My continued quest to “do nothing” — to be retired — is bearing fruit. In the month since I returned from my Arctic cruise, I’ve given myself the grace to do whatever I want to do in the moment without criticism or judgment. Many folks think this sort of attitude leads to wanton hedonism. It hasn’t with me. In fact, I’m less hedonistic with this attitude than when I’m forcing myself to adhere to a “productive” mindset.
Instead, I spend my time doing things that bring me happiness. Sometimes these choices are purely pleasure-driven, for sure.
- I sit on the porch with the dog. She watches the world go by (paying particular attention for squirrels). I read manga (currently working through Blue Period) or Nero Wolfe novels or philosophy/self-help.
- I walk downtown to catch a movie. It’s a 2.7-mile/53-minute walk to two theaters. One plays old films on Wednesday nights (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Stand by Me, etc.). The other is a living-room theater that plays first-run flicks like Barbie. Then I walk home in the warm darkness (which borders on magical).
- I sit at my desk and draw while listening to Taylor Swift tunes (lo-fi Tswift!). I’ve resigned myself to the fact that in order to ever get good at art, I have to be shitty at art first. Fine. Let’s get the shitty stuff out of the way. And let’s have fun while doing it!
But often my choices are productive. Sometimes what I want to do in the moment is to work on the house or yard. Sometimes I want to learn. Sometimes I want to write. Sometimes I want to work on this website.
The key habit I’ve been trying to build for the past two months is to stop judging myself — and others. My deep epiphany during 23 days on a cruise ship in June was that I’ve spent too much of my life being critical of everything and everyone, and I’ve been especially critical of myself. This has to stop. It serves no useful purpose.
I’m doing the best I can, right? What if other people are doing their best too? If that’s the case, then it’s mean-spirited and unhelpful to be so harsh in my judgment. So, I’m slowly learning to let it go.
Anyhow, just feeling a bit introspective this morning.
Typically I would post something like this to Facebook, but my aim is to discipline myself to publish nearly everything here instead. Today I remembered to do so! My goal is to make this personal blog personal once more. And a blog. This is a first step.