Sunday, July 17, 2016


Surely “cringeworthy” is a word, is it not?  Well.  It should be.  Because it is the only word – a word that is no word at all – to describe this Sunday.  I have mucked up my fancy-schmancy schedule, violating my Sunday “Sunday” rules.  It could also be the day of embracing the 80/20 rule of life.  Ugh.  I despise, with all intensity, the 80/20 rule.  In fact, that rule seems to violate everything I value. (Picture me, arms crossed in front, pouting as I state this fact ala six year old style).  I am quite certain, I declare, that it does not work and is ruinous to all that is life.

Hmm.  Except that I am wrong.

I have found out that being fifty-one is not all that different from being any other age except that upkeep and recovery of ones physical shell takes a bit more effort.  In my twenties I could stay up all night, for two nights in a row to study.  I could waitress every shift that I could possibly find an opening from Friday through Sunday morning, then recover Sunday afternoon.  I could dye my hair, cut my hair, stay up those crazy hours and still look and feel reasonably well.  

At fifty-one?  No way.  So, after more recent years of taking care of my own hair I decided to give in also to the notion that an occasional trip to a salon is a necessity.  Cringeworthy note one:  For this particular appointment – truthfully – I have been a. fifteen minutes late to one appointment and b. rescheduled it about three different times.  I am not proud of the manner in which I treated her time.  So, when my very talented stylist offered a Sunday noon appointment, I jumped at the chance.  There went my declaration of the sacredness of Sundays.  (cringeworthy note two).

But, a funny thing happened.  My son went with me.  I encouraged him to wander the mall with no destination and no particular goal.  Just wander.  When was the last time he did that, I wondered.  He is of the age and has always been trustworthy and no reason not to just tell him, “go”.  And, he did.  Midway through the hour and a half appointment, he texted me, “Mom, I’m in the food court.”  I thanked G-d for our modern technologies with the ease of communication.

I did the same, from the seat of the salon, the comings and goings, of the clientele.  It was Sunday, after all!  But it seemed to be a family destination.  I sat there, with my foil capped head, like a strange robotic owl.

For over an hour I sat.  Watching. Listening.  But I do not know how it happened.  I do not know what thoughts led to what thoughts.  I do not know what changed.  I wish I did.  I pride myself on thought and mindfulness.  But I truly cannot.  Not this time.

As my son wandered and watched, I sat foil wrapped, listening and watching.  There was nothing magnificent nor anything magical.  The best I can conjure up was at one point I wondered about the odd light bulbs in the ceiling.  I watched as a toddler got his first haircut.  I listened to the little girl who came to thank my stylist for curling her hair.

And that is when it happened.  Out of nowhere, my whole business plan with decisions, plans, and mostly the ‘how’s’.  It all made sense.  At least to me.  

But the best part:  Was listening to my son’s stories.  Those, I apologize, are private.  But the words are true:  “All those who wander are not lost.”


Ugh.  Double ugh.  Later, after hours of doing other things and more celebrating of my birthday (I found my brain churning in a restaurant, among the voices around me, watching the sunlit patterns on the floor….thinking…), I tried ripping apart my plan.  Hmm.  Seemed to stick.  So how am I going to do this?

Blast it!  80/20…  Now, it is not to say I won’t try to make things really, really good, but I look at myself, thinking, realistically, “Steph, you have stacks of papers left from preparing your taxes.”  Eighty percent of cleaning it is better than zero percent not doing anything.  I can no longer wait.  I have no way to prepare for excellence except to aim for eighty percent.

Or is it twenty percent?  You see, that is the problem!  I don’t even think like that. What does that even mean – 80/20?  What does it even mean? (Again, imagine a defiant foot stomp there.)  Truth is, it doesn’t even matter.  Because at the time when I am fighting in my head about what the disgusting value of 80/20 means to all of humanity, I am…..putting the dishes away.  And then I folded clothes.  And…. I might have even organized a few papers too.  So, either way I might have 20% of a clean house at 80% cleanliness or the other way around.  I am not really sure….

Now, I laugh to myself… I am not even sure that the 80/20 rule that I read about had anything to do with getting things done.  No, I think it was statistics on the economy.  Well.  So it goes.  Economic principles?  Hmmm.  Sounds like a good theory for life.  Perfection? No.

But, to have the chance to change the cringeworthy of one’s life?  I will definitely try 80/20, protesting every moment at the silliness of it all.


the trunk
80/20 might result in some surprises.. He left the trunk for me – a beautiful piece from the Far East. I opened it to remove his china to discover that years ago I had packaged the set in vinyl cases.  Hmm.  Easier job than I imagined.  A surprise?  My grandmother’s chenille bedspread.  Dear Lord, Please forgive me for being such a ninny and my gratitude that the concerns I have are just that:  Concerns.

I wish, sometimes, that I was discovering a recipe for world peace or something along that order.  Instead, I am…..Just me.



Postscript note:  It all sounds so cocky, so self-assured, does it not?  I am always, very scared of failing.  So much so, that at one point I would not climb a ladder because I did not know how.  I did not touch a saw because I did not know how.  I continually admit to myself that I really do not know how to do a lot of things without any emotional attachment or emotional measure of the activity.   So, the 80/20 rule is rather comforting.  “Go ahead, Steph.  Fail.  Now what?”  80/20 is easier on the “do overs”. Wink.

#onewomansjourney #thebeautiful journey #thebrickdandelion #cringeworthy #imjustme #80/20 #ilovechenille

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