Friday, February 24, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Value of Life


"The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little."

~Michel de Montaigne

I totally and completely agree with de Montaigne. It's one of the reasons I really can't stand to waste a single day. There's not an infinite number of days, and if we waste one here and one there, we may find after several years that we've lived very little.

I've had an intense and mentally exhausting week. By the time I got my kids to bed Wednesday-- the third equally exhausting day in a row-- I crashed. Even though I hadn't even written the next day's post yet. I woke up Thursday morning, came into my office, sat at my computer, opened Blogger... and just stared. Then thought, "I can't do this right now. Maybe I'll comment on comments." I opened the comments, and thought "No. I seriously can't even do that." Then email. Same results. Then my WIP. Same.

I was spent.

So I showered early. Then responded to a few emails. Then woke up my kids and got them to school. I actually had the entire day to spend on writing / writing-related stuff. Instead, I responded to a couple more emails. Then some laundry. FOUR hours after I woke up, my blog post. A little housework, a little computer work. Back and forth. Before I knew it, it was time to get my kids from school, and I'd accomplished almost nothing.

Why do I bring this up? Because I should've kicked my butt into gear and forced my brain to give me some decent output no matter how exhausted I was? No. Not at all. Sometimes the thing you most need is a break. I should've taken one. Instead, I half-worked on writing. I half-worked on my house. At the end of the day, everything was only half-done, and I can't say I had recovered. It's like I got 1/4 of a normal day's work done, 1/4 a day of recovering done.... and 1/2 a day just plain GONE.

I guess my point is this: Your day is best spent when you make the best use of WHATEVER you are doing. If you are writing, give it your all. If you are working on a to-do list long enough it must've felled several trees, give it your all. If you're spending the day with loved ones, give it your all. If you are taking a break, rejuvenating, recovering-- give it your all. Whatever you do, when you give it your all, it's a day well spent.

I wish I'd remembered that yesterday.

So what are your plans today? I'm going to crit and write and NOT repeat yesterday.

Here. Have a cookie! They help you get everything done you want to get done. Because cookies are magic. (And these are the last Valentine's cookies. I promise. Until next February, when I get to go crazy again. :))

Photo Credit: BestFriendsForFrosting.com

Happy weekend! May your day be of good use.

38 comments:

Tonja said...

I am going to continue my cleaning frenzy from yesterday and get the house all sparkling so I can write for the rest of the weekend without leaving a mess for my husband. My tiny person (3 years old) is going to be my partner.

Cristina said...

I might have just licked the screen! those cookies.... I haven't had breakfast yet, so you're killing me here.

you are full of wisdom with this post, today my goal is to go play in the snow with my babies. That's it. If I accomplish anything else, it'll just be an added bonus!

JeffO said...

I'm hoping to get at least one chapter done on the great revision trail. I got slowed down earlier in the week but have managed to pick it up a bit the last two days.

Some days, you just need to take the day. Have a great weekend.

Delia said...

Okay, those cookies look amazing.

My day, well, it'll be a bit like yours yesterday. Pretty much every day is. I'm hoping that will change when my youngest kiddo goes to school in the fall. Happy weekend!

Patti said...

Yesterday I cleaned, so I'm giving myself a break from that. Hoping to do some criting today.

Kelley said...

Those are the cutest cookies ever!

And very insightful post. Give 100% to whatever it is we're doing. ESPECIALLY if its relaxing/recovering.

Cause that way you can come back that much stronger.

Have a great weekend!

BECKY said...

Peggy, I SO needed to read this, this morning. I'm feeling on the verge of exhaustion. I just wrote about my To Do List the other day, and yesterday I wrote about taking a blog-a-vacation.....Calgon, take me away!!

DRC said...

A person can only take so much. Putting yourself to work on writing that novel can be mentally exhausting. Put that together with everything you have to do in the day and then times that by a week - you're vulnerable to becoming a walking wreck. You need a break every now and then. Nothing wrong with that. We all need one...

Z said...

As others have said, this is something we all need to hear from time to time. My plan for today is to get studied up for my midterm I've been putting off to "do other homework" :)

Nicole Mc said...

Such a good reminder. I'm so guilty of half-a**ing it on so many things! It never leaves you with a good feeling...or anything really accomplished!

Bea Sempere (Denise Baer) said...

My day is done already (in Germany) but I have made the most of it so far. Worked out, made breakfast, browsed second-hand stores, did some shopping, and now I'm making dinner (orange marmalade pot roast with sweet potatoes and white asparagus). :)

Have a great day!

i'm erin. said...

Why do you tempt me with such cute cookies. I really do want one.

On a side note, I totally agree with that quote. I once watched a show about a man that planned out every minute of his day! He was uber productive. I need to be better about that. I hate when my day slips away and I've done nothing.

Take today for instance: nothing!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Those cookies look so yummy. Thankfully today I have a stash of Snickerdoodles while reading your post.

This was me last Saturday. But tomorrow I have a plan of action. (Mostly forget everything else and clean my house.)

Have a great weekend.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I found myself doing that the other day. I didn't make it through my five pages that day, but decided not to beat myself up over it.
Have a great day!

Ruth Josse said...

Oh dear, more days than I would like to admit are like yours yesterday. But I think it's because I'm trying to do too much. Why not devote my all to one or two things? Wise, Peggy. Very wise.

Carrie Butler said...

Great advice, Pegasus! No big plans today. I'm sick, so I'm adding to my agent research spreadsheet and catching up on correspondence. (I think I'm might Q-word next week!) Fun stuff.

Have a great weekend! :)

Cortney Pearson said...

Peggy, I LOVE this advice! It's so true! It really pays to take a break here and there, and while you're at it, make it a good break! This makes me think of that quote, "Whate'er thou art, act well thy part." Or the more modern: "Whatever you are, be a good one." Love this!! :D

Lan said...

It's so difficult to remember to take a break if you need it when you're run down. I know I don't do it enough so that I don't make the most of the times when I am well enough to do other things. Giving your all to something, whatever it is, is a great lesson.

Emily R. King said...

Some days I do better stopping and starting than focusing on my writing. It gives me time to decompress and analyze what I just wrote. Other days it's impossible. I guess it depends on what's distracting me from my writing. : )

Sarah Pearson said...

I'm going to spend some quality time with my Honey :-)

jabblog said...

My days have pretty much been like yours all my life. I'd like to claim I'm a dilettante but actually I'm just disorganised;-)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great post - very wise. I spend too many days like you spent Thursday - usually because I have too much to do and keep darting from one thing to another without finishing anything. But you are right! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Elodie said...

Such a wonderful and important reminder, Peggy :D
I am going to spend some quality time with hubby this afternoon and tonight. We´re going to a very nice restaurant and I´m very much looking forward to it...
Tomorrow: revising is on the schedule :D
Wishing you a wonderful weekend (and thanks for the cookie)

J. A. Bennett said...

I've been feeling the same way this week. I'm just going to snuggle in with a good book and hope my inspiration finds me!

mshatch said...

Oh, I've had days like that and you're right, it's better to just give in and re-charge so you can give your all the next day. Hope you have a relaxing weekend :)

Leigh Covington said...

Wonderful quote and I completely agree. Sometimes we really need to give ourselves a day off. If we don't do it right, we really don't recover as we should. I don't like to do it a lot, but when I need it - I need it! Great post! :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Great cookies.

I feel the same sometimes, totally unable to do what I'm supposed to do - but I sit at my computer and doodle and waste time, and it's only when it's time to pick my son up that I realise I should have just done something different. Gone for a walk, watched my favourite film, read a book.

I hope you're feeling more refreshed now.

Laura said...

Yes. Thank you. That's how to have a day well spent. A good lesson I needed to hear
Lx

tfwalsh said...

What amazing cooking... yum. Sounds like you've been very busy.

Trisha said...

This is so true, Peggy, I wholeheartedly agree! Sometimes you really do need a break, and it's best to take one completely than try to force yourself to do other things on your list - 'cause you simply don't have the resources to do them well.

Those cookies look delish! yummmm!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

If you actually plan to take a day off and do other things then there is no need to punish yourself and feel so giulty. In the long run you'll probably achieve more. So go take a break!!!

Romance Reader said...

Love the cookies, but it gave me the motivation to go and bring out the Tim Tams my mum left for me!

Riya.

Janet Johnson said...

Gah! You are killing me with the yummy cookie pictures. But I agree with you. Sometimes you need a break. But I do what you did all the time. Wish I could remember that in the moment, too. Best of luck with your writing and break taking. :)

E.D. said...

So true - but we still try to stuff it all in the day, after all, there are only 24 hours in it...

Reminds me of another quote - "It is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts." Shaw.

or - "Every man dies. Not every man really lives." Wallace (or attributed to him anyway)

Ok, I'll stop before I use up the rest of your space on this post...:-)

Paul Tobin said...

Inspiring post, well written as usual, I agree with what you say.

Maggie said...

Ok. Did you make those cookies? They are gorgeous. And I agree with you. If you're going to take a break, might as well be a real break so you feel better the next day.

Susanne Drazic said...

Stopped by to check out your blog and say hello. I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge in April. Saw you blog listed as participating. Have a great day!

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Scarlett said...

Peggy, You've shared my thoughts and struggles perfectly! It's comforting to know I'm not the only one. *g*

Wonderful quote!
Wonderfully yummy looking treats!
Ahhh, frosting.