All of my writing starts with a thought. My thoughts today involve entering a new phase of life. That new phase revolves around retirement and the lack of constructive activities as I wind my way to the ultimate resolution of life. After spending my entire life as the slave to another master, this new phase is theoretically one in which I will be my own master. Is that ever really true? As Bobby Dylan said, probably too many times as he often does, you gotta serve somebody. Well let me tell you, that somebody at this point will need to be yours truly.
And so, thinking about that new phase a few months ago, I decided to embark upon contributing my narcissistically self serving view of scientific knowledge back to the community by taking a teaching job at a local community college. It was all fun and games until I came to the stark realization that this was way too much like work. Believe me, when you are in a position that requires massive amounts of thankless preparation followed by endless hours of teaching, grading, and whining from angst ridden young people it is not nearly as glamorous as one might believe.
And so, now, after four months of that, I have decided that the new phase must commence. Whatever will I do with my endless supply of leisure time? Maybe the better question is, what makes me truly happy? Although booze certainly makes me happy, I am not sure that spending every waking hour drinking is the best solution to long term happiness. After all, most of my relatives went down that path, and I cannot say that any of them were very happy.
Music makes me happy, and playing music makes me happy. Playing music in front of people has sometimes made me happy as well, so I think I will continue doing that. Organizing bands and getting gigs used to make me happy as well. But these days, that particular activity causes me to be way too anxious.
Actually, I am sensing a theme in all,of this drivel. Whenever an activity involves some sort of anxiety, I am not happy and want to run away like a little mouse. My nature does not allow me to quit, so I just let the anxiety build until I can develop a smooth and non bridge burning escape route. I just can’t live with myself if I don’t let things resolve in a non destructive way. So maybe that is the answer. Pick things that require no deadline, involve little or no anxiety, and require no resolution.
Trying to think of activities that meet these criteria sounds like a reasonably non anxiety laden activity. I suppose I could spend my days developing such a list, but that seems a little circular in its logic. Nonetheless, I feel I must at least make a pass at developing such a list. So here goes
Hacienda on the beach in Panama
Playing music for myself and nobody else
Reading the great works of literature
Writing short stories
Writing in my blog
Writing a novel
Driving aimlessly around the country
Driving purposefully around the country
I suppose that these are the very thoughts that make us to long for the romantic. It may be that the relief from the anxiety and annoyances of life is the only thing that makes anyone truly happy.