Surprising benefits when life gets in the way.

Surprising benefits when life gets in the way.

Matthias Weinberger via Compfight

“Life gets in the way” is a frequently heard excuse for not meeting deadlines or achieving goals.

I don’t often resort to using that excuse, normally I can be much more creative at justifying non-performance or honest enough just to admit not having got myself organised.

Life really did get in the way last week.

I planned to publish my usual 4 posts on this blog, 1 on my other blog and 2 guest posts. This is only my second all week and it is 7:30 pm on Sunday night.

Two big upsets to my schedule this week, first Sue flew to the UK to visit her daughter, two grandchildren and other members of both our families, last Sunday. Today she flies to Zimbabwe to visit her and my sons, two more grandchildren and some old friends who are still in that pitiful country, hanging on despite all the problems. She will spend Christmas there and return in early January.

We had planned the trip months ago, I was mentally prepared to be a bachelor again for a few weeks and had received detailed instructions on feeding and caring for 6 cats, 1 dog, 3 horses, for operating the washing machine, drier and stove. I was also shown where the vacuum cleaner was kept and the supply of food in the pantry, refrigerator and deep freeze. I have detailed written instructions about garbage and recycling collection days.

None of that seemed too daunting when we were speaking about it before Sue left. Apart from the horses which we always feed and groom together, she handles the rest of the household with such smooth efficiency that it seems effortless.

The harsh reality of doing it all myself came as a huge shock. It all takes far more time than I anticipated.

The other big upset to my carefully planned week was that I had offered to help some neighbours with their corn harvest by operating their grain drier. With one son being very ill and bedridden and another having left the farm to pursue other interests, they are very short-handed. They had been able to get people to help with driving trucks and tractors but needed someone with experience for the drier.

When I volunteered, I expected it to be for a few hours a day for part of last week. With good weather for combining on most days, it stretched to 5 full days. I found that  being on my feet and on the go all day left me fairly tired by evening. Then cooking and the cat herding duties ate into my computer time so the writing suffered.

One of the benefits is that I lost over 2 kg (5lbs) during the week, weight that has been difficult to lose since gaining it after my heart attack 2 years ago.

Another benefit is that a change of routine, being more physically active, time away from my desk and computer all help me look at things from a different perspective. I have been able to see that some of what I have been spending time on for the last year is not in line with my strategy and is not serving me well.

A useful time for reflection and planning for the new year.

I will do a few more days helping them this week, then apart from the additional household chores, cooking and animal pampering, I will be back to normal.

Do you find that life does get in the way?  Especially at this time of year with the added distractions of Christmas.

Wishing you success.

Surprising benefits when life gets in the way.

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