Little Heathens.


About a year or so, I read Mildred Armstrong Kalish’s book Little Heathens. It was a very quick little book, and wasn’t particularly beautifully or poetically written—it was just a humble, straightforward narrative with occasional sentimental moments. As a book about life during the Great Depression, it was understandably somber, and particularly relevant to me during its initial reading: our nation was on the cusp of a recession, and tensions about money and lifestyles began to heighten.

The memoir was infused with earnest knowledge, anecdotes, and even recipes, but what resonated with me the most and has, I guess you can say, changed me, is the approach I have to the simple pleasures in life. When Mildred recalls moments like eating fresh, hot food from the oven, or working in the kitchen canning food, or simply carrying out her daily tasks, there is a sense of momentousness, as if every action should be filled with appreciation and reverence. There’s one line in the writing, in particular, that has stuck out and run through my head like ticker tape on many occasions; it was something said to the writer by her grandmother, I think, in regards to performing daily drudgeries. It read, “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” It is such a basic concept, so straightforward and to the point, but it always grasps me (luckily) when I’m stuck in a rut of procrastination. Or when in a mood when I don’t really want to do the things I love, or the things I dream about—sometimes it’s so much easier to just climb under the covers or sit on the couch and continue to want to do things.

Today I went to the library to research something that I constantly dream about, that would take a lot of time, money, and effort to do. It’s easy to put off the research, but the longer I do it, the further I am from my eventual goal. So I dragged myself out of the house and walked all the way to the Charles McKim library and sat and read for a few hours, and now feel like that little bit that I accomplished today will bring me that much closer to what I want in life. And if we were all always so proactive, and did what we could push off for tomorrow today, then I think we would all end up so much happier and productive. Just engaging in the reading today has given me such an incredible push of excitement and eagerness; I feel as if I could explode with energy and the urge to make things right now. If you read this, then I hope that you, too, will do something that you’ve been putting off—I promise that you will feel amazing after finally doing it!


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