Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Day Musings -- Work or Fun??

This recent bout of health concerns with my Daddy has caused me to consider the choices we make between work or fun.

As Daddy lay there with a million IVs, he said to me: "I wish I could just have a conversation that didn't involve what I wanted to do next. I wish I had more time to just have fun."

This has struck a chord with me.

As a Puritan based society, we value work. Goodness, our forefathers didn't even celebrate Christmas because they felt they should be working and not having fun. Hasn't that kind of thinking continued until today?

"Get your chores done and then you can play!" we tell our children.

"I can't time off from work. I have too much to do!" we tell our co-workers.

"I'd love to (fill-in-the-blank), but I have to get (fill-in-the-blank) done," we say to our friends.

Years ago, Erma Bombeck wrote a dear column about what she would do if she had a chance to live again. Remember, she was dying of cancer, and there is something about that diagnosis that makes our frame of life much clearer:

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

© Erma Bombeck


  1. Our thoughts were the same this week! :)

    I remember Erma's article and have appreciated it so much through the years (and to think she probably was more relaxed than the average person).

    I learned a big lesson when my MIL died in a car crash at age 85. She had gorgeous vintage linens and such that she had been saving to use... at age 85?... and most had to be thrown away because they were falling apart at the creases.

    I inherited her beautiful china that she inherited from her mother. I rarely remember her using it (mostly at Easter) and she didn't even display it in her china cabinet.

    I keep the plates in my kitchen cabinets to use once in awhile. Although to be honest, my "go to" plates are red Rubbermaid plastic because the guys like to eat in the family room a lot... still... the pretty dishes are there to use. :)

    We will both say yes more often.

  2. I'm hearing your daddy's heart.............

    Thanks so much for sharing Erma's letter. I remember reading it in years past. It's definitely worth a repeat!

    So what small change will you do this week to make that more a part of your life?

    Let's see.... I love to laugh, I'm going to deliberately laugh more this week..... I do see the funny side of things, but it's so easy to get bogged down in the 'must do'....... so for me it's more laughing!

    So I'll be sure to come and visit because you make me laugh.... and that's a gift I treasure from you VERY MUCH!!!

    Hugs and blisses.............


  3. Good question.... Iced coffee on the porch at 3?? That would be bliss! LOL Finish reading at least one book -- I have four going right now.... Finish a pair of socks or two... Watch the moon go down in the morning and up at night. Yeppers. Those are good things, don't you think?? And, I want to get my feet in the river. I have a hankering to go wading! :) Come join me, won't you?

  4. Quick corrections -- Erma died of complications after a liver transplant. She did have cancer and a mastectomy earlier in life, but she was, after treatment, thankfully cancer free. She also wrote a very poignant book about children diagnosed with cancer ("I want to grow up, I want to go to Boise").

    This column, also, was written in 1979, 17 years before she died. She wrote it in response to a reader's question. The column that resulted was published as a lovely little gift book called "Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream." I recommend it highly.

    Still, her words are poignant and have been a source of comfort to millions. Maybe it's even more amazing that she wrote this when not faced with a health crisis. Such perspective. Best wishes to you and your family.


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!