My Lazy Scamp Initiative
The character of Dexter, on the show of the same name, often referred to his “dark companion,” that demanded he:
Kill kill kill!
I have a similar, albeit less violent, companion. Having been raised Catholic, even though I was never what one would call a good Catholic, the whole experience of being a Catholic child, I believe, is to imbue every healthy decision a person can make for themselves in their adult life with a heavy, all-encompassing, sense of guilt.
Guilt guilt guilt!
This is not news, of course. In fact the Catholics take great pride (a sin, right?) in guilting their children into behaving, even if that behavior is bought with a lifelong fear of relaxation.
I’m sure Catholicism isn’t the only reason I can’t relax. The stressors of the modern world are unrelenting. Every time I seem to overcome some obstacle there are two more in my way. When God closes a door He opens two windows, and now the rain is getting in and I have to close those, too.
Like my buddy F. Scott said:
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
And lookit, I’m also not a member of the follow-your-bliss Oprah cult. It becomes a dangerous mindset when people believe they deserve to be happy all the time. Follow your bliss, sure, but also pay your bills. I do not expect to be happy 24/7, because I would be in for a lifetime of disappointment if I did. Just, you know, sometimes would be nice.
Buddhism, mindfulness, transcendental meditation: phases for kids. We all try them, and we all think we’re pseudo-Buddhists at some point. Usually in college at about the same time we get into Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski (those references might be a little dated).
And all that being said: to each their own. These are things that haven’t worked for me in the long run, although I plan on re-exploring a few of them. My goal, through the course of this blog and the reading of The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang (more on that later), is to gain the ability to, after a day of work and an evening peppered with chores, to be able to sit on my couch and watch TV, read a book, or do nothing, and, most importantly, to feel no guilt about all the things left undone.
I know other people have problems that probably seem more legitimate, more issues worthy of complaint and pity, but these are mine, and I think in this modern world of ours, where we’re expected by our livelihoods, and by our contemporaries, to be constantly connected to some form of communication or electronic media, it is essential to unplug for major portions of our days in order to look inward and self-reflect without the benefit of emojis, filters and memes, and to feel comfortable making relaxation a part of your day just as important as any other.
So that’s my goal for this journey.