The other day, comedienne Leighann Lord tweeted out the following oh-so-profound statement: “I’m no longer interested in productivity being the measure of my humanity.” That struck me like a lightning bolt, and I thought, Yeah. I am more than the sum total of my output. I waste so much mental energy judging my days (and my general worth) by how much I’ve accomplished in any given moment, and that’s some bull. In this vast universe, the number of floors I’ve mopped or toilets I’ve scrubbed or words I’ve written or tasks I’ve crossed off my list isn’t going to matter to anyone in a hundred years’ time.
But, having been that kid in school that everyone else hated who turned in papers early and studied her little heart out until she could get good grades, I do feel this pathological need to be judged for something. So if it isn’t for the number of useless chores I’ve done, then what is it?
Turning to that old standard, the Golden Rule, I thought, “What do I want others to do unto me? That’s what I should be judged for doing unto them.” My thoughts aren’t always grammatical, but that’s okay.
Then it came to me: I want people to stay out of my business. 99.96% of what I do has virtually no effect on anyone else. And the converse is true, too. 99.96% of what you do has virtually no effect on me. Who you date, who you marry, where you live, what you wear, who you worship, who you don’t worship, what music you listen to, what you find funny, how you decorate your body – none of that affects my marriage, where I live, who I worship (or don’t), what music I listen to, what I find funny, and what I do with my body.
So a better measure of my humanity would be how much I stay out of other people’s business.
I really did think long and hard about it, and I think sums up my entire philosophy, even the things I don’t want you to do. If you drive drunk, you endanger me, and that’s not staying out of my business. So that’s got to stop. If you don’t pay your taxes, then how are we going to pave the roads and pay for public schools and firefighters? That affects me.
But let’s not get too deep or too political. Those days when I just choose to recharge my batteries by pouring love into my puppydog and watching something silly on television? When the most ‘productive’ thing I can say I’ve done is turn oxygen in the atmosphere into carbon dioxide for the plants to take in? One thing I definitely didn’t do on those days is affect anyone else’s life to the negative. I may not have made anyone’s life or day better, but I didn’t make anything worse. First: I did no harm.
How many of you can measure up to that standard? I think more of us should try.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books. Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.