Or stayed in bed with a pounding headache, the culminating apex of a comprehensive hangover. Although, I doubt God drank an entire bottle of wine when he was done with creation, and the parallel only gets worse. All I’ve done is exercised for 5 days in a row. Swam for 3, ran for 2. Push-ups here, and some crunches there. Again, this is part of my attempt to seriously construct a life worth living. It’s something I’ve been thinking about but putting off. After all, I’m in college.
Who has time to live a life worth living? There are demands. There are classes and experiments to run and jobs to complete and few volunteering stints and like hey, all of your friends want to go out to the bar tonight but really you just need a night to relax but if you keep putting everyone off eventually you won’t have a social life. This is just a short summary of the past 3.5 years. I always told myself that once I leave college, I’ll be free from a lot of these demands. And I don’t know if that’s true. I think it is–I see myself, living with my husband, in our humble condo or house, with our jobs and our love and ourselves and our time. Happiness through simplicity.
But I can’t guarantee that, and as my therapist noted, I’m so habituated to living a life I don’t find worthy that when I do have the time and the freedom and the simplicity, I might not have the habits to enjoy it. And beyond that, I’m forgoing developing my own sense of resilience. Instead of fetishizing this temporal haven that is always there, in front of me, I need to learn how to always live that life I think is worthy, regardless of circumstance.
The circumstances seem impossible. Finding time to exercise, to peacefully reflect, to have a private relationship with my boyfriend while living in a house of 13 people… it’s a challenge. And this sounds like the typical pre-college pep talk: you’ll have to learn how to organize your time and do everything. But I have succeeded by the eyes of heteronormative and academic standards: I’m about to graduate with straight A’s and high honors, with a fiance to boot!
The data (finally!): in progress, developing, but I think we may soon have enough to start drawing out proposed models and inferring a few hypotheses to test.
I always swim and run at a slower pace than usual. I’m finding meaning in the mundane, in one stroke and then the next and then the next, or finding silence in the monotonous beat of my feet against the pavement. I lose myself in the long black line on the bottom of the pool. I’ve changed my diet (ie: I only had mcdonalds twice this past week?). I’m reminded of Karen Armstrong in her book The Case For God, in which she argues that historically, most spiritual practice was done through ritual. Our idea of religious belief is so grounded in intellectualism that we have supposedly forgotten the attainment of spiritual knowledge through spiritual practices.
In forcing myself to change my life habits when I’ve had an excess amount of time, I understand how taking on different types of rituals and practices can change your outlook and perspective without any serious type of thought or reflection. I think this conclusion is intuitive but it’s not an idea we embrace readily enough. I think we all know that if we passively enter a cultural practice our attitudes, values, and perspectives will start to reflect those cultures.
To conclude, this is something we need to actively engage with more. What is the effect of our rituals? Spending 5+ hours surfing the internet is probably having implicit effects on us, and I think it’s only helpful if, as Socrates suggested, we start seriously observing our lives more deliberately. Is the solution to slim internet time, or to be constructive with it? The answer is probably both–how we do make passive internet surfing become more constructive, either for individual or community growth?
My own prescription for the next week: detail. Write out everything pertaining to what I eat, how I spend my time, and how I feel at set points during the day. I’ve done exploratory experiments in living a worthy life, it’s time to try and place a quantitative net around these attempts to understand them better.