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Tiny TomesĀ® Publishing

Constance B. Wilder


Puttering/Idle hands

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 2:59 PM
Yesterday morning, Sunday, I started the day reveling in the fact that I had nothing planned. I began by reading the news (carefully selected, because I am presently going mad about the political state of affairs) and browsing some of my favorite blogs. One of the blogs, though, had me scratching my head; it is a blog written to sharpen the mind and get more out of work experiences. What had me thinking twice about what I read, was the fact that the writer was discouraging "puttering." The subject of the blog was how to use weekend time wisely and "puttering" was not advised. The writer  even went so far as characterizing the word as something the "elderly" would do.

Yikes, I never mind stating my age--67. As a matter of fact, I intend to hoot and holler with every succeeding decade I am granted. But I'm not too fond of the word elderly being combined with something I like to do which is "putter."

I was brought up in a family where accomplishments were prized. Laziness was not abided. The expectations were not harsh--but there was a bit of the "idle hands are the devil's workshop" discipline practiced in our home.

I am semi-retired. I am not particularly fond of the word "retired" either; I think it smacks of being put out to pasture. For me what it means, is that I do not have a 9 to 5  job to report to any longer. I am a writer, and as such, I make sure that I write every day and do something every day to market my book Above and Beyond Wellfleet. The "semi" part of retirement for me has been to fill my day with the luxury of puttering and not feeling guilty that it equates with being idle. 

Some definitions are in order. Puttering  is to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely or casual manner.
Idleness means you have no particular goal in mind. I putter, but I do not think I am idle.

Yesterday, was a day without a set schedule. The day was mine to putter about.  I managed to respect my upbringing by deciphering the difference between doing nothing and doing what I wanted to do.

At the end of the day, the batch of herbs pictured were turned into an herb seasoned salt. Apples from an earlier trip to the farm market were made into a spicy applesauce. When I woke up, neither of those activities were on my mind--or schedule. They just came to me as the result of appreciating a beautiful Fall day.

Frost is around the corner, and I wanted to save the herbs. The farmer market's tables groaned with beautiful,  just-picked apples begging to be preserved and shared.

I puttered happily. I felt in no way elderly and more importantly felt at the end of the day that I honored what I had always been taught--make every hour count including appreciating joyful leisure.

Categories: leisure time, weekends

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Reply Sam
2:37 AM on October 16, 2013 
My father puttered to the end. When I would call him he would say that he had walked, eaten and "puttered" around. I, too, was raised with the youmust do something, but that puttering was allowed. Another fine article.
Reply Douglas Day
1:05 PM on October 17, 2022 
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