Spend time on the important things of life

“Concentrating on life is important. Concentrating on the laundry is not.”
I found that quote someplace. Well, actually, I found it written down in a section of my Daytimer that’s reserved for little bits of wisdom. What I don’t know is who said it.
Did I think it up? Did one of my wise friends say it when we were out for a walk? Was it Ladies’ Home Journal? Or one of the great philosophers?
It’s the kind of quote that could come from almost anyone–and apply to almost anyone. It also fits another treasured quote, “The world spends all its time on the unimportant and trivializes the important.”
Now, no one disputes the laundry must be done. And the lawn mowed. Dinner cooked. And the basement cleaned on occasion. The car washed, and money put in the bank.
But those are the mechanics of living, the outer leaves on the artichoke. The tragedy of our lives is that those day-to-day mechanics too often keep us from finding the heart of living.
What is really important in life is what goes on between people and in our personal souls. It is made up of conversation and thoughts. And laughter and caring. Exploring new ideas and stretching old ones.
Enjoying the beauty of nature, and thrilling to new life springing out of the ground. Watching the birds in the morning and the sunset in the evening.
Spending time with a child or a grandparent or a co-worker. Going within ourselves for a half-hour of thinking or meditation. Finding the joy wherever it is hidden in life.
And when the joy comes, dirty dishes and dirty cars don’t really matter.
So how do we keep from trivializing the important? How do we keep focused on life instead of the laundry? How do we discover the heart of living?
Well, to begin with, it’s critical to remember the urgent and the important are seldom the same thing. The phone rings demandingly and you answer to talk to a roofing salesman although your house has just been re-roofed.
But who would suggest that that urgent phone call was more important than the coffee and conversation you were having with a friend.
That scenario is repeated hundreds of times in our lives. And unless we are to arrive at the end of our days filled with regret, we must priorize every day, every hour, possibly every minute.
There are so few days in our lives that we can’t afford to waste them.
When you are gone, someone else will do the laundry. But there are some things that no one else can do.
Your friends and family care about you–not because of your ability to get grime out of socks, as the TV ads suggest, but because of the ways you enrich their lives.
What your friends and family value you for are your smile, the things you say, the ideas you have, your laughter, your kind actions, the little surprises you spring, and the fun you share with them.
That’s why they like you. Because you make their lives worth living, and most of the time, they really don’t care whether or not you’re wearing grimy socks.
So write down that quote at the beginning of this article. And every day of your life, make a conscious effort to distinguish between the trivial and the important.
Your life is too short to waste on things that don’t matter.

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