On the Relapse of Habits


(FULL Plate) Because life is a ridiculously priced buffet. (Image sourced from quotecloset.wordpress.com.)

(FULL Plate) Because life is a ridiculously priced buffet. (Image sourced from quotecloset.wordpress.com.)

So today, I had an existential relapse.

Close friends of mine know that I created 2014 to be my year of ease and grace. That is to say, I would make a conscious effort to surrender to the flow and rhythm of things as opposed to ramming my will down the universe’s throat. (The latter approach has its benefits: you get many things done and you get them done fast; however, it’s a strategy best employed by those with the energy of youth.)

I did well enough for the first several days of January: plodded through my checklist (rather than steamrolled), strolled to my destinations (rather than brisk walked), chewed and tasted my food (rather than inhaled). What started to trip me up (what always trips me up) was the faint yet heady whiff of premature success. I was actually…chill—and I was getting even more things done than usual.

And so today, the old attachments reasserted themselves—and with renewed vigor too given their recent vacation. I was at the studio, cleaning and tidying the rooms one by one, and what started out as a cheerful and lighthearted exercise (yes, I’m one of those people who get a silly kick out of putting things in order) soon devolved into a dour and mirthless task. At some point in the afternoon, I had mindlessly shifted into I need to get this done NOW. This condition of grim and implacable determination is so natural to me—never mind if inhabiting it makes for a largely unpleasant state of affairs—that I didn’t even notice the transition until Abbey pointed it out.

You got everything done alright, she conceded. But did you actually enjoy the experience?

No, I said morosely.

Then be more vigilant, she said, before returning to her book.

Right.

Sigh.

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