EDITORIAL: Life gets in the way of the best laid plans

This week’s column looks at best paid plans and the art of procrastination.

The days of summer, their edges frayed slightly by cooler, crisper mornings and soft nights of early darkness are slowly drawing to a close.

It’s too bad, really.

Those days, filled with delicious, blistering heat seemed to march on relentlessly through July and August. Now here we are into September, and lo and behold, it seems the relentless marching of time has not slowed down one little bit.

With the kaleidoscope of seasons slowly changing to the colours of rich burgundies and reds and burnished golds and tangerine, I feel like I, too, need to get into a routine.

My children and their children are all back in routines. They have no choice. It’s time. Each and every one of them set the clocks in their homes on ‘back to school’ time.

This week, I decided to begin again with a ‘to do’ list, something I have studiously ignored this summer. I made my to do list huge because I read somewhere it’s a good idea to cut your to do list in half, and do half of the work tomorrow.

As a seasoned procrastinator, I am quite familiar with the word, tomorrow. I quite like it, actually. The quote by Mark Twain, “why put off to tomorrow, which you can do the day after tomorrow,” I like even better.

Anyway, I wrote out my to do list after wasting far too much time finding paper and a pen that worked and moved along with my day feeling happily productive and pleased with myself.

I put in a load of laundry. I took the dog for a walk. I made pastry for three pies. I checked off three things, triumphantly. Proudly.

The feeling was short-lived.

Just as Scottish poet Robbie Burns wrote, ‘the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry,’ plans of checking off more of my to do list and feeling like a productive get-er-done kind of girl got put on hold.

It took only one text message on my phone to change my plans. The text said, “Mom, I’m dropping the boys off.”

And so it came to be I wisely wasted the afternoon with three delightful boys who gave me permission to play, not work, on a lazy sun dappled afternoon in September.

We played ladder ball moving the ladders ridiculously close so we could win and we walked to the playground so we could push each other and swing high on the swings up into the cloudless blue sky, and, also, so the boys could ride on grandpa’s scooter.

“Grandma, that’s a nice dress,” the three-year-old said, fingering my tie-dyed rainbow coloured sundress, appreciatively.

This child will go a long way in this world, I think to myself. I only hope the man he will one day become will be wise enough to retain this delightful boyish charm.

It would be such a loss to all the females out there if it were to disappear.

The boys eventually went home and we lugged the ladder game into the garage and I went back into my quiet, adult living type home. My to do list was waiting.

I looked at it with something akin to disinterest, thinking I might catch the last of the sun’s falling rays out on the deck if I was lucky.

Besides, what was it that Mark Twain said about putting things off until tomorrow or even the next day?

I sigh, allow myself to relax on the deck and let the sun soak into my very pores.

I like that Mark guy and I feel we have so much in common.

Treena Mielke is the editor for the Rimbey Review

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