0663 – start over again (and pay attention)

I’ve only published 1 other word vomit in the month of April. This is surely correlated with the amount of uneasiness I feel. At some point I promised myself that I would try to publish 3 word vomits a day, and failing that, 3 on every weekend. On retrospect, 3 a day is more than I can handle when I take my other commitments into consideration. But 3 every weekend, that is definitely achievable. So what’s stopping me from doing that? The main thing I think is that I forgot to frame it as a privilege rather than an obligation. Weekends sometimes feel like the tiniest of rest breaks, and the idea of doing work during your rest break just seems needlessly relentless and Sisyphean. But when I step back, I always see that NOT doing the work is even worse – because then I’m left with the feeling of hollow unfulfillment. Which, in my late teenage years, I discovered was despicable.

So here we are. It’s a Sunday morning, 1040am. I went to bed relatively early last night – I believe I was in bed at midnight, and probably fell asleep about 30 minutes later. And today I woke up at around 9… I feel like I’m more well-rested now than I’ve been in a couple of weeks. Maybe even a couple of months. So it would be a shame to waste it. I’m going to write the rest of this vomit, then I’m going to go downstairs to have breakfast, then I’m going to do a few more chores – clean the windows, tidy up the house – and then I’m going to be productive. I don’t think I’m going to do much work-work today, rather I’m going to work on tidying up my todo list, trimming nonsense from my various blogs and sites, and generally just tidying up and revisiting everything.

Which brings me to the subject of this vomit. One of the painful, frustrating realities of everyday life is that we have to do everything over and over again. You can’t just do it really well once and be done forever. “It”, in this case, applying to many, many things. You have to shower again every day. Eat again every day. Shit again every day. Sleep again every day. It’s relentless. There are just all these chores that need to be done, over and over again. I can finish a word vomit and feel good about it for a while, but that good feeling runs out and then I’ll have to write something again, or make something else. Either way, life often feels like this relentless struggle. As I mentioned once before, it’s an ordeal advertised as an adventure. And growing up, I think, is when you begin to see past the false advertising, and then you get past the frustration with the false advertising, and finally get around to fully embracing the reality of things as the way they are.

This is where I think I’m a little bit stuck. I’m still angry with the world for having lied to me, for having fed me bullshit. But I need to know that this wasn’t personal. This wasn’t meant to hurt me specifically. The world is just the way ti is, the world is the world. There’s a lot of uglier things that happen. Things are a lot messier than they look. I need to learn to smile and laugh through it all, and not take it so personally. It’s not all about me. It’s just the way things are.

I find myself thinking, as I write those sentences – isn’t that just going to make me all passive and meek? But that’s obviously oversimplistic. I saw a delightful phrase yesterday – “Love tells me I am everything. Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Between these two banks, flows the river of my life”. This visual is a great metaphor for a lot of different sort of seeming paradoxes. Work hard but don’t be too hard on yourself. Be firm but be kind. Be honest but don’t be hurtful. It’s always easier to err on one side or the other, to get up on the riverbank(s).

So similarly, there’s a river here too. Between being pragmatic and idealistic. In both cases I remember thinking, what matters is that you’re thoughtful about it. You can be thoughtlessly “pragmatic” in a way that is stifling. You can be thoughtlessly idealistic in a way that is naive. Both are unhelpful. You want to be able to nourish both your pragmatism and your idealism. You want to be idealistic in the long run and pragmatic in your daily execution of things. It’s hard to have both, because most of us tend to be predisposed one way or the other.

Interesting to think about it. I was a very naive, idealistic teenager. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that and I need to rekindle it. I’ve tried to pretend to be pragmatic for a few years now, and I’ve gotten pretty good at pretending, I think. But I’m not actually good at it. I don’t actually manage my resources as well as I believe I should, as well as I think I could. But that’s a skill tree I have to invest points in, slowly and surely. I was planning to be done with this word vomit at about 1130am – I spent an entire hour in between just goofing off on the Internet.  That’s not intrinsically a bad thing, but it would be if I repeat it… repeatedly.

But anyway. The thing is the noticing, right? I remember someone saying – whenever you’re mediating, you only know you’re making “progress” when you notice your mind wandering. Noticing is the important part. It’s when you’re not noticing that you’re not being mindful. And being mindful is something that you can train, you can get better at. Life doesn’t have to be something that gets stuck in stasis. I can still go on with my earlier plans. I can still have lunch and buy a newspaper to clean all my windows… mindfully. That is my intent and I’m going to execute it.

It gets easier. But you gotta do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier. Believe it.

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