In a sense, my married life has been a series of kicks. During the first years the kick was scouting
in which I spent most of my time doing volunteer
activities between which I sandwiched in my household responsibilities. Once during the war, when my husband had to spend our auto insurance money for a traffic fine
, and we had to put the car up for the winter, my kick was planning and preparing unusual menus.
I had only one opportunity a week to shop so, using a series of booklets describing one hundred ways to cook potatoes or salads or desserts as a basis, I planned my menus in detail and used these plans for making my shopping lists so I would have everything I needed. For about six weeks we had at least three new recipes for dinner every night, and we ate well in spite of rationing. Then I got into a gardening kick which was so absorbing that I spaded up almost our entire lot (which was sizable) to find enough space to grow all the varieties of flowers I could find.
The strangest kick of all, perhaps, was my "Do It Now" kick. This was the result of a New Year's resolution. I had discovered long before that if I made the right kind of New Year's resolutions, they could do much for me. They needed to be specific, reasonable, and aimed at changing habit patterns. Being a neat housekeeper has been close to impossible for me, and on this particular New Year's the situation was grim. My housekeeping had gotten so bad it even bothered me, and I was determined to make a resolution that would improve it.
After considerable thought, I decided the best resolution I could make was, "Do it now." Procrastination was the root of my problem. I would sit in the living room, look at the dust on the Venetian blinds, and say to myself, "I must dust those blinds when I clean." Then, when I cleaned I would forget about the blinds, or decide to do them some other time when I wasn't in such a hurry. So, in making my resolution specific, instead of saying, "I'm going to improve my housekeeping," I said, "I'm going to do it now," meaning that whenever I saw something that needed to be done, I would do it at that moment.
The effects were wild. I dusted the Venetian blinds New Year's Day before I got dinner. The major things all got done the first week, like cleaning the refrigerator, waxing the floors, and emptying the front hall closet, but that resolution was insidious. It kept rearing its head at the strangest times. It found me washing a chandelier in the middle of a bridge game to the astonishment of our card-playing guests It caught me going downstairs for a broom the first thing in the morning so I could capture a spider web above my bed. It caught me cleaning out a cabinet before I could get dinner. Strangely enough, however, the resolution worked. It did change my habit patterns, and I have never descended quite so far into the depths of confusion as before. Not that I'm good. I'm just better than I was.
It's been this way with all my kicks, I guess. Each of them, when they were hot, absorbed me completely, and each of them left me a little better than I was. I cook simply now except for special occasions, but I cook with ease and pleasure. I garden very little now, but I know more about flowers than most people, and use my knowledge effectively in enriching my life. My scouting kick taught me so much about youngsters that when I started teaching school, I had rapport with my students that others in my profession did not understand. Perhaps that's what life is all about - just a series of kicks, each one leaving one just a little better than before.