Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The gift of laziness

It occurred to me that when I shared how I use October as a time to slow down and reflect, it may have sounded a bit noble and self-sacrificing. That in taking time for quiet and relaxation I am taking up the challenge to step out of the busyness and demands of life and boldly make this very counter-cultural choice. As if I am triumphantly taking a stand for simplicity and fighting against the inner compulsion to always do more, be more, and have more. I picture myself throwing off the shackles of ambition and perfectionism and instead daring to venture into the unknown lands of complacency and contentment.

I kind of wish that were true.

In reality, when I give myself permission to do less, seek quiet, read more, and rest, it's less like a personal challenge and more like the mothership is calling me home.

When I hear people say things like, "I prefer to be busy. I don't really know how to just sit and do nothing." I only hear the teacher's voice in Charlie Brown saying, "Waah, waah, waah, waah, waah..."

What is this language you speak? How can one not "know how to sit and do nothing?" I feel as though it is the very thing I was created to do. I can sit and do nothing like a BOSS!

People usually laugh when I tell them I am inherently lazy. I know they think I'm joking, and I understand why. I'll be the first to admit that my life does not have the outward appearance of being managed by a lazy person. I take great pride in that simply because it means that somehow I am managing to go forth most days keeping my slothful ways nicely tucked in and hidden under a veneer of competence and productivity. That feels like a pretty huge victory.

It always feels good when you can move about in public and safely assume your crazy isn't showing.

But seriously, I get it... I might not be lazy in the way most people think because in the end I always get done what needs to be done. I think the thing is that I am lazy but disciplined.

If I set an expectation for myself that my house needs to be tidied up and cleaned, then I will do just that. If I tell myself that some form of daily exercise is a non-negotiable, then I'll squeeze it in somewhere. If I declare that only savages would leave the dinner dishes sitting in the sink overnight, then I will muster the inner strength to restore the kitchen to an appropriate level of civility before retiring for the night.

I do these things out of a sense of discipline and because in spite of my internal desire to spend most of the day lying down, I do not actually want to live in squalor and on a diet of cold cereal and Doritos. (Okay, actually that sounds delicious. But, again, discipline....)

I make lists, lots of lists. And I take enormous pleasure in crossing things off those lists. Because you know what I get to do once everything is crossed off of my list?


And that is when I really shine.

My life mantra.

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