When I was a kid, allowance was kind of a sore spot. I technically got one from my mom, though it was literally a dime, and I’d have to demand it. Many times, she’d have to owe it to me, and there was a whole keeping track and at the end of the day, it wasn’t like I grew up in the Depression— 52 weeks of chores for $5.20, when most of my friends got at least a dollar a week— ultimately it wasn’t worth the trouble. Also, I didn’t get to decide how it got spent. Also, my chores were non-optional— if I decided I didn’t want to empty the trash, it wasn’t like I could forgo the dime and call it good, and I wasn’t more likely to get the stupid dime if I emptied the trash daily instead of at the last minute, repeatedly reminded. It didn’t work as a system.
This weekend was just jammed, and though I got a lot done, my list for stuff around the house is so long that I really felt like I needed an extra day or two. In fact, I thought about skipping church yesterday to keep plugging away at it. I concluded that was a bad plan, but I was thinking about it in church (very spiritually, I’m sure)— that maybe I should start taking a day off here and there, if I’m not doing something more fun, just to make headway on the house. I can keep it just short of utter chaos most of the time, but with a few more hours to throw at it, I can start making a real difference.
One of the things I like best about adulthood is that when I spot a problem, I can just fix it. Mathematically impossible to get to work on time given what I’ve been doing? Told mom I need to go to bed earlier so we needed to wrap up the joint part of our evening together earlier. Went to bed earlier. Got up earlier. On time for work, decently rested, having done a little yoga and my morning pages, read some of one of the magazines I never have time to read, and significantly less stressed. My personal belief that I’m constitutionally incapable of going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, or being on time for work be damned.
Like the calories in-calories out math that I wanted to believe didn’t apply to me? Just not true. Another example of “be careful what you say to yourself, about yourself, because you’ll live down to the bad stuff just as surely as you’ll live up to the good stuff.”
So I realized, this week, that the reason I’m late to work all. the. time is (stop the presses here) I’m not getting up early enough.
I’ll wait while you recover from the depths of my self knowledge.
A few years ago, Colorado Opera postponed their much-feted world premiere production of “The Scarlet Letter” because of financial trouble. That was the spring of the year that I decided to double down and formally teach religious education, though the people I’d been volunteering with the high school youth group with were all bailing out of the program. My mom and I bought season tickets to the opera that year, because they slashed their prices replaced “The Scarlet Letter” with dyed-in-the-wool crowd pleasers, including “Romeo and Juliet” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” Though we were novices to opera, my experience with ballet taught me that familiar material makes an unfamiliar art form more accessible. It paid off— we’ve since enjoyed several performances: “Carmen,” and “Aida,” and “Rigoletto,” among others, and are season ticket holders to this day. They’ve emerged from their financial troubles, and are in a position to do some more innovative programming.