share them with my husband, our children, our soon-to-be son-in-law, and my sister and brother and their families. There must be love in that.
Oh, and I won’t be wearing jeans.
**I know, I know – the summers off, the long holiday breaks, the retirement on the backs of the taxpayers, the fully-funded business trips to Aruba – oh, wait, that’s your job – I’ve heard it all before. So I challenge those of you who are thinking the previous, why didn’t you become a teacher? If you honestly answer the question, I think you may back down on the criticism.