I’m inside on a sunny day because X is in one of those moods where everything must have an answer. There’s a need to talk about a lump on the back of my foot and to see a chiropodist; my nails not looking good again as we enter into a busy time at work; my constant back pain needing to be seen to; my space needing to be cleaned because it’s dusty. I spoke to a friend about this. She said simply:
“Do your feet need things? Does you back need things? Does your room need tidying?” – Y
Yes to all of those thing, of course.
“Then where is your action?” – Y, attached to a gif of Major Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist flexing.
So where is my action? Why am I avoiding conversations about these things when I could just do these things? What’s the hold up? Cost? Timing? Anxiety? I can afford the cost, I can spare the time, and I don’t feel any particular anxiety over these thing. Yet here I am.
What are you putting off?
I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. Right now, I’ve got a 2500 word report to write for my job due for the 27th, yet have I used this free Saturday to write it? No, of course not. I another sense, I’ve been actively passive: I smudged my house with sage, dusted and debating LGBTQ+ rights on the internet with strangers for who living and let live is a complex ask. Have I made much progress on teaching my contemporaries to be a little more tolerant? Not at all, and it perhaps I knew it was a fruitless task going into the conversation, knowing it would take up so much of my time to avoid the list of things I should be doing.
Interesting: I would rather be doing those things. So why do I find myself not starting?
The revenge of the procrastination nation.
I would quote from Aurelius or Seneca or Lao Tze, but tonight I feel ashamed to look in their long dead eyes, into the soul’s philosophy. What have I achieved in my avoidance? Nothing other than a minor headache above my eyebrow after trying to argue that the existence of another being is not up for the debate of the layman but universal truth.
Bracing the shame, removing the judgement of the words of another:
“I view with pleasure and approval the way you keep on at your studies and sacrifice everything to your single-minded efforts to make yourself every day a better man. I do not merely urge you to persevere in this; I actually implore you to.” – Letters from a Stoic, V
Implore yourself. I implore myself. Because today I have not kept to my studies or sacrificed anything to learn to be a better person. Yet in my reflection, perhaps the cognition of this is learning. Perhaps the sacrifice in the pride of a day doing nothing is the sacrifice and the feeling of a wasted day of nothing but flapjacks and playing Stellaris on the PC is the lesson.
Here’s to Sunday: a new day of action, one that Seneca would view with pleasure and approval; a day that I can view with pleasure and approval.