cafe mama

entering the mind of the married mom

Do what you can't help - July 29, 2004

Ever since seeing Paul Graham speak yesterday at Powell's, I've been thinking about my favorite quote from the day: "If you don't know what to do with your life, do what you can't help."

So what is it that I can't help? It's a compelling question. I've mulled it over and I think I can't help most of what I do. I can't help thinking about businesses. I can't help getting involved. I can't help writing. I can't help running and biking. I can't help being creative, whatever the flavor of the day is, photography, sewing, knitting, cooking, drawing, cutting and pasting. I can't help getting information. I can't help doing fun, generous things for my friends.

No wonder I'm an overachiever. I just can't help myself. I have to fit it all in. My day job. My neighborhood involvement. My many, many blogs. My track coaching. My recipes project. etc. etc. etc.

My answer really isn't a very good one, because it doesn't crystallize my life's purpose, much. I can't help any of the things I do, except, maybe, cleaning the bathroom, or watching TV.

I have a lot of really interesting, really massive goals in my life. Some of them would change the world. Some of them would just change my street. But that doesn't make it any less overwhelming. I was driving down Powell with my husband tonight, and I asked him, "how am I going to do it? How am I going to clean up this street?"

What should I do? How do I manage a life where I can't help all the things I do? When am I ever going to get my taxes done and my closet organized? To my poor husband, I say: honey, I can't help it. I'm sorry.'ll thank me someday.