I gave up New Year’s resolutions. If I really want to do something, I’ll do it. And if I don’t want to do it, I’ll find an excuse not to do it, and I’ll do something else instead. That’s usually what it is.

For instance, it would be great to write everyday. I love writing. You’d think if a person loved doing something, she’d just do it, right? Not necessarily. On weekdays, I’ve got twenty “free” minutes in the morning between getting one child on the bus and waking the other one. Thanks to my morning cuppa, I’m wide awake at that point. It would be an ideal time to write, right? Unless I don’t. I’ll see a pile of dishes or clothes and think I should really do that first before indulging in writing time. Then the writing never happens. There are always more should do’s.

Are these excuses? Probably. They are not emergencies. A laundry emergency? I don’t think so. My children have never left the house naked. A dish washing emergency? Nope. We always eat on clean plates. So why am I letting these seemingly urgent chores usurp time that I could use doing something I so desperately love? It’s a good question because it has a hard answer. And by “hard” I don’t mean difficult. I mean hard like a rock. Like when you press your face up against it and see it for what it really is, it hurts. When I’m not writing it’s because, ready for this, I don’t want to. What? But you just said you love writing. I know. But if I wanted to do it that badly, I would do it.

I’m convinced that when it comes down to it, people do what they want to do. Even though it seems like a paradox, I must want to fold those clothes more than I want to write that story. Otherwise, I would choose differently. It’s surprising, I know. I’m surprised myself. But that is the conclusion I’ve reached. The question then becomes why would I choose menial housework over creative venture? Maybe it’s because I’m an adult, and I’m acting like one. Being responsible.

Conversely, I believe that people don’t do what they truly do not want to do. You could argue that your child doesn’t want to do his English homework, but he does it anyway. That is an act of the will. He realizes that the consequences of obedience far outweigh those of rebellion, and he wills himself to comply. He makes a decision. Deliberately choosing the “responsible” thing prepares him for the more weighty responsibilities of adulthood.

But what about me? To write or not to write? Maybe that’s not the question. Maybe the question is how much. Surely I can fit it into my day. Yes, I love it, but I don’t have the luxury of endless time to be spent at the keyboard. That’s all right, though. I type fast. And I do have those twenty minutes in the morning. A good place to start.






About Amy Nicholson

A busy wife and mother pausing to ponder the beauty and complexity of life and share it with words.
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1 Response to Do

  1. Dick Benton says:

    Nicely done, Amy. You have addressed a feature of the psyche. it proves beyond doubt that cognitive choices are always available. What you do and the decisions you make in general are a function of need and want, need being responsibility and want being desire, both powerful anchoring emotions.


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