Better to wear out?

One of my granny’s favourite sayings, as relayed by my mother was, ‘It’s better to wear out than rust out’. Thinking about this in the light of the past few months, I have started to wonder if this is true. It seems like heresy to doubt the word of my granny, but on the other hand rusting out sounds a lot more peaceful! I can envisage myself as an old car sitting peacefully in somebody’s back garden for years – not ours as the Residents’ Association would definitely take exception to it – and gradually rusting away until I become part of the landscape.

Winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

But I haven’t quite reached that stage yet! It’s just that I seem to have quite suddenly lost my fear of standing still, and realised that it isn’t necessarily good for me to wear myself out doing things I am no longer enjoying or even doing properly. I think this idea goes hand in hand with my decision to cut back on my working hours, which in turn came from the knowledge that I wasn’t really doing very much useful work on Fridays anyway but just going there and making myself too tired to do anything at the weekend either. I would have imagined this was the natural consequence of extreme old age, except that I think people quite a bit younger than me also have this problem!

Only two weeks into my new routine, and I already feel much better in all sorts of ways, some unpredictable. I knew I would have more time to write, but this part of my plan got off to quite a rocky start when I found editing my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel was like wading through treacle. This happens sometimes with editing. It took me about two years to edit my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, to which this is the sequel. I was sort of hoping this one wouldn’t take two years to edit. In fact my writing plan for the year only lets me edit until the end of February, and in the plan I am writing the first draft of a novella at the same time, which isn’t going to happen either.

Housework, on the other hand, is going relatively well. By this I mean that I’m actually doing some of it, as opposed to the none of it I was doing before. Only last weekend I vacuumed at least enough cat fur off the stairs to stuff a cushion, if not a duvet, and I’ve now got round to noticing the cobwebs and picturing myself dusting them away, although fortunately the duster is currently buried under a pile of plastic bags under which I can also picture a gigantic spider lurking, so I don’t actually have to do anything yet. One of the cats, who obviously shares my imaginative powers, has taken to winding me up by scrabbling around in particular corners as if hunting something. But I won’t believe it until I see the evidence.


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