Now we get much closer to what I am thinking/feeling in this context. Please understand that I'm not trying to play some quiz with you. It's just much too difficult to me to express (even to myself and even to understand myself) what I mean. We are talking about some very general problem here. What problem exactly? Everybody is giving hints to answer ... what question? What's the point?
MT gave some good hint: "take time and enjoy life, and not be so busy that you will look back, from the edge of the grave, and regret how you spent your time on earth". That's good. Not yet completely what I'm thinking of but the best we have until now, so let's work on it: Picking daisies means taking time and enjoying life. But what's the metapher for the opposite? I couldn't find one yet. So I am no longer able to only talk metaphorically (please forgive me that I first tried).
Looking back from the edge of my grave is something I already had to try. Not completely because there still was hope and as you can see this was justified. I remember WELL how I then realized that there were things I could in some sense take with me. What things? Good question. There are things that are essentially different from things like money or what is bought for it. You still can get them but only as a present. Trying to buy them won't work and if you try to pay for them you are likely to destroy what you got. You only can accept that you are in dept forever. Really forever, because this dept you can take with you when you go.
(BTW: Just because of this I also consider it wrong to talk - and think - of things like these in terms you talk of money. There's e.g. a widely used expression in german like "investing emotions/feelings". Never heard it in english, though. Silly.)
So you might understand that I have some problems with Noreen's initial quote in general and especially with that metapher "picking daisies". To me it doesn't hit the point because it is just another activity and that quote is also focused on things to DO. But IMNSHO you will never find the answer to that (what?) question by considering or discussing different activities ("black/white" problem) or how much time should be spent for them ("grey" problem). You will have to take PERCEPTION into account and how much (not only time) you spend on it. So the question leads to a problem of action vs. perception rather than to one of action no. 1 vs. action no. 2.
Metaphorically: What use is picking daisies if I can't see them, smell them or even just feel them (trying to listen to them won't work)? On the other hand - if I can, why do I have to pick them? (To take them to somebody I like, of course, but that doesn't apply here.) Leaving them in situ will leave them in vivo and I won't have to bend down or get on my knees thus avoiding the risk of an aching back (a "witch shot" in german) or green stains on my trousers. Wouldn't that be "stress" too? The only reason for plucking daisies is also the thought of looking at them later - exactly the problem, yes, yes, yes.
DaveO (and Matt) - when my grandfather died I was in the army and couldn't get to this funeral in time. But I visited his grave just a few days later. The flowers from the coffin had been put on top of the grave, and there were some pinks among them - frozen as it had been very cold in the meantime. It was a very cold morning again and hoarfrost was lining the edges of those pinks' petals - tiny, delicate ice needles, perfectly even, yet meaning death to the flower itself. Beauty? What do people know of beauty? And - how should I have been able to pick that flower in order to take it with me? In fact I did, but in some differnt sense...
Love to you all (at least peace)