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Many years ago at the beginning of a class I was taking, the instructor asked each student to give their name and tell a little about themselves. Everyone told about their work and activities. Finally, one woman stood up, said her name, and announced in a sweet, Southern drawl, “What do I do? I sit – on the veranda. I sip – iced tea.”

At first we all laughed. Then we laughed at ourselves. What is wrong with sitting back and relaxing? Why do we have to be in constant motion?

I tend to make things more challenging than they need be. I can’t serve a simple meal. Everything has to be homemade. I send handwritten notes and make my own window treatments. My house is immaculately clean, books on shelves are categorized, and I maintain detailed, up-to-date records on everything imaginable.

I can’t just watch TV or listen to music. I have to also read, write, clean, pay bills, or work on the computer. We also have a large circle of family and friends we see often. And along with everyone else, I live in a world that is technologically complicated and over-crowded with people, goods, and activity.

Sometimes I long for a simpler life. There is something to be said about residing in a small, uncluttered home in an area with little to do, no one to see, and nowhere to go. Days would be calm and predictable. From a smaller wardrobe to fewer choices of restaurants, stores, and events to attend, life would be less stressful.

Quite honestly, though, I have to admit, I enjoy all the little things I do. They are ways in which I express myself. I’ve had opportunities to vacation in secluded areas and enjoyed it very much – for the time – but I have to admit that I don’t think I can let go and relax completely and indefinitely. Keeping busy makes me feel alive.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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