Friday, April 15, 2005

I think, therefore I am...

...struggling with the realization that I have become intellectually lazy. There, I said it. I have a litany of excuses, but the truth is that I, once a sharp kid, have not paid attention to or engaged in any pursuits of the mind in the last year or so, because I ceased making it a priority. Excuses aside, diving into, deciphering, applying and debating (how I love a thoroughly brain-jostling tete-a-tete) take a lot of time and effort.

Let me explain what happens when one stops engaging the mind. Important principles a person once held dear mean less and less until they do not matter at all. The straight lines of logic and reason begin to blur. It becomes easier to justify keeping the peace until one realizes that she has begun to accept or ignore the very things that once made the mind cry, "FOUL!!"

Procrastination is how it always starts with me. I intend to read a book or listen to a lecture my husband purchased for me months ago. Then I reason that I simply do not have time, then find something less demanding to do. I've noticed that the less taxing a task is, the easier it is to bundle it into a group of similarly easy tasks to be completed together (multi-tasking). The result makes me feel tremendously productive in the short term but means nothing in the long term. I begin to congratulate myself for the most menial things: Three loads of laundry washed and folded, kitchen floor swept, dog fed. TAH-DAH!! What is even worse is that with these non-events as my highs, I have to find some lower lows (sleeping too late, eating when I'm bored, mindless web surfing, etc).

Everything becomes harder. I wait until the absolute last minute to fulfill deadlines (though I do make them, it is stressful). I stop taking care of myself (eating well, walking, getting enough sleep). I get less accomplished and feel perpetually behind. In the evenings, when I should be enjoying time with my husband and children, I am playing catch-up with writing, a forgotten project or housework. Later, I feel guilty for neglecting my family. Eventually, a pattern emerges and I find myself adrift.

Living this way, it is impossible to enjoy the moment. I have not yet sunken into the bowels of depression or become one of those desperate housewives, but it is not difficult to see how easy that would be if I continued to exist rather than live.

The remedy: living consciously.

I won't share how I intend to do that, as that is more personal than I'm willing to get in this public space. I will say that is doesn't take a sweeping reevaluation and rearrangement of one's life to exact such a change. However, it does require a less than subtle shift in attitude (the rest follows), one that I hope is reflected in future posts here.

It's late. I'm going to bed. Thanks for reading.

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