Our Life

HUMAN DOING – Life with a script

Making compost in November, 2001
Making compost in November, 2001

I measure my life in check marks on my “To Do” list. I walked to the grocery store, I wrote in my journal, I chopped onions, I vacuumed. Sometimes I wonder – “Am I a human being, or a human doing?”

I learned the art of staying busy years ago from Julia, a gentle and wise woman, who had generously offered me a room until spring.

I was having a bad year. Teenage hormones had overwhelmed me and things had not worked out at home, but I was determined to finish my last year of high school. I gratefully moved in with Julia, her three children, two golden retrievers and numerous cats.

It didn’t take long for her to do something about my depression. Julia appeared in the doorway of my bedroom and said, “Feeling sorry for yourself is only going to make you feel worse. Find something to do.” Looking around the room, she noticed a torn throw rug. “You can sew the rug. Stay busy and you won’t have time to feel bad.”

I took her advice, and before long that big, old house was humming. I cleaned out the cat boxes, baked cookies, painted the walls – I was always doing something. The more I accomplished, the better I felt.

That spring, thanks to Julia, I graduated from high school and moved on, confident in my new role as a “doer.”

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.