“I’ll have some of that, too.”
I’m up early on a Sunday morning, barely past 7 in the morning, and reading up on an Accounting book I borrowed from my officemate. From the bed before I got up about an hour ago, as I was throwing silent tantrums to the universe because it keeps waking me up reeeeaaaaally early during weekends (and I feel like it has been robbing me off my precious sleeping hours), I noticed how I have somehow managed to surround myself with ‘visual’ representation of my things-to-do.
The stack of books a few feet from my bedside reminded me of a counter in a cafeteria where the lady asks me, “What would you like to have today, Ma’am?’ I imagined her asking, “Would you like to start reading this book,” or something like, “How about reading this one and finding out what happens in chapter 3? “Oooh, I’m sure you’re in the mood today to read this short story.”
And then I imagined her beaming at me, and, my indecisive self, throwing an eager smile back. I finally replied, “I think I’ll have some Math lessons today, Ma’am, thank you very much!”
I looked down the stack of books and a bag of fabric reminds of the costume I will be finishing for my nephew’s upcoming birthday. Inside my bag, I could see my passbook telling me of a deposit I have to make. A shopping bag in the dresser suggests that I wear the pants I’ve bought two weeks ago before I forget that I actually have new pants. My laptop, sitting mindlessly on top of the computer table, in life support (it has become dysfunctional on so many levels, I had to connect it to a monitor and then a keyboard and use my iPod as a wireless mouse—very lamentable, I know. hehe), calls me to watch my downloaded films, and, yes, write.
So here I am.
Maybe it’s human nature to have to do and finish things upon waking up. There’s always something to do. Parents wake up to cook breakfast for the kids, or maybe, feed the baby. Some people wake up early for meditation and exercise. Some, to cram papers and reports. Some to check their e-mail. It’s an endless, almost universal reflex to answer the question: “What do I need to do today?”
It’s quite a wearisome question, don’t you think? It’s like asking yourself, “What do I need to get done and over with today?”
As I was contemplating this thought, the nice cafeteria lady who offered me books to read upon waking up crossed my mind. I could not imagine her asking me, “What do you need to read today?” There was no hint of pressure in her voice nor the intention of making me feel already dragged down and tired before I could even start doing whatever it is in my to-do list.
And, as if the lens of my mind panned out from the cafeteria, a picture of the world came to a clearer, real-life focus: We are all running around in this big place with to-do lists in our hands, it’s almost like a scavenger hunt where we just cross out things we have accomplished finding---all because we want to win the game against time. But we forget that time is a gift and if we use it with too much regard for things we need to get done and over with, we may never get to hear the old man playing ‘La Vie en Rose” on his guitar by the sidewalk, or see the beautiful couple walking hand-in-hand down the street, or the charming intricate details of a building’s wall, and, yes, smell the flowers by the window we just passed by. Just because we were too focused on the things we need to do.
Maybe what we need is remind ourselves time and again that waking up in the morning does not always have to feel like the start of a race. It’s cliched, but I still believe that if you’re doing things because you want them, and not because you need to do them, then you’re on the right track.
And I guess asking ourselves in the same manner the nice cafeteria lady would have asked us as we begin our day could make huge a difference on how we review and rewrite our to-do lists. Just as how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what we feed our mind as we wake up is powerful enough to fuel our appetite for more meaningful days.
“What would I like to have today?”
As for me, I’ll have a cup of coffee with bread for breakfast, and maybe, and hour or so of Runaway Bride in a while. And, oh, yes, a lovely and purposeful day ahead. :)