Unfortunately, there’s a pie chart. Fortunately, you don’t have to do any math.

Unfortunately, we were late to school again today.
Fortunately, nobody was crying, yelling, fussing, angry, or frustrated.

Unfortunately, we forgot Aviva’s backpack at home.
Fortunately, she’s having a hot lunch today and didn’t really need anything in it.

Unfortunately, I went to bed way too late.
Fortunately, the reason I stayed up was to share a pint of ice cream with Greg and finish a worthwhile movie.

Unfortunately, Aviva and Pearl were still asleep at 7:00am.
Fortunately, I got to wash my face and make coffee in peace.

Unfortunately, I had to drag Aviva out of our bed against her will.
Fortunately, she came downstairs fully dressed ten minutes later, reminding me that she lets things go far more easily and quickly than I do, that I can choose to move on. “Nice outfit,” I remarked casually as she skipped into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, this game can’t go on ad infinitum.
Fortunately, it is a useful way of framing things sometimes, especially when you need to cut through clutter or confusion, to reach for something simple.

Unfortunately, nothing is simple.
Fortunately, we do not have to address everything at once. Quick, try this: make a pie chart with eight wedges. Write down the eight things you feel like you need to do/change/address. The ones that follow you around all day like yappy little dogs, the kind you can step on if you’re not really careful.

Unfortunately, you have read this far and now you are about to get homework.
Fortunately, the homework is going to help you move from thinking about something to doing something about it. Choose ONE of the wedges. Now make a new pie chart with eight more slices, and write down eight parts/pieces/components/aspects of the item. For example, if one of the little hounds following me all the time is that I want to get some kind of physical activity everyday, but I can’t quite motivate, I make a new pie chart called “Daily Physical Activity” with eight slices, let’s say 1) running outside, 2) running at the Y, 3) swimming at the Y, 4) doing yoga at home, 5) taking a yoga class, 6) walking, 7) going to sleep early, and 8) having sex. Yahoo! I’m giving myself this huge array of things that COUNT as physical activity, rather than thinking that running is the only thing that is “real” exercise and than feeling shitty if I’m unmotivated to run. (Who knew going to bed early could be a form of daily physical activity?) Now pick ONE THING and DO IT. As for the sex, well, any pie chart worth its salt should make room for that.

Unfortunately, I’m getting off track.
Fortunately, sometimes you have to get off track in order to get on the track that you need to get on. Consider this Joseph Campbell quote (it’s his birthday – thanks, Garrison Keillor): “We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Unfortunately, this blog post must come to an end.
Fortunately, we have this, the beautiful last line of Mark Strand’s poem “Fiction” from yesterday’s Writer’s Almanac: “Not to despair; if the end is come, it too will pass.”


p.s. I am holding you accountable and expect a full report on your homework!

5 thoughts on “Unfortunately, there’s a pie chart. Fortunately, you don’t have to do any math.

  1. hillary77 says:

    Ha! Must be the day to forget backpacks…sabine forgot hers too, but I did run home to get it b/c of P.E. sneakers therein…
    It must also be the season for surrender to What Is…and I can’t wait to coffee with you next week!



  2. GailNHB says:

    Always the geek, I will take you up on your homework assignment. So, Mrs. Strong, oh dearly beloved teacher, here is my pie chart.

    I choose as the theme of my pie: taking better care of me. Here are the 8 slices I want in my pie. 1. reading something uplifting 2. journaling 3. taking time alone 4. eating well 5. vigorous exercise 6. talking to friends on the phone 7. watching ER 8. sex – because every pie chart has to include sex, right???

    In the past 24 hours, I have eaten seven pieces of the pie… as it were. What shall I do in the next 24 hours???


  3. jena strong says:

    Fantastic, Gail. Seven slices of pie in one day – yum! How about sending me an email every day for the next week letting me know what you chose to do do take better care of you that day? xo


  4. Lil says:

    Unfortunately, your pie chart does not compute for this math-resisting brain of mine.

    Fortunately, it sounds like an awful lot like a “mind map”, so I get.

    Unfortunately, I will not be making time for this particular homework.

    Fortunately, I plan on still having sex.



  5. Beth P. says:

    Since I’m off sugar, I guess I’m off pie as well.

    However, I do want to say that the quotes at the end are great and just right and fit and made smile!



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