Dear Nana Observations

What’s My Line

Nana wasn’t lazy, I tell myself as I lurch from task to task, slogging my way through an endless to do list. Nana wasn’t lazy, but I just have to get outside for a walk. As soon as the woods closed in around me, my vision began to blur. Dang, here I was feeling sorry for myself again.

In theory, Christmas marks the season of peace and joy, but in practice we tend to set high bars for ourselves. I know I’m not the only one trying to pack too much into the last week of the year. I feel ensnared by commitments, tangled in party preparations.

I call upon Nana’s ear. She will listen to my woes without laughing and have something wise to say. Deeper into the woods I plunge, Nana at my side. Not all of my day is work, I begin, but I feel as if it is. This walk in the woods with you isn’t work, this is play. I enjoyed thirty minutes on facebook this morning and an hour corresponding with my email buddies. That wasn’t work, either.

And then it hits me. Nana wasn’t always on her feet, working. Nana napped in her chair by the phone in the afternoons and never missed “All in the Family” and “What’s My Line” on TV. When I shared her home we’d sit at the dining room table after dinner with a bottle of plum wine, relaxing and talking about anything that came to mind. Turns out, Nana was not the workaholic I’ve come to measure myself against.

I decide to explore the next level. What’s really troubling me is a task I wasn’t able to master. It had seemed like an easy problem but the solution eluded me. And then this morning Bob made a few transactions solving the problem I’d spent six hours trying to get my head around. His MBA and business career came to his aid in a way my horse, restaurant and clerical experience didn’t.

Some things are not possible. I couldn’t arm wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger and win, for example. Nor could I swim the English Channel. I don’t have the mind for tax law but I’m smart enough to know when to say, “I can’t do this.” Not, “I don’t want to,” or “I’m too lazy to learn how to,” but “I can’t.”

Best not to attempt those things that are beyond you. You make your choices and live them without guilt. And then you sit in your favorite chair and relax.

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.

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