A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
I was awake at 5:42 a.m. this morning which was the time indicated that the "blue moon", or the second full moon in one month, would be at it's peak. Unfortunately all I got recorded was a big white dot. Other than the fact that I could have cut out a white circle and accomplished exactly the same thing, I needed to prove my diligence in tracking down the blue moon. Now I know where the song "Blue Moon" and the saying "once in a blue moon" came from. Why didn't someone cover that in junior high school so I would have known it all these years and not devoid of important knowledge for my well being?
We get lots of advice throughout our life time. As children, we get both advice and stern instructions that leave us little choice but to go along with parental discretion. As we grow older, parents become more concerned and more worried about children making mistakes early in their lives that may plague and haunt both children and parents for years. As teenagers spread their wings, trying to keep them safe from harm and helping them avoid obvious blunders becomes one of the greatest and most important challenges of parenting. At a young age, there are some things that parents may, in fact, know best.
My youngest daughter was famous at an early age for announcing to her mother and me in no uncertain terms, "You are not the boss of me." No one likes to be told what to do. Children begin to rebel almost as soon as they can walk and talk. One of my granddaughters just wrote an epic story of taking little Alice to the grocery store and of the resulting chaos and challenges resulting from that experience.
Then, as children begin to mature, the time comes when they must take more responsibility for their own actions. Parents hope they have covered the basics: The difference between right and wrong. The importance of carefully evaluating choices and alternatives. Understanding the consequences of personal actions. Honesty and integrity. Avoiding hasty impulses. Choice of friends and associates. Dating partners and romantic attachments. And a myriad other do's and dont's in the unwritten handbook of raising children and turning them loose into the world and hoping the best for all concerned.
Difficulties can emerge, however, when we try to micromanage someone else's life when they are old enough to make decisions on their own. A few illustrations of the pitfalls in micromanaging another's life follow.
During my long years of teaching, I experienced more than a few cases of parents trying to control their children's choice of careers. Some parents tried to control me to make sure I gave their offspring the grades that they, the parents, knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that their children deserved. One father disowned his son for not going to law school so the son could join the father in his law firm. In the era of electronic umbilical cords, too many parents spend too much time trying to protect, advise, and control the actions of their children who are in college or who have left home. Too many young people would be better off if they would just turn off their phones and launch forth on their own lives without so much parental input.
We would, of course, like to be able to forestall unfortunate choices of marriage partners, disastrous career choices, questionable spending habits, addictions, and other detours and side roads that may lead to bitter disappointments and much regret in the lives of those we want to protect. Not all advice is harmful. Learning to listen to advice rather than just close our ears to it can save us from many an error by making us think about consequences that we may not have considered.
Some wives want to continue their educations or to find meaningful work outside the home but are prevented from doing so by their spouses whose dignity would be hurt if they could not provide adequately themselves for all of the family needs. Some naysayers are busy throwing cold water on the desires of people to lose weight, change jobs, get more education, move to another town, join a gym or health club, learn a new hobby, read more books, start a computer class, cook something different for dinner, try a different dress or clothing style, redecorate the house, listen to a different television program, or any one of countless other choices that we may want to take in our daily lives. One of my lifetime friends from high school, who was one of my two co-editors of our high school senior annual, told me that her husband never allowed her to have the television remote and that she spent her life listening to whatever her husband chose.
To be productive in our lives, to achieve our highest goals and dreams, and to learn and progress in all that we do requires freedom to make choices. Freedom to make choices means the freedom to make mistakes. Making mistakes means that we are free to learn from the mistakes that we make. We may have to make choices that others have tried to prevent us from making. My dad thought I should stay in my home town and work at the bank for $150 a month since I had a job there after my freshman year of college, and I had a minor conflict with him when I loaded up my car and took off for the University again. He admitted many years later that he was wrong and he apologized.
Free agency is one of the greatest gifts given to us. Yet free agency comes with consequences, both positive and negative. Free agency requires that we use every bit of common sense and knowledge that we have and can muster in making decisions that affect our lives. But in the end, we alone are responsible for our lives. And there are times when we just have to ignore the micro managers who are trying to control us for their own selfish aims or because they think they know better than we know what we want to do with our lives.
Task Number 211: Don't let someone micromanage your life. Listen to advice offered, carefully weight the consequences, be sure you don't fall into an obvious trap, and go ahead with your life. Good luck, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
We all know how to waste time. We get bored, we don't feel like doing anything useful, we get side-tracked, and for a hundred and one other reasons we find ourselves piddling away the minutes, hours, and perhaps even days. Yet, we have a constant nagging conscience that keeps telling us, "Get up, get going, do something!"
In the hectic world that so many of us find ourselves in today, time becomes a precious commodity. Yet, we often go through the day losing some minutes here, some more minutes there, and a wasted hour or two somewhere else. Our electronic world is a champion time waster. Consider the amount of time you spend each day on the following activities:
Checking and pinning on Pinterest.
Posting photos and trivia in various places.
Reading actual mail.
Checking and reading non-work related material like sports scores.
Newspapers and magazines.
Minding someone else's business.
Making excuses for why you never got anything done today.
As is our custom here, making up your own list of time wasters is more productive than reading through mine. You probably have some wonderfully creative ways and means of whiling away the minutes of a day that I have never thought of.
If you haven't actually thought seriously about how you spend the hours in a day, try writing down a log for several days and see just how much time you actually are engaged in productive and useful activities and how much time you are blowing away in the wind. Of course, not all non-productive time is wasted. A few minutes to relax, some time to think about and plan your day and your work, discussing an idea about your job with your co-worker, all of these and many other similar activities are valuable in making progress in your daily activities. What matters is whether you are really getting somewhere, whether you are making progress inch by inch, or whether you are letting the days and hours go by with empty results and lagging progress.
If you think you are wasting too much time on the job, and if you are married and have a family, try changing places with your stay-at-home spouse for two or three days and see how much time you end up wasting during those days and still get everything done that your spouse typically accomplishes during any given day. Then you will feel guilty the next time you pause at the water cooler to dissect last night's sports event or while away the minutes entertaining yourself with your email.
The two classic excuses for not accomplishing anything are the following:
I don't have time.
I don't have money.
So get serious. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Busy people find a way to maximize their use of limited time to get the maximum benefits from each block of time throughout the day. And we all know that we feel better at the end of the day if we leave a short list of big accomplishments behind when we wind down the day and count our blessings.
Task Number 210: Cut out the time wasters. Doing something is more valuable than wasting time. Good luck, and keep going just a bit faster now that you are eliminating time wasters, one by one. The Curmudgeonly Professor.