Some incredible things seem to happen as you get older. When I was in my early twenties I had very little patience for small children. They were always making noise making a mess and demanding attention. I had all kinds of patience for work related things, if we were having a meeting on what caused our chemical reaction times to drift more than a full standard deviation outside the control limits, you had 100% of my attention.
Things have changed.
I’m 56 years old and people are wasting my time on a daily basis. I have all kinds of patience for my Grandkids and even enjoy sitting back and looking at the mess they created after they have left. Those little hand prints on the sliding glass door can stay. They remind me of those adorable little hands that reach up when they want to be held or to read a story. The blocks, cars and dolls will take all of 45 seconds to toss back in the toy box. I’ll do this because I understand half of the fun of playing with them is taking them all out.
On the flip side at 56 I have no patience at all for non-value added interruptions in my life. Things like being stuck in an airport for whatever the excuse is this week. Standing in a line of more than 3 people at a store to check out. (Number 1 on my list of 10 reasons why I refuse to shop at Walmart) Waiting in any line at a restaurant if I’m dining alone. And of course, work generates a list 3 times as long of annoying non-value added nonsense but I won’t get into the details of those. I love the part of my job that I was hired to do and have very little patience for N-VAN. (Non-Value Added Nonsense)
I guess my real problem is the N-VAN is winning out over the things I now have found the patience to enjoy. I’d love to find more time to read and write. I can sometimes even feel a sense of relaxation come across my entire body when I am typing at full speed and my brain is operating sometimes two paragraphs ahead of what I’m writing about.
Then the stinking cellphone rings or buzzes, yet another one of those calls or emails from someone who thinks I own the company I work for and wants to lend me a half a million dollars because we apparently have good credit! I search the history of calls and emails along with the list of numbers I have blocked. Forty-Seven in the last 15 days! If I combine them I know it’s at least 47 minutes of N-VAN!
Forty-Seven minutes might not seem like a lot of time but let me get right to the root of this issue. I’m 56 years old, I’m an engineer who deals with statistics on a regular basis. The average lifespan for a male in the United States is 76. That’s now less than 20 years away! I’m 7,200 days or 173,000 hours from the mean (average). If your planning on taking one of my hours, from here on out you better have a damn good reason! I’m officially at war with N-VAN!
On the lighter side, I sure as hell appreciate the time I have left. My list of things I’d like to do continues to grow only to be managed by the list of things I need to do. The need to do list is one that takes serious thought to prioritize because as we all know the list of things we need to do is constantly rearranged by those who believe they have something you need to do. Having been involved with the planning and scheduling of work all my life I have my own vision of this process.
It’s kind of like a car repair center.
The first bay is the emergency “need to do” repair center. The stuff that belongs here is given priority over everything else and because I’ve grown to hate lines I’m good at giving these things the attention they need. If your need to do is in this is sent to this bay you are one happy customer!
The next bay to the right the approved for completion bay, as soon as the emergency work is completed I’m working on the approved for completion stuff. I like this stuff better than the emergency stuff because I get to pick everything that goes into this bay.
The third bay is known as “when I get around to it”. This of course doesn’t mean I don’t ever intend to do it. It’s just an indication that I’m going to finish most of the things I like or want to do first and then I might get around to working on these things. Cleaning out my closet for example, I know I need to do it, I got stuff hanging in there I haven’t worn in 2 years.
There is no last bay in my need to do garage. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things parked outside the garage making faces at me. This is where I send the N-VAN stuff.
“Hello… Oh yes Mr. N-VVAN, welcome to my need to do garage! If you could just go wait outside someone will be right with you!” I quietly laugh to myself as Mr. N-VAN walks out the door shaking his head. I’d like to send him the 25 year old who just started his need to do garage up the street. I understand there is quite a line at the place but he might get some attention.
On a more interesting note, I just completed one of those life expectancy calculations and it clearly shows that parking the N-VANS outside my garage reduced my stress level and added 50,000 hours! I breathe a sigh of relief and look out my door with all those little hand prints. Washing it would be N-VAN!
Life is way better than good….