How Can I Be Down With Ben Franklin's Mindset?
Sunday afternoon I became very ill. So ill that I didn't take my boys to school on Monday. I have no idea what they did all day because I slept most of the day, but I have a feeling they may have overindulged in video games, TV and junk food. Oops.
Sometimes Tuesday afternoon when my temperature was beginning to come down to around 100, I began poking around online to see what was happening in the world. Someone on Twitter was passing around the above copy of Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule (which my friend Nicky tells me comes from, Poor Richard's Almanack, one of the works he wrote under a pseudonym) and I got to thinking, would my life be better off if I had a schedule like his?
First of all, homie has a TWO HOUR lunch and reading break in the middle of the day! Franklin, er, "Poor Richard", isn't scarfing down his lunch at his desk while hunched over his laptop. He probably never even took a lunch to work that needed microwaving. (Nevermind that microwaves didn't exist then. Just roll with me, mmkay?)
Second, I love how 6 p.m. comes around and he's like, bam, time for "putting things in their places, supper, music, or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day." Gosh, I have a feeling his version of music wasn't listening to the radio while battling rush hour traffic. And I bet that the 18th century "diversion" is a whole lot different than mine. Maybe less stressful? Maybe less take-your-butt-to-the-gym-and-run and more reading poetry by candlelight? Clearly, I'm romanticizing things. I mean, the man had to use chamberpots! Part of putting things in their places might have been emptying those suckers...and...eww! I didn't need that visual.
Third, seven hours of sleep? That's how everyone in my house knows I'm sick--I'm actually sleeping a whole lot. (Card carrying members of Insomniacs International Unite!)
Now that I'm finished being jealous of that lunch break and the amount of sleep he gets (but not the chamber pots), I realize I do have a few things in common with Franklin/Poor Richard.
1) We both get up at 5 a.m.
2) We eat, we work...
Notice those framing questions? I love them but that's not a commonality we share. Sure, I keep it in my mind to do good in the world, but rarely do I specifically ask the question, "What good shall I do this day?" Right now it's merely a vague hope--I don't want to do harm to anybody...well, OK, sometimes..., but I don't consciously set out with the mindset that I'll do something good every single day either. There is a difference.
I also love how he brings himself to account at the end of the day by asking himself "What good have I done today?" Usually at the end of the day I'm listing off all the things I didn't finish, all the bad things I've done, all the ways I've fallen short. Rarely do I think about the good I've done. Well, tonight before I go to bed, I'm asking myself what good I've done today.
Funny how a little thing floating around the web can inspire such reflection. See, it really is all about the Benjamins, baby!*
*Hip hop reference circa 1998. Also see Diddy a/k/a Puff Daddy.
*Yes, I know Puffy is talking about money.