I was seven years old in 1943 when Oklahoma took center stage on Broadway. Daily the radio aired its rousing song “All or Nothing.” I quickly memorized the lyrics and belted them out to the chickens on the farm where we’d moved the previous year.
That song became a life force within me. I’d have all or nothing. I’d do all or nothing. I’d throw myself into life all the way or not at all.
I soon discovered the perils of being immoderate. I was seven then; I’m seventy-five now. Throughout those intervening years, catapulting myself into every new adventure often proved tiring. You’d think I’d have learned by now how to pace myself.
Yet still I struggle.
I began to blog in late May. Then in late July I discovered the joy of reading the blogs others posted. Once again—all or nothing. With great anticipation I daily read one blog after another and commented—at length—on all of them. One hour in July. Two in August. By October, three hours a day. Then one hour or more spent responding to the comments on my own blog.
Soon each day was a race to write my own postings, respond to comments, read the blogs of others, and comment on them. I needed to fit all that around the medical therapy I’d been during since mid-April. It took nearly three hours out of my day three times a week.
Noah, Elisa, Laz, and I in our home in Stillwater.
Besides that, I was also trying to fit into the day the activities that give me abiding pleasure: doing my morning pages as described in The Artist’s Way; completing exercises for brain training by branching my dendrites; walking; reading mysteries; moving within the peace of Tai Chi Chih; completing a novel about first-century Palestine; enjoying the antics of the three cats with whom I live; meditating; cooking; going on an occasional outing with friends; reading, editing, and copyediting manuscripts for clients.
Yet blogs entranced me. Some made me laugh; others made me think; all of them introduced me to new friends. Soon, blogging began to cunningly nudge aside the other activities I longed to do each day.
By mid-October I became desperate for space. I’d been working since late August on an editing project to earn discretionary money to supplement my social security. The week leading up to October 22 was crunch time.
About mid-month, I also began to experience worrisome side effects from the therapy. Moreover, I was trying to learn how to publish a Kindle e-book and how to become an Amazon bookseller so that I might sell the 670 copies I have of A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story.
Something had to give.
So I took a two-week hiatus from the world of blogging. During the first week, I completed the project I’d been working on for the Minnesota client. During the second week I saw four movies—The Adjustment Bureau, Contagion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and The Ides of March. I read. I slept. I meditated.
Friends who have known me for decades say that I wouldn’t recognize Moderate if I saw her in a police lineup. The whole idea of being moderate eludes me. When will I meet her and say, “Oh, I know you. You’re the one who keeps me from jumping off into space”?
That’s the problem you see. I think that jumping off into space is an adventure. Being immoderate has so often been fun.
But the stress of it may have exacerbated my Meniere’s. Moreover, being immoderate often riddles my mind with indecision.
What to do? What to do?
For now, I’ve decided to have a life. What that will mean for blogging is that I’m going to give my reading and commenting just one and a half hours a day. No more.