Do Something

(Little posts like this are written for myself, to give myself a bit of a kick. If I should seem to be preaching, it’s only to me.)

Sometimes it seems as if working and sleeping and sitting on the couch are enough.

Sometimes it seems like that’s all the energy we have. Barely enough to get up and get out and get all of the work done and get home and crash and sleep and then get the hell up and do it all over again. 

The delights, such as they are, come from getting all these things done, in addition to those fleeting moments of achievement gained during the work times. That and the feeling of safety and relief of finally landing in front of the telly and kicking your shoes off, your work all done for another day.

Sometimes it feels like enough.

But it’s not. We all know it, deep inside, but we still have to remind ourselves of it from time to time. We have to kick ourselves into action, into activity.

The moments of joy and true fulfillment and peace and value mostly come from the things we do outside of all the things we have to do. We haul ourselves off the couch and away from the telly and we do the things we are inspired to do. It can be anything, composing a symphony, painting a landscape, completing a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter. It’s extra-curricular, something we have chosen to do of our own accord, and I reckon it’s deep in there that much of the value of our everyday existence can be found.

We don’t have to do much outside of the daily grind to appreciate the value of it. A little something can quickly show us that there is a world outside of our never ending routine and we can choose to be a part of it. It’s very obvious and it’s very easy.

Except when it isn’t. Then it just isn’t.

Life is wearing, busy, demanding, fast, and tiring. Sometimes it feels like it’s all we can do to make it to that couch and breathe a little before sleep overwhelms. We get there and we congratulate ourselves on getting everything done and on the earning of some well-deserved nothing time.

And it feels so good, sometimes, to do nothing.

But if you do it all the time, it gives you nothing back. When you audit your week, in that sub-conscious way, all you will see in the summary column is work and sleep.

We have to kick ourselves sometimes to go and do something else. Once we are doing it, we will know we are in the right place and that we actually do have some energy left inside us to do it and to love doing it.

My point?

Get up off your arse. When everything you had to do is done, go and do something else.

You won’t thank me for it.

You will thank yourself.


Jim Murdoch said...

So often we say, or think (mostly we think because saying things out loud makes them a tad too real), Where’s the point? A point is a small thing, tiny. Needles have points and we all know the old truism about searching for needles in haystacks. Imagine trying to locate the point of a needle. My point is—see what I did there—my point is that we don’t need much but we need something. I sometimes wonder what my something is. More than sometimes. And that, I suppose, is why the word ‘point’ is such an appropriate word. I mean ‘goal’ would do. But we don’t talk about goalless lives or targetless lives even though these must exist. My theory—not that I’ve thought about this before so I’m winging it here—is that a point negates emptiness just as a speck of dust negates a vacuum. As long as there’s something else in here with us then there’s a reason to go on. We need to suss out what the bloody point is. A goal or a target is a substantial thing. We never know quite what a point is—it’s always too far off—and it’s probably just as well because if we did find out what it is we might be disappointed—see, I’m doing it again—and not bother. Let’s leave that final revelation for our deathbeds, eh?

You talk about the things in life we have to do. I know what you’re getting at but so many of those things we feel we have to do are things we’ve chosen to do. I chose to get married and have kids, I chose to get a job and work all the hours God sent—or the Big Bang (what do non-Creationists say?)—but I didn’t choose to be a writer. If I’d had a choice there are so many other things that look like they might be more fun—and easier—than having to come up with strings of words but it’s what I seem to be good at. Life would actually be so much easier if I wasn’t a writer. Think about it, Ken, there are people out there who do their nine-to-five, pay their bills, kiss their wives, kick a ball about the back the door with their kid and never think once, let alone twice, about writing anything longer than their weekly Lotto numbers. And they’re happy.

No, we have to write. It’s why I’m sitting here at three in the morning. This counts as writing. And I feel better for it.

Marc Paterson said...

As my wife is fond of saying, 'life is short. Cram as much into it as you can'.

I find as I get older I zero in on the things that I love doing, the things I want to do. It's easy to get distracted, but its interesting to see which things lead to distractions more than others. If I find myself more distracted from doing 'this thing' than 'that thing' then I give it up and just do 'that thing'.

I was always a musician first, nothing else mattered, and then somewhere along the road I turned away from it. I feel like I've been running away ever since. That is until this year (or more correctly, over the Christmas period).

I decided to look in the mirror and really see myself. It resulted in me putting down thr quill and picking up the plectrum. I feel sixteen again.

I recently sold some photographic equipment (another distraction from what I should have been doing) and decided I would treat myself, and thought long and hard about what I really wanted to spend it on. I think this is what led to me continuing that train of thought to 'what do I really want out of life?'

I bought a guitar amp and fx pedal.

The Plush Gourmet said...

Really really important as we get older. DO things now, because if you do not and you allow yourself to languish on the couch it will bite you in the butt. You will suddenly be retired and have no idea what the hell to do with all that time. I know that might sound grand, but after watching several friends fall into deep depressions during the time immediately after retiring I notice those that had well established hobbies and interest were not among them. Get off your ass and find something you love and DO that.