As a teacher I was asked and answered at least 100 questions a day. (My favorite way to deal with the same repeated question by a student, or now a grandchild, is to say “no matter how many times you ask me, the answer will always be ‘no’,” and that seems to quiet them.) That takes patience and quick thinking.

As people we may not be asked that many questions a day, but how many times do we have to make decisions, big and small, daily? Life is complicated. Very little is clear-cut.

I think of my daughters, both with 5 children (I only had 4), and how crazy their days are. Nothing is predictable, and if something “bad” can happen it will. Whether it’s a 4 year-old having an accident in his pants while out somewhere, one room being trashed while another being straightened up, taking a 14 month-old away from splashing in the toilet because someone forgot to close the door, or scraping up green play dough from the carpet. Obviously, when you have little ones, choices are limited — it’s just coping with emergencies as they arise, and trying to fit in some quality time. It’s being flexible, creative — and answering a lot of questions.

Now retired, my life is considerably simpler, but still life throws some curve-balls at me. How often is it that you think a task will be simple and straightforward, and it turns into a big deal. For instance, today I decided to install Norton Anti-Virus on my computer. Sounds simple. Certainly, my payment went through quickly. Then it took me at least one and a half hours to delete programs that it conflicted with, download a second time, restart the computer, etc. until finally it was finished. I should have been much simpler.

It just seems that it’s best to plan twice as much time as you think something “simple” will take to do it — because if something can go wrong, it will!