I have a list of things that I need to get done; they are a crazy assortment of knick knacks.
A much gloried to-do list sits on the white board hung on the opposite wall of my bed so that I wake up to a motivational quote that I sought for myself
and a list of things I could get done, should get done, better get done etc.
Over years the items on that list have morphed in their own way and how!
They could be a steady slow indication of my evolution as a person or
the dissolution of the child in me.
What seemed to start with time tables has now stretched into work related things,
market shopping lists, some personal items that need to be bought,
or issues that need to be attended (read waxing schedules), reminders of birthdays,
a call that needs to go to my best friend who I miss loads but also equally miss out to call and drop a Hi.
Seems this is a story of most people my age and generation.
That day just before I hit my head to the bed, I remembered another to-do,
so I groggily got up, wobbled to the board and in an almost illegible scribble doled out “have fun”.
The morning after was as bizarre as most mornings are, a quick customary glance at the list told me the things I was supposed to do and the new task ‘have fun’.
What should have been a natural state has now become one another thing that I need to do with conscious and meticulous planning and that I can tick off once I find an avenue or event that can fall under that category and this realization put me in a part surprised part melancholy state of mind.
And now as I cast my sight on all those around me, I see them in the same boat, a generation of rushed people, running from pillar to post ticking off things on an exhaustive list that they themselves have made to ultimately feel productive, efficient, (and because the tasks on the list demand it) be happy. I don’t know yet how that exactly makes me feel. It’s too disconcerting a realization.
I find a moment of recluse, rest myself at an edge of a wayward chair and go into a bit of a flashback; I was raised in a house always active, full of people, full of seamlessly gelled energies of family and friends and replete in laughter. My mother seemed to work hard through most days providing for many people that so unassumingly ran to her sanctuary, my father and uncle worked hard through the week not exactly making ends meet but definitely with more urgency of needs than wants to satisfy.
And yet they also organically inculcated laughter and music and dancing and jokes
and literature and healthy and weird conversations in our days.
My parent’s youth that my toddler’s memory sees is that of hard work, close knit ties
and loads of enjoyment; something that just happened, not something that they had put on their to-do list ‘laugh with your child, teach her organic development of familial joy and ooh! Have fun’. Not really, not the way I remember it.
And here I stand, at an age at which they were with financial responsibilities,
not massive career options and not a lot of social freedom and
with a young child in lap! I have all the personal and social freedom,
no responsibilities of financial nature, nor that of a child to raise and teach and feed
and yet I don’t seem to enjoy the way they seemed to do.
Another parallel most people of my generation can draw
with the generation senior to ours.
In our rush to progress, in our changing definitions of success, in our thirst for attainment of all things we think essential are we somewhere forgetting things that can never really be on a list? Are we forgetting the fact that taking fruitful effort can lead to natural joy and that to have joy we don’t need to take special efforts? We have learnt varied means of entertaining ourselves, but not that of enjoying ourselves without much fanfare and plans? Do we have the art of enjoying the quiet, un-guarded, un-photographed, un-chronicled, private moments with ourselves and our dear ones? For my own self at least I have another ‘to-do’, to never put ‘have fun’ on any list ever. I have decided to go the Italian way; be productive and yet be the master of ‘bel far niente’ the sweetness of doing nothing…..