Those Who Do Not


The meaning of life is just to be alive.  It is so plain and so obvious and so simple.  And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. – Alan Watts

I am 47 years old.  I have never been married, had children or owned a home.  My official collegiate career lasted exactly two weeks before I withdrew from classes and farted around Rutgers Campus for the better part of a decade pretending to be a student.  None of my paltry net worth is invested in retirement plans, 401Ks or interest-bearing accounts, virtually assuring that if I live to an advanced age, I will still be working and/or homeless.

What talents I do possess, I am content to employ purely in the interest of entertaining myself.  My diet consists mainly of pre-packaged garbage, I rarely exercise and I smoke like a house on fire.  To the dismay of those who feel that vices are something to overcome if not eschew entirely, I also have no plans to eat healthier, exercise more or quit smoking, nor do I admonish myself for these habits.

I might die in 40 years or I might die tomorrow.  It really makes no difference.  Having felt this mysterious energy we call life animating my rented corpse for even one moment will have made it all worthwhile.  That’s right, all of it: the disappointments, failures, rejections, depression, alcoholism, aches, pains, boredom, loss, tragedy — in the end, none of it was necessarily bad or good, but it was all a part of conscious experience, the most unfathomable mystery there is by virtue of the fact that it’s the only real mystery there is.

If it ever sounds as though I’m celebrating someone else’s achievement, this is only because I’m pleased to witness the momentary happiness of another person regardless of the catalyst.  Fuck the achievement, it’s just an illusion.  Beyond emerging from a birth canal at the starting line, there is nothing else to achieve.

The effort I put into writing this post that you’re reading was negligible, even for me.*  I suppose if the effort had been greater, the very message would have been rendered oxymoronic.  But so what if it had?

Despite everything I just said, those who have the wherewithal to pursue a career, a family, or any sort of successful self-improvement regimen are not necessarily fools.  If any of those things facilitate genuine happiness for someone, the only foolish thing he or she could possibly do is neglect their pursuit.  I concede to possessing a lion’s share of laziness, but I don’t apologize for it.  The secret to a contented life is not laziness or ambition; it is simply to remove the goalposts from the playing field.  Without goals or a sense of obligation to “achieve”, the playful and gloriously frivolous nature of our existence is at the heart of every action — or inaction — that we can possibly take.  If this is your mindset, you understand that life is its own reward and have reached the end of neurosis.  Enjoy.  Just be sure not to view it as an achievement.

*Since this is a re-post of something I wrote months ago for my previous page, the effort this time around was even paltrier.


15 thoughts on “Those Who Do Not

  1. You are so lucky to have kept women out of your life to give a greater “purpose…” LOL! Love and agree with your point of view but I am already putting too much effort into praising you…fading now…back to the nothin

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoy this blog. I love how you think. Good for you doing your own thing. To many people get caught up in being wage slaves and having stuff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wrote this back in March or April but I’m pretty sure you had just reiterated your tendency to make to-do lists in an e-mail or something and that became the catalyst for this. So there is indeed worth to your unaccomplished accomplishments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

    She was serious too, because this is from the end of her poem ‘The Summer Day’:

    “I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”

    That question has been needling me for months. I realized that achievements & solid goals weren’t it at all. I like your idea of removing the goalposts in order to play. It reminds me of another blogger’s idea to use goals as playgrounds:
    It also reminds me of my poem about playing on earth:
    I know, I know, the nerve of me reminding myself of myself. That’s some sort of narcissistic achievement. But I think, we are all onto something.

    My comment is probably trying hard, but, together with your post that isn’t trying too hard, equilibrium will kept in the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think somewhere in the middle of your 20-minute* active surge of indifference you stumbled upon a way to tell people something I’ve been trying to impress upon them my entire adult (since I turned 42, I mean) life.

    Find YOUR bliss. Not mine. Not the curmudgeon’s. Not mom’s or dad’s, or the preacher’s or Jenny Garth’s or the happiness you see only evident in Tide commercials, but yours. As Harari says of Buddhism, suffering comes from craving; if we overcome craving we overcome pain. Too often, we crave the life we do not have instead of enjoying the one we’ve got.

    Well said, in other words.

    *Or less, in this case.

    P.S. I worked a bit on my reply. I still have some cycles of rebirth to attain before Nirvana. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Funny, but 42 is the age I started thinking along these lines, too. I find that pleasing since The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy taught us that 42 is, quite literally, the meaning of Life, The Universe, and Everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Refreshing.
    Too often we hear people telling us to set goals and to work hard so we can achieve those. While some people succeed in achieving theirs, others succeed in not achieving much. Or rather not achieving much, which would be admired/ approved of by others.
    We should all do what feels best for US.
    I sure do things that I think will help me in the future, but then I realize that future has not been promised, so what’s the point?!
    If you don’t set goals, you don’t disappoint yourself. In that sense, that is definitely good. Also, then, any accomplishment is more appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s