My mind seems to have two major modes of operation: Creative Mode and Analytical Mode.
Creative Mode is used for activities such as reading, writing, etc. It’s also used when I learn photography, when I design my personal web site, when I play certain games. This mode is typified by spontaneity, a casual release of creative energy just to see what will happen. It doesn’t care about the quality of the results; the important thing in Creative Mode is to be creative, to produce something.
When my mind is operating in Analytical Mode, it is more concerned with the way things are rather than their mere existence. I use Analytical Mode for programming, for non-personal web design (i.e. web design for Computer Resources clients), and for playing most games (especially card games). Less obviously, I use Analytical Mode when exercising and when editing material produced while in Creative Mode.
When my life is dominated by Creative Mode, writing is easy. Producing a daily weblog entry is limiting: I want to produce two or three or five! Creative Mode is expressive, and when my mind is operating in that mode I want to write and I want to share. However, when I’m in Analytical Mode, producing a single weblog entry per week can seem daunting. My mind wants to break things apart, not put them together.
Maybe that’s another way to put it. In Creative Mode, I assimilate things, construct them. In Analytical Mode, I break things down, deconstruct them.
Why do I mention this?
For the past week I’ve been operating in Analytical Mode. My web work for Canby Ford and Wilcox Arredondo took over my life, and I found myself living in the Analytical. No time for weblog updates. No time for reading. No time for anything but HTML and exercise.
I’ve finished my Canby Ford project though, and am nearing completion of Wilcox Arredondo. I’ve already begun to slip into Creative Mode. I lost the flow of Downbelow Station when I entered the Analytical phase, so I picked up a new book yesterday (Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk) and read a chunk of it. I also watched some of Magnolia. In the next couple of days I’ll resume work on this site.
I’ve been impressed recently with how much fun I have when I least expect it.
Most of my life is planned. Kris and I usually know what we’re doing for the next several weeks: who we’re going to dinner with, who we’re playing games with, when book group is, etc. These planned activities, while enjoyable, sometimes seem a chore. They take me from other things that are either more important or would be more fun at the time.
Twice recently I’ve participated in social events for which I had not planned. I had a great time at both events. Found fun. In high school and college, I was spontaneous, rarely planning my life more than a day in advance. As I’ve aged (and spent more time with Kris, a scheduler by nature), my life has become less spontaneous. Perhaps I need to regain some of that lost spontaneity. Found fun. I like that.
My most recent encounter with found fun occurred last Sunday. I had planned to spend the day completing my two web design projects, but when Joel and Aimee invited me (and Kris, who had other plans, and Mac and Pam) to their apartment for the Super Bowl, I casually shirked responsibility in favor of entertainment. I’m glad I did.
We had far too much food for only five people, especially considering that Mac and I are dieting. It was good food, though, and I ate too much. The game was exciting, U2’s half-time show entertaining. Best was the smart and witty banter that filled the room all afternoon. It’s been a long while since I laughed so much. After the game, we went to see The Brotherhood of the Wolf. I had never heard of the film (and probably wouldn’t have seen it if I had), but it was more entertaining than it had a right to be.
Found fun. Life should be more fun. Fun is the meaning of life.