You should do that first! You shouldn’t think like that! You should eat better! You shouldn’t talk like that. You should, you shouldn’t, you should, you shouldn’t…are you seeing a pattern yet? It seems all my life, if I am not shoulding on myself, someone else is.
I wonder if most human beings across this planet think like this middle class American does. Do they think they should be able to do what they want, when they want, where they want, and how they want, with who they want, and do they think, others should not be telling us what we should do, or how we should do it, or when we should do it?
When I was younger it was my elders who were shoulding on me mostly but as I grew older and became the elder, I began to take over more and more of the shoulding responsibilities. This morning is a pretty good example of this shoulding. First off let me preface my words with it was my desire this morning to either go fishing or to sit and do some writing since I haven’t made a new blog post since last Saturday nor have I gone fishing for weeks and, heck, it is not raining! Secondly, I fish best and write best in the morning, even though I usually end up writing mostly at night between naps. The mornings are my most creative times. A cup of coffee or maybe two cups of coffee does help.
This morning, even before I got the coffee started my should messages started firing at me. You should take out the garbage, you should get a load of white’s started, you should sweep – look at this dirt! You should shoot that irritating wood pecker who is not pecking wood but is in a constant screeching mode. I do need a cup of coffee, I should make my coffee first. Oh, but that is impossible because a couple of shoulds have already grown into action and I finally can see that pesky wood pecker on my second return trip from the garbage tote. I can hear that the water is now finished filling the washing machine and I should add the whites so it can be washing while I make my coffee. NO! The coffee should be making while I load the washing machine, then my coffee will be ready when I am finished loading the washing machine. What is this? Dirty dishes in the sink? Oh yeah, I ran the dishwasher last night. I should empty the dishwasher next. No, I should start my computer so it is booted up, so when the coffee is done I can start writing.
Well, here I sit writing. The woodpecker gave up its screeching to peck wood, I have a cup of coffee to my right, the whites have finished washing. I should go start them drying, the garbage is taken out, but I should really get up and unload that dishwasher. The crock pot has begun its six hour chicken cook, and I have a pile of dirt in the corner where I started the sweeping. I should stop being so lazy and get up and do a proper job of sweeping – or maybe I should just go fishing where there is no dishes, no laundry, and no floor to sweep and I could feel the sun soak into my back, and maybe, feel the strike and see my pole tip do a little splash breaking the the lake surface.
Years ago I saw a sign hanging in a friends office that said, “Don’t should on yourself.” Yeah, maybe we shouldn’t should on ourselves but if we didn’t would we ever get anything done? Maybe you would, but I am not so sure those shoulds are not my best friends.
Now I should go get that second cup of coffee.
Go ahead should on yourself if you must.
I should comment but I am worn out from all your shoulds.I tend to replace "should" with "do I really want to or can this wait till tomorrow".
Retirement has replaced "should" in my vocabulary with "procrastinate." What a labor saving tool that one word is.
Probably means your whites are whiter than mine.
Oh, I've been should on a lot lately and haven't had a chance to should back so I do relate to your post today, but like Arkansas Patti, I'm slowly but surely replacing should with procrastinate and it is indeed a labor saving tool! I love it and practice every day! Which is probably the reason I have been should on so much lately!!!! Hope you're having a great should free weekend!!
I feel like I'm living in a great big pile of should. I keep telling myself to get a new vocabulary, like replacing should with "forget about it", but so far...I'm still knee deep in should. It's starting to stink.
I have beaten back most of the "shoulds," but I'm still hearing a lot of "you need tos". You need to get out more. You need to get a little exercise, etc. My answer is always, "I don't need to do anything I don't want to do. I'm retired." So there.
To be frank, you totally sound like a fun-loving guy who was forced into marriage very recently :D hahaha (My husband will love this post, and nod hid head happily thinking that he's got company)
Shoulds are a must in childhood...and when we grow older, the responsibility of who says the 'should' changes. But its always there :(
Either way there are shoulds. You are at the receiving end either from a live person of from the wee voice inside you. There is no escaping. You SHOULD stop ranting about the should or else the should will surely should YOU.
Should I stop now . . .
Arkansas Patti: I am suddenly looking forward to retirement a whole lot more.
If my whites are whiter than yours, my advise is go buy some new white – tomorrow or if possible today.
Sylvia: Sadly, procrastination will not take any practice for me at all, I am all practiced up. :) My weekend is much more should free now I have many fo the should done. Yippee!
Pat: Tell Hal to get the shovel and if that doesn’t work – take up fly fishing. I can send you some good flies to get started.
Betty: Yeah, those, ‘you need tos’ – Yikees! I have no idea what to do about them. Well I will keep this advise of yours back in the recess of my brain to pull out if I ever retire. But I kinda’ hope I get to say that to someone someday!
Anita: Forced? Recently? Hardly, 36 years ago could count for recent I guess – but I would say more, I have been in training for 36 years. But you are right, who says should changes. Thanks for the fun comment.
Susan Deborah: Very funny. Hah, hah, the wee voice inside me is not so wee. And, I think sometimes it is full of wisdom. I have often chosen not to listen and well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out to well for me.
I read somewhere that 'should' is a negative word, it creates guilt and counter productive feelings
I get that although I still do a lot of shoulding
Hope says she would love to meet you and tell you all the words she's learning - should is not one of them
her new favorite word is 'breeze'
and she also says PU a lot but that's a diaper thing ;)
Hope you're fishing
You should ya know
I know that I SHOULD keep reading your blog on a regular basis. ;)
Dianne: You help Hope to use the word will – I think it is better. No fishing today.
Lynda G: Yes you should – Yikes, did I actually say that? Of course I did.
I think if I actually did more, I might not "should" as much. In any event, I thought you should go fishing and I was very relived to know that it wasn't the woodpecker simmering in the crock pot.
n well u SHOULD say good words about me for a change! ;)
Booting up the computer, writing, those are best kinda shoulds! In my own humble opinion of course!
Hilary: Nah…woodpecker is much to stringy for my taste buds. :) I do agree I should go fishing.
Blunt Edges: You want to much – forget it. What do you think, I am a florist or something? Go buy your own flowers. (HEE HEE that's a good one GQ)
Debra: You are on the right track and full of sensibility.
I keeping shoulding myself all the time, Knowcking at my brain like a pesky little woodpecker. In fact i should turn off the PD as the light s are about to go off for 7 or 8 hours, entire day.
Love this post GQ
So relatable..."I shouldn't should so much".....Naiice...And thank you...Knew a little voice inside was bugging me about every upcoming move...Didn't know it had a name-should! :o
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