Getting serious (Update)
The party is over. Time for me to get serious now and buckle down to work. Preparing classes and finishing the book. Deadlines are hot on my tail … tale …
And yet …
It has been such a damn good summer. And I simply do not want to work as hard as I always have. I have started to enjoy enjoying. I love taking my time and doing what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. Time seems short for me as I charge on towards my sixties … just a little less than two more years to go.
The semester ahead is shaping up to be busy and intense. Many classes to teach (too many?), book due before winter vacation, conference presentations to present, Board work, editorial consulting to engage in, students to supervise, work-outs, yoga, weights and dieting to work on, and the list mounts.
And yet …
I want to continue noticing a purple violet flower suddenly bursting into bloom on the plant stand, stare out at the bird feeder and the large oak tree, or walk the Wissahickon. I want to spontaneously jump on a train to the City, take in a movie on my own, or meet new people out of the blue. I want to blog when I want and I most certainly want to play on Facebook. Yes indeed, I want to have fun!
This sounds like a great way to retire. Work intensely at things I love to do: teach, supervise, write, present, consult, volunteer, advocate.
And yet …
And at the same time, as I become serious and buckle down, just refuse to take it all too seriously.
For as Life comes, so, too it will go …
So perhaps, this semester, I will practice the balance, prepare for retirement within, retiring from the old, ancient way of looking at how I do my living, and learn a whole new way of being.
I might even go so far as to consider this a New Year’s resolution. For it comes at the time of the year when a chill in the air greets the dawn, and one or two leaves start to turn. It comes at the beginning of the end of summer.
And then along comes this to support my learning a new way of being:
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Idleness is Okay
Most of the world’s troubles seem to come from people who are too busy.
If only politicians and scientists were lazier, how much happier we all would be.
This quote by Evelyn Waugh comes from the new book by Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle (New York: HarperCollins, 2005). Hodgkinson makes the case in 24 essays that time spent not working is time well spent. Along the way he lampoons the many things that get in the way of us enjoying our leisure: employment, consumerism, middle-class propriety, status anxiety, deeply ingrained workaholism, and lack of imagination.
According to Hodgkinson, idleness is a whole philosophy based on the notion that much of life’s magic presents itself in those spontaneous, lazy moments when we are not intent on producing something. He observes…
“Planned schemes of merriment rarely turn into the best evenings, which are usually the unplanned ones, when you have abandoned yourself to fate and chance and chaos.”