Sunday, November 23, 2008


There is a Christian song, a very old one, called Tomorrow. In it, the singer responds to Jesus' declarations and invitations, "Tomorrow. I'll give my life tomorrow. I've thought about today, so much easier to say, tomorrow..." and on and on in the way that is expected of a non-committal procrastinator. In the same way that procrastinating sinner is assumed to meet their doom for having eschewed the gift of salvation when it was available, I know my life is slipping off the rails when I both fail to plan for tomorrow and put things off until then. There is a point in almost every day when I simply give up on the lofty goals (laundry, bathing, food shopping, house tidying-these are my lofty goals) from the previous evening that I wake up in the morning dreading. This is why I end up staying up all night when I get anything done. It takes me all day to gather the energy to actually do something in the house and the trip wire is usually activated at night when the prospect of a tomorrow with the same things left undone becomes unbearable. It is such a needlessly painful experience but I simply can not help myself. No amount of self awareness both of what I'm doing or the pain that it causes serves as motivation to change my behavior. The one thing Dr. Awesome said that I've been thinking about without wondering incredulously how she manages to stay in practice with people paying a $125 an hour to listen to her talk, is that when I explained to her that discipline to me is, 'doing it anyway' she said that disciplined people don't wait to want to do things, they just do it. It really wasn't much different than what I said but it highlighted pushing through a lack of motivation and being instead driven by principle. Then I re-read parts of the Rolling Stone article on David Foster Wallace and noted his spells with using discipline as a means of ordering his mind and keeping his demons at bay. Then I thought of the little slices of life that find me doing the things I ought to do with little thought and the feeling I had when I recognized that I was keeping house, grooming, and moving through my day with none of the usual angst. When I notice, I feel like I've just snuck up on myself and then I try my best to remain quiet and let me enjoy as much of this lightness as possible. I also wonder how long I'll allow myself the respite. I also understand why DFW would count among his happiest days, his time living in a closet of a room. It forces a discipline of necessity that removes the need to make decisions for one's betterment.

But I don't live in a broom closet and though I have purposely downsized my life, it still does not offer the cramped simplicity of DFW's digs. I think somewhere in the delta between my hyper idealized desire for discipline and whatever it is that won't allow me to have even a modicum of it in any sustainable quantity, lies an area of discovery that I'd love to understand. I sometimes think I misrepresent myself, that I go on and on about lack of discipline when what I really mean is a lack of perfection. No wonder I'm rarely happy with myself.

1 comment:

Kill Tandon aka Castron Dillon aka Roya Roya said...

"There is a point in almost every day when I simply give up on the lofty goals (laundry, bathing, food shopping, house tidying-these are my lofty goals)"- You. My only concern is the bathing part, gross dude. J/K, but seriously homey.. bathe.:) You are aware of some of your flaws yes, but don't let that stop you from seeing all of the things you have accomplished. Take some time to pat yourself on the back every once and awhile. And you can deal with that procrastination thing.......tomorrow, (rimshot)