Whilst pondering painfully over my lack of productive progress in life (despite managing to complete my previous blog), the pressure of doing nothing (or at least very little over the past 2 years) built almost to a breakdown last week (no exaggeration).
However, having being emotionally pushed (face fucked) to the wall, I had a revelation.
I’d always prided myself on being the queen ponderer and quite the philosopher, when suddenly I realised that there was no real area of my life (from housework to documentary making) that is being completed properly. This was a huge surprise for someone like me who imagined that they knew themselves intimately. There was a “perfect storm like” synchronicity of events that lead to this awakening:
Firstly was the obvious build up of stress and pressure that had been building slowly in my head from my constant lack of productive action. Secondly, my youngest teenage daughter had gone away to Irish college for 3 weeks, and I realised that my role as a mother in it’s present form is coming to an end (a role which is very comfortable to fall back on when you’re not living up to your own personal potential). And finally it was my birthday, I was 38 – only 2 years till 40 and what had I done with my life (for me alone)? “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?” my being screamed.
From incomplete audio docs, half finished canvases, to rooms and cupboards full of boxes and useless stuff at home. A general lack of ordiliness and cleanliness pervaded every orifice, which I rightly understood in that moment to be a manifestation of my brain. Rather than being a philosopher I concluded; Jane you are a LAZY BITCH! The realisation was actually quite liberating. What kind of spoiled mess had I let my self and life turn into?
In tandem with this, was a growing knowledge that I have been wasting money. This waste of money; whether it be through just forgetting to bring bags doing grocery shopping (and hence thoughtlessly buying plastic bags for 22 cent each) or just willy nilly buying plastic bottles of drinking water for whatever they cost (amongst a host of other wasteful acts) showed a lack of respect both for money, myself, and the rest of humanity and life.
This was not a new thing. I remembered my Mother nagging the usual motherly quips as I carelessly squandered things as a teenager, “Jane be sure to marry a rich man.”
“Of course” I’d think smugly, “sure it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t, because I am destined for great things and riches myself! If some lucky sucker is interesting enough to come along for the ride, then lucky him.”
And of course I didn’t marry a rich man, but I don’t care. And not because he’s some poor churchmouse but I love him so much. No, rather it’s because I love him dearly, he’s an average earner, but still I spend way beyond my means and have a lovely life– except they’re really his means, because he’s the earner! In other words I haven’t learned or earned too much on the financial side of life, and have been only too happy to shirk off the financial responsibility onto someone else.
(I’d like to note here, before I get too hard on myself, that I still have made infinite valuable contributions to our family and home life).
So, to recap, here were my revelations, a) I was a lazy bitch, not necessarily a philosopher, and b) Waste and laziness are intrinsically linked. Waste is laze in all of it’s forms. You might think “sure yeh, I’ve always known that, it’s obvious!” I would have thought that it would have been obvious to me too. But it wasn’t and it hit me hard.
So, in the midst of all the fear and inertia that had brought me to this point, I had to resolve something. How could I start to extract myself from the shitty web I’d cast over myself? After much soul searching I came up with 2 resolutions: I resolved to COMPLETE. I resolved not to WASTE.
On the completion front, I am going to finish what I have already started. From the unfinished audio docs to the hotpress full of fossilised sheets. They will be done. They will get completed. And not only will they be done but I will try and show some reverence to the labour and time that I give them. In other words I will try and be present.
I will combat the wasteful nature of myself into a more productive and hence mindful person. I will not buy what I won’t use! I will not buy what I can do without. I will not use or buy that which I can improvise upon and use or consume in a similar fashion. This is not because I am turning into Scrooge. This is because I am developing respect.
Nor will I waste time, the worst form of waste. Hours wasted unproductively in front of screen watching crap* Hours spent on the phone talking crap. Hours worrying; thinking crap.
I can feel myself feeling better already. I cannot unlearn what has been revealed to me last week. A sense of productive urgency is exposing itself to me and a sense of presence is unfurling in my consciousness. I believe these two resolutions will have a massive impact on my life. I feel at nearly forty I am growing up.
*note that hours sat in front of a screen watching something brilliant such as the TV drama Breaking Bad is not waste but merely appreciating great art and hopefully learning something from it. However at 4am on your fourth succesive episode, then that’s where greed sneaks its ugly head in! But that’s another blog.