Day X + 1

March 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

One of the things I was browsing on the internet last night, instead of going to bed, was this blog, http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/.  And today, her concept of the paperclips of life floated back into my mind.  Rather than badly paraphrasing it, I better quote some of it

… all meaningful work in the world, [involves] an awful lot of attention to seemingly trivial, energy-sucking, ordinary real-world details.  Taking notes.  Returning phone calls.  Paying bills.  Organizing filing, grading homework, keeping a seating chart, and making sure to have enough pencils and worksheets on hand each day.

This is what I think of as the paperclips of my life.  And no matter how much meaning and purpose anyone tries to build into their life, they will never really make a difference anywhere unless they are handling paperclips.

She was talking about the paperclips of a therapist, teacher, hospital administrator.  I don’t have a job descriptions, but I think the paperclips of my life must include making sure everyone is fed,  watered and toileted, anticipating and preventing mishaps, arbitration, negotiation, the usual kind of things when you have small children.

Well, I handled my paperclips extremely badly today.  What with child falling down stairs disasters, tantrums, mis-timings, wrong buses, unexpectedly sleeping child to cope with in town, missed lunches, lack of fluids, broken eggs, the list goes on.

This is not a punt for sympathy. We have all survived today, mostly intact (apart from the eggs), and I’m even feeling quite chirpy now.  But this is the context of my life against which I’m trying to “do the right thing” / be mindful / reduce my consumerism etc, and whilst some days work better than others, all those paperclips don’t go away. They are why I have ruled out the “go and live in a yurt” option. Even if I gave away my wordly possessions and became a hermit, those paperclips would still need doing, just not by me any more.

And they are why I’m so frustrated at times that there isn’t an easy answer for me.  Such as a “suit of imperviousness to advertising” and “glasses of abitlity to make right ecological choice when buying something” that I can just wear without having to think about it. Sometimes I just don’t need any more complications in my life!

Oh, and in case you were wondering

Total trips to cafe’s: 2

Other purchases: the fateful eggs, bread, brocolli, potatoes and rather a large amount of wholefood on the bimonthly bulk order from Essential.

Bus rides: lost count

Uplifting achievements (eg planting, making, inspiring, creating something): 0

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§ 2 Responses to Day X + 1

  • Alice Y. says:

    Bless you. I am reminded of some of my least favourite days i the last few years.

    Company is essential! bell hooks is really good on this: critical consciousness is a state of mind which requires effort and community to maintain. We can build that armour against marketing lies but it’s very hard to do alone. If we are immersing ourselves in a community conversation which helps us raise and keep our critical minds alert and responsive, it can get easier and temptations can turn into teaching opportunities and invitations to effective direct action instead. I think.

    Lots of love.

  • Christine Duff says:

    Oh yes, those paperclips – always preventing us from doing what we really want to do -but it is those very paperclips which hold our lives together – I think…

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