Today, I had planned to get up, have morning coffee, and write a sterling post on a fascinating topic (or at least on a topic which intrigued me long enough to enable me to invest my attention in it wholly for the time it usually takes me to write a post. Whether my readers find these topics equally fascinating is a matter for them to tell me, I hope in the “comments” sections). Then, I’d thought, I’d have a leisurely breakfast. Next would come a trip to my building’s gym and twenty to thirty minutes of exercise and weight-lifting (I know, I know, I’m a weakling, but supposedly the way to build up graceful muscles rather than bulk is to do it gradually, every day, with some exercises in particular no more than every other day). After this, aglow with energy and good health, I was to come back up and read my primary e-mail, which I nearly always enjoy doing on a Sunday because so many of the websites I’m following are active with others’ comments on that day; also, I get a certain increase in comments on my own on some of the weekends. Next, I was going to read, read, read from some books I have out of the library to try to get them done before I have to return them, no more renewals allowed. Then lunch, then writing on my fifth novel, which is underway but stalled right now. Finally three o’clock coffee and a final burst of exercise for the day in the form of a forty-minute walk and some sit-ups. After that, I only had to work in dinner, and then I would be able to relax and watch a Poirot mystery on PBS after “The Simpsons,” and then bedtime and more reading. Ideally, I also had to work in time to wash my hair, listen to some music while I did laundry, and a few other odds and ends, but these things were not essential to a good Sunday, so I knew I could let them slide if I had to.
Does anything strike you as odd about this list? Such as, perhaps, that I had planned way too much for one day, and was doomed to disappointment? Yes, maybe, but what strikes me about it even more is that I neglected to take account of the fact that it’s very hard, almost impossible, to get on a computer for other chores and not read your e-mail. It’s just human nature, I think, on a hazy, warmish Sunday morning when the sun is out just a bit to want to interact with other humans in some way or other, even if only through e-mail and comments and website postings, three things I really enjoy inordinately. And there’s where the devil entered, because I have two different e-mail programs (this may be normal for you, but I got along for almost ten years with only one), my primary one which is connected to this website and a secondary one which only posts me new info about twice a month, and which I have never learned to work quite properly. The upshot of this is that I have become negligent (oh, why? oh, why?), and read it only about once or twice a month.
What took my time from about 8:00 this morning until about 3:00 this afternoon? Trying to get this e-mail program to do things anything like the way my other program does (which is easy and self-evident in the way it operates), in order to read roughly 98 e-mails that had suddenly come through. And none of these messages were spam or junk or anything like that, but verifiable messages from reputable senders which had to be at least glanced at before I could go on to the next message. I worked diligently, but I simply could not master all of the options and operations on the secondary e-mail. Periodically, I took a break: I got sick to my stomach once with anxiety, which occasionally happens when I have too many things to attend to; I made sure I had my daily coffees (which on second thought probably wasn’t great for the stomach issue); I ate lunch at about 3:00. The rest of the time I and a willing and intelligent helper with more computer experience than I do tried and tried to get the e-mail program to work. Finally, the best we could do was to read all the e-mail and put the things it turned out I didn’t need into the delete file, and respond to a few things. Whew! What an ordeal!
None of the other chores got done except for the 40 minute walk and sit-ups and dinner of a sort, the exercise being good for getting rid of some tension and dinner good for a little further relaxation, once it was done.
Do you see now why–considering the size of the things that annoy me, vis-à-vis the title of this post–that I consider myself a “small” person (in literal terms, I’m a stocky 5’9″)? It’s because the very things which compose some people’s daily routine defied me (a series of computer glitches and problems which originate in conundrums much more serious than a simple lack of knowledge about which thing to click on, a full schedule which doesn’t allow for any wiggle room in order to get lots of things done correctly). In fact, it wasn’t so much that I was defied by computer problems as that I allowed myself to be upset (I didn’t mention I was upset? I raised my voice in talking to the computer, in talking to my kind helper, I swore like the proverbial sailor, I banged my hands on the table, I held my head in my hands, and other such signs of sturm und drang).
So, what is the answer to being a “larger” person? I did thank my helper after we were done; I tried to show some humor about my previous upset. I ate a light dinner, so that I could get a good night’s sleep, ready to start again tomorrow. I’m very low energy right now (this is a real-time post!), so if my post seems silly to you or bitchy, that may be why. In truth, in the same way people tell us that we never really make up lost sleep, so also maybe we never really make up for badly invested energy. At least, however, I can feel that the energy I’ve spent in writing this post has been well-invested, if only in the sense that it may operate as a cautionary tale: don’t be as “small” and petty as to allow yourself so much self-indulgent emotion. It’s that complicated, and that simple. Though I was myself only good at meditation and yoga for a brief time of my life (when life was simpler anyway!), find some way to take yourself out of what is bugging you, or at least some way of recovering your equilibrium periodically while you are trying to address your difficulties. Otherwise, you will need to acknowledge to some other people who may be expecting to see you or hear from you or read you (as I owed you, my readers, a post earlier today) that you are, at least upon occasion, a “small” person. Here’s hoping you don’t mind hearing from me anyway!
7 responses to ““You are no bigger than the things that annoy you”–Jerry Bundsen, and why I am a very small person”
My difficulty is that I justify the small things over the big ones. Like, for instance, I love to find the time to read other blogs. Unfortunately, the 20 minutes I allot myself grows to “all the minutes available”. Emails are the same way. You will get no judgement from me!
Also, I am no expert, but multiple studies have confirmed that females will not bluk up if they lift heavy. Case in point: http://www.leangains.com/2012/10/train-like-man-look-like-goddess.html
Its not very eloquent but a good point is made.
Thanks for the fellow-feeling and also for the link. I don’t really lift heavy, just do strength training and etc. for my arms and legs, and ride an exercise cycle for a while. I lift “pretend heavy” which is to say with a lot of sound effects and not much motion. Just joking, but I could do more. I’ll have a look at the link and see if I can really stand to look like a goddess. About the post, I had no sooner finished it than I found myself wondering if I’d said something “size-ist” by not correcting Bundsen’s use of the word “large” to mean “generous-minded” and his implied “small” to mean “small-minded,” but then decided that I would let my readers comment on that one. It’s a consideration that comes up in sports now and then, and when kids are bullying each other sometimes, but we expect better things of ourselves, so I just hoped that people would take it as I meant it and not bend it out of shape. Thanks, as always, for reading, and for your great comment(s).
I indeed know the feeling of getting riled up over petty things, as my wife informs many times each day.
The best way to make practical use of your own petty foibles: use them as character motivations. To borrow a wrestling analogy, the best characters are the real you ‘turned up to 11’ (ie. massively exacerbated). Control freak, pomposity, dwelling too much on things, feeling victimised… use them as seeds to create characters, since you (hopefully) know why it annoys you and how it makes you feel.
All very good suggestions! Thanks for responding, and for being such a faithful follower.
It does sound very annoying and it would have gotten to me as well.
You had such nice plans and then along comes some technical glitch.
It’s not even that you lost time uselessly, it just proved to be a more daunting task than you thought it would be.
It’s especially frustrating when I look at lovely sites like yours where so much is going on and I know how hard you work, too. Then I try to tell myself that I’ve only been on since July, but this is just a sop to Cerberus, in a way (Cerberus in this case being the maddening egotism that guards the entrance to my own personal hell, that of not accomplishing everything as quickly as I’d like to). Other people’s work is always a good example to me of how much more I could be achieving, but the computer is a continual annoyance. As “anonymous” once said, “Never let a computer know you’re in a hurry.”
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