Deborah and I watched Julie & Julia the other night. If you haven't seen it, do: It's a very sweet, funny movie, and very well worth your time. For those who haven't seen it, it's the parallel stories of a bored diplomat's wife in Paris (Julia Child) who learns French cooking as something to keep her occupied, and a frustrated writer/government secretary (Julie Powell) who decides to work through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and blog about the process.
In both lives, separated by many decades, there's the question, What should I do with myself? and the relatively straightforward answer, What do you want to do? What are you good at? Each attacks the challenge with gusto.
It's a question that hits close to home, for nearly everyone, but also here. Deborah, especially, has been vacillating on the question of what to do with herself. My weak admonition — usually on my way out the door — is "Be amazing."
Of course, that gets interpreted in various ways. I leave it open-ended: washing all the dishes is amazing; so is calling up friends to organize a get-together, trying new recipes, teaching Fiona to play the piano. They all count. The stuff that doesn't count? It's the stuff that fills up most of our time in between planned activities — little games, Facebook, idle clicking through channels, blogging (no!), things that don't advance the cause of anything. Now, don't get me wrong — we all need down time. But we need up time, too. How many of us while away the hours and never go do something amazing? I know I'm guilty.
I wish it were that easy.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.