Thursday, December 15, 2005

Doing the Absurd

I once asked a friend of mine why he moved to Pittsburgh; he answered, “Because it was the most absurd thing I could do. Since the universe itself is absurd, I figured I couldn’t go too far wrong.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Like most people I try to plan my day and control all outcomes. Like most people I fall pretty short from my targets and goals. Budgets are not meant to precise, only approximations of your cash flow. The same is true of lists of tasks for the day.

Still, some days are better than others, in terms of hitting the items on my “to do” list. Funny thing though – my days aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad” based on how well I’ve done in completing the chores and tasks I’ve set for myself.

I am reminded of the saying: It’s not the days that we remember; it is the moments. Strive for memorable moments in your life.

Sometimes I feel like doing the absurd. I am kind of in that mode right now. I would have to be, or I wouldn't be on Blogit.

I have decided to go to live theater, a jazz concert, a caribbean music performance and two lectures, all in the space of one week. These are things I want to do, whether they fit my schedule or not. And since the weather has been unseasonably nice, I have taken time out to walk through the park. It’s nearly 70 degrees and Schenely Park is a golden path of autumn leaves.

My mother used to always say that she preferred living in a place where the seasons change, rather than living in a place that has “good” weather year round. I never understood her until now. I may not understand her again once I’m dealing with frozen water pipes in the dead of winter.

Still, my absurdity is reigned in by my work. There are deadlines that will not go away and the penalties for not meeting them only grow larger over time. There are things I know I HAVE to do NOW, in order to avoid having a real bad week or two down the road.

I suspect that doing the absurd may be cool for the moment – a great thrill for the short term – but one lives to regret it (many times over) as the years pass. A person must live purposefully. Life requires a plan. Yet sticking too closely to that plan can be too confining. It can cause one to miss life altogether.

Doing the absurd is like writing stream-of-consciousness rough drafts (like this one) as opposed to living a purposeful life, which is more like writing with an outline in front of you. But if I can never get done what my rational “to-do” list tells me to do, then why not fly off on a wing and see what adventures lie ahead?

If I cannot structure my days with efficiency, why not cram my days with events that interest me?

The weather will be nice again today. I will be kicking up leaves of gold and red this afternoon in Schenley Park. This evening I will attend an all-star Jazz concert.

The structure will have to return after that. The deadlines may not go away, but at least I will have moments that will make the larger process of life worthwhile.

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