There are somethings I do, even though I don’t really see the point of doing them. LinkedIn. Eating Asian food with chopsticks. Teaching every dog I’ve had to give me high five. They don’t have obvious benefits, but they seem like things people do, they don’t take too much effort, so I do them.
Other things though, if I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to do them, I just can’t make myself do. Chit-chat with dental hygienists (I don’t even know your first name! Why would I tell you what I’m up to this weekend?). Dusting (inanimate objects should not require upkeep). Opening mail (if you need me, I’m pretty easy to reach on the internet). I’m not sure what the difference is for me, between passively maintaining a LinkedIn presence and answering such inquiries as where my dogs stay when I’m on vacation from a stranger whose hands are in my mouth, but the line is there, and feels deeply rooted in principle, though I’m not sure what that principle might be.
Maybe it’s just that there’s just not time to do everything. All of the little, tiny things we are supposed to do with our time, like teaching our dogs meaningless tricks and opening envelopes that a human actually walked up to my house to hand me, they add up, both in terms of time and energy. I truly want to be one of those people who remember friends and family members’ birthdays and send them cards in advance too, but
I’m just not sure how to begin weaving that into my brainspace. Think how much everyone I know would like that, though. That would be nice of me. I should do that. Someday.
Something I learned during the downtown development phase phase of my life is the importance of having a mission and a vision. Organizations need these, because you have to state your goals and how you plan to achieve them if you’re ever going to be focused enough to get anything done. The mantra is, every single event, program or activity your organization does should lead your toward your vision. Otherwise, it’s a waste.
So maybe that’s the line. Somehow, eating Asian food with chopsticks moves me toward my goal of experiencing and understanding other cultures – incrementally, I’ll give you, but still – while constantly maintaining my inanimate objects’ apparent allergy to air doesn’t really move me toward any greater goal. Likewise, teaching Lois to give me high five makes me happy, and reading my mail does not. So, if there’s a cohesive thought behind any of this, I guess it’s this: time and energy is limited and fleeting. We shouldn’t spend them on things that don’t matter. We should spend them on things that do. Like high fiving our dogs.