Saturday, July 18, 2009

What to Do

I doubt whether our hunter-gatherer ancestors ever fretted over having a full stomach, a warm, dry place to sleep, and shelter from wild animals who might do them harm. That is, I think we’re probably hard-wired, as humans, to be content with contentment; I can’t see why—at least from an evolutionary standpoint—anyone ever ought to be worried that he or she isn’t busier or more in need of undertaking efforts that aren’t even indirectly related to continuing survival or well-being.

And yet, I keep finding myself vaguely stressed-out because I’m not as stressed-out as I think I should be. Here I am, for example, sitting on my back patio, in the shade, sipping coffee, and reading a book but instead of just taking in the relaxed joyfulness of the experience, I’m thinking that I ought to be writing philosophy or educational policy or working on my bikes, or cleaning the house, or organizing my sock drawer, or even putting together a 327 essay, just so I can tell myself that I’m not a complete and utter useless drain on the world’s resources, who is just taking up space and resources that would be better used by someone who is making a positive difference in the world through sheer hard work, determination, and intestinal fortitude.

It’s weird to think that nobody’s really counting on me to do anything these days, no students waiting for the papers to be graded, no colleagues expecting me to do my part on some administrative busywork, no fellow Union members needing my input on some tricky aspect of contract negotiations. Not even any clan members wanting me to join them in digging up tubers or chasing down a Mastadon.

All I’m really on tap for today is pitching for my softball team; oh, and drinking beer afterwards; then there’s that band I’m going to see tonight; and I’ll need to shower. Shit! How am I going to fit it all in?


Anonymous Ryan H. said...

I would like to believe that no person is a drain on the world’s resources. We may not all get the opportunity to change the world, but we all work in our little way to enhance the lives of the people around us and move the human condition forward. The book you read may alter your thinking on some subject and I may just benefit from that thinking. It’s the small things we do that make a difference.

12:00 PM  

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