Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The fun principle

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I'll quit the day it stops being fun". Or "it just wasn't fun anymore, you know?"

For a long time this made sense, but upon further examination I’ve decided I don’t buy the fun principle. While I do consider the pursuit of happiness should be central to everybody’s life, I believe true happiness is a thing with substance.

The false sense that you “deserve better” (“deserve” – such a dangerous word!), that life is supposed to be a great big party, leaves me wanting.

More importantly, I believe that if I expected it to be that way I would set myself up to be regularly disappointed.

What I want, a lot more than laughs, to be amused or to be playful, is to live in a place (within myself) where I’m always learning. Where the fear of failing at something is never what is guiding my decision to get involved in it or not. Where I have people to love. Even to be surrounded by things – simple, useful things – that I consider beautiful.

That seems worth sticking around for.


1 comment:

Carol Miller said...

After reading this entry I am encouraged to share an experience that defies rational explanation, but was nonetheless sublime, and I believe, as you do, that learning something new every day is the most exciting thing there is. (I also think making a violin and playing Bach takes precedence not only to soccer, but just about everything else, but I did love your entry on the list by the Polish poet.) Now...to my experience: I had a very serious, difficult and absorbing translation job, which was also urgent. I don't know if the subject matter had anything to do with my experience, in which case it was a sequence of circumstances, because I had just finished four weeks at forced-labor pace, completely rewriting and revising a text of my own, that had to do with comparative mythology, and it was so fouled up that no one but me would ever have known what I meant, so obviously the revision had to be mine. Then I got the translation job, which had to do about comparative religion. Both are among my favorite topics. And I was really impassioned with all of this. I was getting up at 4 a.m. and pushing my language skills and brain focus to the limit, but I was happy about it. My clarity of mind was astonishing, and I made great progress, until the day I delivered the translation job. About an hour later we were driving someplace, I was in the car and quiet, and I was suddenly pervaded, perhaps invaded, by the most uncanny sense of serenity. I was truly placid. And then it happened. I felt myself to be weightless, filled with light and joy. It wasn't until much later, however, that it suddenly came to me, when I remembered the title of a long ago book by Milan Kundera (which by the way I never read, since I never could get into him), as I comprehended so clearly, "The Incredible Lightness of Being". Does this happen with meditation, for example? I've never been able to meditate, maybe because I never had the time. Maybe it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it might never happen again, but even though it's indescribable, here I am, trying to describe it. Awaiting comments.