I go back and forth on whether I am a patient person. My default mode is to do things quickly and move things along, but I can stick with things for the long haul (book writing, for instance, or with a daily discipline such as my Shakespeare project).
However, over and over again, I do see that time — as in, having lots of it — is the secret ingredient in many things. I wrote earlier this week about my inner editor working something out at 3 a.m. I had written a draft of something a while ago, knew it wasn’t working but didn’t really see how I was going to fix it. I had a reasonable amount of time before I had to do anything with it, though, and sure enough, some fixes eventually presented themselves.
In a completely unrelated matter, this is what is happening with Project Potty Training. My youngest kid is starting preschool this fall. He meets the 2 years 8 months cut off and he will really enjoy the social environment. But it is a preschool, not a daycare, which means that he needs to be potty trained — and 2 years 8 months is a bit on the young side for what my kids have managed to achieve. So…I started early and have just been giving it a lot of time. Things were very sporadic in terms of potty success at the beginning. But now, about two weeks before school starts, he seems to mostly get it. And we’ve still got two weeks to keep practicing!
(Side note: I bought a lot more 2T pants with elastic waist bands. I realized somewhere in this that there is more to being independently potty trained than just actually going — you have to get your own pants down and up too!)
Anyway, I know some people claim to thrive on tight deadlines, and get a rush from doing things last minute. It does have a focusing effect. But not having intense time pressure allows you to keep working at stuff, and take a break, and come back to it, often with new insights and fresh energy. I think this is why I get frustrated sometimes when my work hours get curtailed a lot. I like time to play around with stuff.
In other news: I am potty training one child and signing another up for a defensive driving course! This is what happens when you have five kids very far apart — and maybe is a related point to time being a variable to consider. Starting my family on the somewhat youngish side meant I had five kids without them being totally stacked up on top of each other. Babies are challenging whenever, but it feels like having five kids under the age of 8 or so would be more challenging than this version….
My Medium column this week looked at How to Make Good Times Last a Little Longer. Long time readers know I love the concept of “lingering” — it was even a chapter in Off the Clock — and our long summers that last into September always conjure up that word for me. I can see some early evidence of fall and yet it is still summer. This year we don’t have any big Labor Day trips planned, and in the past we’ve sometimes been places (Colorado, Maine) where the altitude or latitude makes early September truly feel like fall. Even so…
(That said, the kids are getting a bit feral at this point in the summer. They will be ready for school to start. I bought new backpacks for the 10-year-old and 7-year-old — a camo LL Bean one for the 2nd grader and a pink sporty Adidas number for my daughter.)
Before Breakfast episodes this week included tips on “How to help yourself relax” and “In praise of book reports.” It turns out that writing the equivalent of a grade school book report (here’s what I remember happened…) is a good way to remember content!
We have cousins visiting this weekend so there will be a lot of kids in this house! Plus I’ll attempt a long run and meeting a friend for drinks.
Photo: Late summer flowers