You know that old saying, “You can never be too thin or too rich?” Assuming both things things are valued as good, having more is always preferable. Always. Without even thinking about it, we nod. Oh yes, more please.
I’m thinking about that this morning because in talking to friends earlier today I commented on feeling kind of paralyzed by all this space, all this volume, all this time, all this possibility. At the moment, while we’re fixing up Heaventree and still doing basic move-in, when Marc is here Friday through Monday evenings we are working pretty hard, and non-stop. Around noon on Mondays I start thinking about the coming days, while he’s back in the city — I’m here all by myself, the whole house, the whole outdoors, all the hours, filled with opportunity. I love the solitude, I relish all the moments of silence, the hours spent just with myself. I think,
- I’ll read and take notes, really engage myself — maybe one of my philosophy books, something that makes me think!
- I’ll write!
- I’ll finish knitting my sweater!
- I’ll unpack two boxes/day!
- I’ll organize all that fabric and think about a lap quilt to make!
- I’ll make something for my grandchildren!
- I’ll spend an hour practicing my banjo!
- I’ll take my big camera out on a photo walk!
- I’ll bake bread!
- I’ll go exploring our property!
- I’ll take notebooks and a thermos of coffee and sit by the creek, maybe draw!
And yet you know what I do? I go upstairs, turn on British TV, get out my knitting and then just start playing a game on my phone. I will literally do that for 10 hours. So I’m not even paying attention to the television program. The game can’t be ‘won;’ it’s a Tetris-type of game, so you just play it until there aren’t more plays, however long that takes, in a loop, and then you play it again. The day ends and I feel just awful. Frustrated, worthless, empty, except somehow also full of anguish. I wasted a day! A day of my finite life, and a day so filled with everything wonderful, all the possibilities. It’s not like I had no options. It’s not like I was in a situation that just had to be borne through, like sitting in a hospital waiting room for news. Nope. I had a whole, beautiful, rich day, and more interests than most people, and I squandered it.
Creativity flourishes against constraints — this is the basic idea of all those creative ‘reality’ programs, Top Chef and Project Runway, etc.: sure, if you have a bottomless budget of time and money you can do anything, but what if you have only $50 and an hour, hmmm? Or a tire and a chain, hmmm? I do have plenty of constraints (primarily a scary lack of money), but my musical instruments are sitting right there, and the basement is full of yarn to knit and fabric to sew, and the outdoors is gorgeously just right there, and my camera is in the windowsill, and my books are shelved finally, and I have flour and yeast and my couche. I am so so frustrated with myself.
If you have any suggestions, thoughts, ideas, I would love to hear them. Just going all Nancy Reagan on it — Lori, just say no! — hasn’t been working. This feels ridiculous, I just want to slap myself and say STOP IT! Snap out of it! Just DO something! This ain’t trouble, you want to know what trouble is? OTHER people have real trouble, this is an embarrassment of riches and I am humiliated by my waste. Aaaaargh.