An old mom with triplets plus one and an elderly mom to take care of. It's a party all the time.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Tao of caring
1. not paying enough attention to what one does
2. not exact, accurate, or thorough
3. done or said heedlessly or negligently; unconsidered
4. not caring or troubling; having no care or concern; unconcerned
My husband and I had a 'discussion' last night about carelessness. We didn't agree what it meant and so I'm still thinking about it today. I refuse to be called careless. Sure, I'm a klutz, distractible, a multi-tasker who sometimes needs to slow down, but not careless. Because my definition is #4 up there and some of #3. I think it's a pretty negative thing to not care. It sounds like I'd be running through life kicking over vases and smashing my car into the car in the parking space in front of me who took up 1 and 1/2 spots with his tiny Yugo while I try to fit into what remains of my parking space.
That's so not me. I spend endless hours of the day caring 'too much.' I agonize over peoples opinions, try to anticipate their needs, smooth the wrinkles out, clear the pathways and hope that no one ever has to ask me to do something for them that I haven't already done. When someone is waiting for my parking space? I haul arse to get out of that spot, even if it means spilling coffee on myself in the rush to stick it in the holder. If I knock into someone while passing them in a store? You can bet I apologize, even if it's their fault. (And can I ask why people don't care to move out of MY way once in a freakin' while? I mean, I am not large in diameter by any means. My purse is of average size. Give me a few inches!)
But the endless bruises on my thighs, shoulders and sometimes head gives my klutziness away. I consider it an inherited trait as my mom couldn't ride a bike without wiping out at least once every time. And it was always when she borrowed my bike. Not that she'd tell me she'd fallen on my bike again, I'd just walk out the next day to ride it to school and the handle brake would be knocked over to the inside of the handlebar. Hmm. Wonder how that happened? Anyway, I consider the klutz also to be due to my multitasking mind. I'm usually off to do something rather quickly when I do run into the baby gate/doorknob/doorframe/nothing or trip over the steps/doorjamb/completely flat floor. Does multitasking make me careless? I don't think so.
My husband, on the other hand, has cultivated a personality characteristic that I think took him years. I'm not sure you are necessarily born 'careful.' I think he chose, early on in life, to carry himself so carefully through the world that he is not only highly unlikely to ever trip or run into anything, but he is also preternaturally quiet when moving through a 1914 house where every floorboard squeaks. I respect this talent. But I think it takes a lot of effort. By now it's second nature to him, but I imagine at the beginning he had to think all the time about where he put his feet, where his arms and hands were as he walked, how to navigate tight spaces and whether every hair on his head was in place or not. (Just kidding!) Just thinking about that exhausts me.
I won't do that and in a way I respect my life choice. I run through life talking a bit too loud, feeling free, laughing at my bruises, arms flying in whatever direction. It doesn't mean that when I break something or dent the minivan for the 715th time on the stupid narrow garage door opening I don't feel bad. I do feel bad. It sucks to have dents. If I break something truly important like an family heirloom I do agonize. But I can tell you that if it's a hole in the wall that can be repaired, a glass that can be replaced or heck, even a nice object that can't be replaced, I will not be beating myself up for days. Life is to be enjoyed. Houses are to be lived in. Things are to be used and sometimes broken. And apparently, minivans are mine to destroy. Life goes on. Does that sound careless?