The Dividends of Drifting

I apologize for the late post today; I was having technical difficulties. And now, a confession: I wrote this post to justify my upcoming behavior. For the next three weeks, I’ll be on vacation: letting my mind roam at will like a free-range chicken. Doing so will make it impossible for Aunt Beulah to post on October 6 and 13; but she will return on October 20: rested, renewed, and eager to engage with her readers again.Top view of woman sitting in veranda

It’s foolish to spend every minute of our leisure time imitating The Little Engine That Could.

When our passion for golfing, painting, fishing, spelunking, volunteering, or Words With Friends begins to feel like a job, it helps to take a break, listen to ourselves breathe, and drift aimlessly — though we should never stop spending time with our families and brushing our teeth.

Because I believe a body in motion tends to stay in motion, I exercise every day, varying the vigor of my activities. I also give myself permission to abandon my exercise routine on occasion. When I do so, whether for a few days or weeks, my rested body rewards me with increased motivation and effort when I pull on my exercise clothes and go at it again.

My passion for writing makes it my most absorbing and time-consuming activity, but I regularly abandon it for hours or days at a time. Doing so allows my mind to drift, to mull over problems, to reboot my ability to create.

When I stop writing to eat Oreos, ride my bike, or scratch my head and stare, my subconscious continues to consider issues, ideas, and techniques. Then, sooner of later, while I’m mindlessly deadheading my geraniums or cooking dinner, new ideas occur: I’ll know how to rephrase an awkward sentence, reorganize a piece for better flow, or handle a tricky transition. Perfect synonyms, apt metaphors, and future topics come to me easily when I stop pursuing them.

I also like to put aside a blog post or column I’ve finished and forget it for several days or even weeks. When I look at it again, I find weaknesses I didn’t sense when working on the piece continuously. My refreshed eyes are more discerning eyes.

No matter what activities we pursue for entertainment, betterment, or fulfillment, drifting pays dividends.

And I’m off to collect a few.

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33 thoughts on “The Dividends of Drifting

  1. Auntie dear, I hope you are holidaying in joy. My co-worker just returned from Northern B.C., with a rampant scourge of scabies, courtesy of a nasty motel. Thought I’d share this with you for a guffaw while away, should you need one. Fine post, thank you Janet.

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    • I’ve never had scabies, but always thought it a descriptive name. I try to avoid nasty hotels, but understand bedbugs take up residence in even the poshest places. If I need a guffaw while traveling, Sheila, I’ll reread some of your Godfrey stories.

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      • Imagine the doctor telling you, my dear it is Sarcoptic Mange- or Scabies to be polite, I have never had it, and pray I never do. We are on the verge of quarantine. Godfrey on holiday, I am chuffed, thank you.

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      • As a pre-teen, I was once infested with a red rash that spread from my forehead to my face. My siblings claimed it was jungle rot and warned each other not to touch me, which made my life quite pleasant with no arm twisting or punching.

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  2. Spelunking? Janet have a wonderful time. I also tried to comment on your quotes today, with your humorous anecdotes. Loved them all. I agree with coming back to writing and seeing the faults, I’m doing that continuously with my writing, but my posts don’t get a second look. Have fun! ❤

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    • I will have fun, Barbara. During my technology troubles yesterday, between the efforts of my IT expert and me, the quotes post was inadvertently posted too early and then deleted too late. You’ll probably get a second look at it and chance to comment later.

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  3. The Little Engine that Could, Words with Friends, and “we should never stop spending time with our families and brushing our teeth” < my mother's words exactly!

    Have a wonderful vacation, dearie, and spend some time laying in the grass reading some good books (that often helps ease my mind). Looking forward to your next post! 🙂

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  4. I need to take some of these as suggestions for myself. I often write my posts in what I consider to be a rush. Leaving for a while and coming back to them is always a good idea. I hope you have a wonderful adventure while you are on vacation.

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    • Actually Tamara, I think the power of your writing is the force, rush, and passion of your words. Thank you for you wishes for a wonderful adventure. It has started well as we spend a few days with our children and grandchildren.

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  5. Couldn’t have said it better if I tried! Personally, I’m one to sneak in a nap while my cats are napping in the afternoon. I know you’re “not supposed to”, but I chalk it up to my Italian lineage and blame my Mother’s genes for it!!! Catch ya later, Gator! Enjoy! I love this time of year! PS I have to figure out why you’re not coming up on my “list of follows”…it’s weird but I hafta get at your site manually….any whoooo, have fun, Kiddo!!! Hugs!! Lucie 🙂

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