I walk into the room all cheery and sit down, front and center. My notebook and pen are at the ready, all set to absorb new information from my local writer’s group that might edge me closer to the best seller list. Then the speaker speaks. “What? What did you say?” Did somebody press the fast forward button? In my ears her words are all streaming into one mumbly, rapid fire run-on sentence. I catch maybe one word out of ten, and pretty soon the droning turns into a white noise that could put me to sleep. Maybe I need to clean out my ears, but no, I am not alone in my reaction…

The woman to my right has apparently been bored before because she quickly digs out an actual coloring book and colored pencils from her bag. This is a first, but watching her doodle gives me something to do. The man on my left starts fidgeting in his seat 15 minutes in, pulling out his cell every five minutes to check any facts the speaker is throwing out. Along with frequent eye rolling in my direction.


My daughter capturing the hidden details on a hike.

Clearly they didn’t hear this woman speak before they booked her, and I’ve tried to find a positive spin, like being grateful for the extra napping opportunity. But really, it seemed like I was just wasting my time and that was frustrating. There’s a lot of things I want to do and fitting it all in is starting to need a spreadsheet. I want to walk more, read more books, go to more matinees (there’s popcorn there!) and, most of all, pay more attention to the pending disaster of politics. This shot of my daughter Christy shows a woman who seldom wastes any time. She knows what she loves and fills her time doing it, seldom leaving home without her beloved camera.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t complain. After all, I have the time. No babysitters to arrange and no mandatory work schedule. So what do I have to complain about, right? I resent it because I was really looking forward to learning more about humor writing. The irony is that the evening was supposed to be about humor and I didn’t get to laugh once. This was probably the most disappointing of all.

Deciding What’s Important Is Important To Not Wasting Time

I know I’m alone here, but I love meetings, of all kinds. Moaning and groaning about them is common, but finding out something I didn’t already know is exciting to me. And because writing is so solitary, I look forward to being with people and to conversations other than what goes on in in my own head. The trouble is sometimes this yearning lures me into making questionable commitments and I make those decisions much too fast.

Filling the days with basic maintenance — all the stuff that needs to get done or “should” get done — is getting old. Then when you add the required computer gaming, email and Facebook time to those daily necessities… well, you know, time gets guzzled. Deciding what I love to do and sticking to it is a good start. Except that deciding takes time, too. sigh…

Meetings, workshops and classes all call to me big time, and I’m lucky to have a choice on how to spend my time. The name Wiseman gives me an extra boost sometimes because it compels me, now more than ever, to make wiser choices. I love my name.

SECRET: Do you ever think to yourself “What am I doing here?” Minimize these moments by thinking twice before you commit — to yourself and to others. Whether it’s something you are asked to do or something you decide to do yourself, the best little phrases to remember are “Let me think about it.” or “I’ll have to get back to you.” Thinking twice never hurts.