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Road trips are a spiritual practice. Not only is there the usual priority-revealing packing process in which I discover, again, that books outrank pretty much everything except my toothbrush, but also there is the gradual emptying of the mind. Sometimes I even learn to overcome fears, like this trip when I actually drove Hagrid the truck (the kids and I named him because he is “too big to be allowed.”).

During the many parts of the trip when I was not driving, I was responsible for the driver-entertaining conversation. I can and do piffle for hours. We drove for more hours than I can piffle. Which meant that I was finally able to think clearly, without all the usual clutter.

And here is what I learned. (Disclaimer: all lightbulbs are my own, and you may find them extremely dim, ordinary, and un-illuminating. This is why I like you—you know more than I do.) I have a big challenge ahead of me. Right now I am at the border between manageable and unmanageable. The time and energy my new job takes are just enough to require strategies I haven’t used for a while. And I don’t want to.

I don’t want my life to be about pure survival. I don’t want efficiency to be my god. I don’t want every moment scheduled for maximum effectiveness. Too much math.

Yes, I will remember that cooking ahead on the weekend works better so I don’t resort to pizza delivery every time I’m tired. Yes, I will make and use lists. Yes, I will put out my clothes the night before. But I will be in charge of the techniques, not the other way around. I will refuse to go at top speed all the time. I will remember that it’s life, not just a bunch of tasks.

As soon as I figure out how.



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June 2012
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