What “too busy” means

As someone who has struggled to publish here consistently over the past five years, this insight from Debbie Millman hit home.

She said that “too busy” is a decision. She said it’s shorthand for “not important enough.”

I like that. In an effort to communicate honestly, I ought to exchange those terms. Whenever I’m tempted to say I’m too busy to do something, I ought to just say it’s not important enough for me to prioritize it now.

What I’m grateful for this year

When my wife and I got married, we pooled our resources and bought the cheapest can opener we could find. It was $1 at the Dollar Store.

It wasn’t long before we realized how lousy a lousy can opener can be. Within weeks, the blade dulled. Within a few months, we’d ever-so-slightly bent the grippers, making it impossible to use the crank to cut the can open. We were left to use the can opener more like a set of wire cutters, clipping cans open all the way around the lid. This took some muscle and a certain amount of finesse. If you didn’t do it right, you weren’t getting those cans opened.

It took about a year and a half, but we finally broke down and bought a new can opener. This time, we splurged on an $8.99 model, nearly nine times what the original cost us.

But we love it. Each time we open a can, we appreciate the opener’s sturdy construction. We appreciate the way the handle cradles in our hands. We appreciate the silky crank that lets us cut lids off like soft butter.

Corny, I know, but that’s what sticks in my mind. We notice it now.

This year, I’m grateful for things like this, like the original can opener, that help me notice the nicer one.

I remember learning to take a selfie

My grandma – GraMelissa – had this green, disposable camera. Remember those?

We were taking pictures, and she said, “Here, let me show you something.”

She pulled my face together with hers, turned the camera around, held it out at arms length, and snapped a photo.

Whoa, you can do that? I thought. How do you know what your picture looks like? What’s if it’s a bad picture? Then you’ve just wasted that shot. There are only 24 in that thing.

I grew up frugal. I don’t remember having a lot of disposable cameras. Taking photos itself was a novelty. Turning the camera around to snap a photo of ourselves, a photo we couldn’t see until it was developed, seemed terribly risky.

But that’s why it was fun. I’d never done that before.

Now you take a selfie and turn the camera around to look at it immediately. You just delete it if it’s no good.

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