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Posted: February 25, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Morgan: These days the world’s in a whirl

The world — this planet — is said to be increasing its speed of spinning and also rotating on its axis.

What that means long term is beyond my humble ken, but I’m wondering how this might be impacting our daily lives.

If the world is spinning faster and faster, does that mean our days are spinning by faster and faster? ("Yes" is the correct answer.)

When did this begin, when will it end, or will this pace ever slow? Just how much can be packed into 24 hours? And if we’re always working and "doing" at full capacity, what’s left?

I seem to be running at warp speed these days, and I don’t know anyone who’s not.

I’ve said before in this space that it’s impossible "not" to be busy in Covington because there’s so much going on all the time.

There are meritorious causes to support, pressing needs to be addressed and civic functions and government meetings to be attended.

Fund raising drives are going on year-round, and it’s hard to say "no" when someone you know or love is doing the asking.

I’m peddling just as fast as these short legs will peddle, but many days I don’t seem to move an inch from where I began. If you really get involved in organizations, causes, church or schools that evoke your passion, it’s very easy to get in over your head. The calls, the meetings, the e-mails, the reports, the special projects and the fund raising required can snowball, and juggling becomes second nature.

Busy-ness is not just a function of having lots to do or lots that could be done; it’s also a function of not being able to say "no" or not knowing how to set personal boundaries. Sometimes you just can’t do it all.

And sometimes, believe it or not, it’ll get done one way or another even if you’re not the one doing it. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

Think back to olden times. To eat, you raised the chickens and pigs, slaughtered them, cooked or salted them down for later use; you put in spring/summer and fall/winter gardens, and canned and dried the produce. To have clothes on your body, you wove the fabric, cut and sewed the garments by hand.

To have a drink of water, you dug a well by hand or trudged to and from a creek with heavy buckets; for milk, you tended a cow.

To stay warm, you felled trees, then cut the wood and lugged it inside. Washing clothes was an all-day affair: you needed an old black pot in the yard, a washboard and soap you made from ashes.

Oh, and if you wanted a place to live, you had to build it by hand from downed trees or rocks toted up from the riverbank, as former Gov. Zell Miller tells his mother’s story.

Talk about busy! That was busy, and it far exceeds the busy-ness that fills these days.

Life itself depended on that kind of work, while our being busy is more about quality of life for a community, church, school or organization.

I’ve not even spoken about job-holders who also tend family and civic duties.

That’s a whole other level of commitment, responsibilities and obligations to be balanced and stuffed into 24 hours.

My hat’s off to all of you.

I only have to tend my dog and the kittens; but wait, there’s also a husband to be tended. (And he’ll say this is indicative of my priorities.)

One very, very busy local woman who gets lots done gracefully on many fronts took home an award Wednesday night from the Newton Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Mary Arnwine won the "Pat Patrick Big Heart Award," in a competition with other nominees from nonprofit organizations.

Joseph E. "Pat" Patrick Jr. is the esteemed founding board chair of the Newton Fund, now 11 years old.

The local organization, in partnership with the Atlanta Community Foundation, promotes philanthropy among those who can give financially and supports and encourages local nonprofits that compete for annual grants.

And if you read about Mary elsewhere in these pages, you’re bound to agree with the selection for the award "created to honor a local citizen who gives back through notable service and time to Newton County."

Mary is more than just busy.

She gets things done.

Barbara Morgan is a Covington resident with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics.

 

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