Seize the day

I can spend the day in between self-belief and fear. There’s nothing to prove, and nobody sitting there in judgment, but the day is long and there is nothing to hang on to.
I might begin by believing that I can do what I want and with diligence and care, I can be good at it. I might believe that I am OK because others show me that’s what they believe. But I can fear the loss of that self-belief. I can fear the space I have between now and decrepitude, between disintegrating faculties and death. I can fear the judgment of those who thought me better.
So it’s a circle or maybe a spiral of self-analysis, assessment, evaluation and justification. The spiral rarely winds upwards.
I’m good at finding tasks which self-justify. Fillers, duties, amusements and identity markers. Make a dozen mugs. Go on Pinterest and find some clever new ideas someone else came up with for where to tuck the used teabag or how to stop that little tag on the end of the string from falling in the cup. Or even come up with a new mug idea, such as how to make two mugs lock together so they can easily be carried in one hand by an old man who needs his other hand to hold tight to the banisters when he’s taking his and his wife’s early morning cuppa up to bed.
You see? This self-justifying act fulfills so many things. It fills time. It potentially makes money, assuming said cups are popular, and it sends a warm feeling through the sentimental tunnels of love which allow us to see the old man and his wife of sixty years in their love nest.
I can spend the same day chasing people to chase me. That means either generating marketing messages for experiences people might want to tune in to, or it means asking existing customers to consider whether they want more of what they’ve had. There’s always a string of vaguely engaged ex-customers who have rosy memories, or need prodding to get on with the projects they’ve been meaning to start. I can go through the list of touch-points in my life and see who they touch, liaise, massage, re-visit.
Is that what we are? Marketable entities, which interface with our audience at touch-points? Perhaps that’s a valid way of looking at our place in the world, and a way of deciding what we need to do to affect it.
I can spend that same day in passive stimulation, which feels informative, perhaps inspiring, but is still ultimately passive. Reading, watching TED talks, surfing sites on Big Data and its implications for mankind. Whatever. I come away with a more replete brain, without anything good and new planted or attempted or thought about. Does this passive process affect my active process? Am I inspired to use it to change the way I treat the world? I’m not convinced, but then as someone hugely impressionable, perhaps I change through this. Thinking about Elena Ferrante or Johnathan Franzen, or the latest TED evangelist, I am undoubtedly moved, educated and inspired. It must rub off.
You can spend the day being needed. You can work hard to make a living. You can engage more thoroughly with those who love and interest you, because that is your modus operandi, your raison d’etre. You can be needy, vulnerable, assured, supportive, attractive and attracted. Why can’t I?
So this is a hiatus when it comes up and bites me in the face. This is the space between one meaningless gesture and another, or between one clear-cut journey and the path that peters out, between one false start and another, between one over-reaching dream-state and its concomitant fall to earth.


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