Last week, on my radio show ‘A Woman’s Guide To Everything’ on Blog Talk Radio, my co-host Deborah Thorne said something interesting about a full plate. She has actually said many interesting things, but this one I wrote down and told her I was stealing it. We were talking about Christmas decorations. She and her husband share a love of the season, and it’s ability to inspire in a person’s heart the wish to express thoughts of the holidays through lights, and figures from fairytales. These are placed on roofs and lawns, and as they are collected over the years, can gradually take an entire week to arrange.
After this holiday, Deborah and her husband have decided to sell all the decorations in an already set-up ‘yard’ sale. Their kids are grown and they’ve decided that decorating on such a grand scale is an unnecessary task. When I added my own reminiscences of decorating endeavors from years past, and how little I feel compelled to do it these past few years, she responded with the phrase, ‘When you take something off your plate, you make room for something else’.
That struck a chord with me naturally. I’m a writer and a blogger, always on the lookout for inspiration. This really is an inspired quote. We so often feel compelled to continue with traditions that are no longer significant. Or we feel guilty about doing or not doing routines that have somehow become unnecessary. I can’t remember the last time, the very last time, I read to my son before bedtime. I wish I had noted it; it is more than ten years ago, now, and of course I wouldn’t be reading to him today, a young man of twenty.
That was a routine of love and of the heart, and was one of those little dramas of ordinary life that makes life so un-ordinary. How little we appreciate those routines! But Deborah was right; no matter how beloved a routine is, when it no longer is part of your priority list, you can stop doing it, take a full plate and make it more manageable, more digestible in your daily routine.
No matter how we cherish a routine, we can find something pleasurable or productive to take it’s place. Spend time developing that exercise routine, or baking those fancy cakes, or writing for a blog, now that your kids don’t need so much of your time. If a routine is not something you want to do anymore, excise it from your life if you can, or delegate it to one of those children on whom you’ve spent so much loving time.
Make room on your plate so you have room for other things.