A notable realization came to me after I woke this morning. It isn’t a surprising one, and I suppose I’ve known it for years, but it really struck and motivated me this morning; it gave me the inner joy and peace that I strive for. That is, that nothing cosmic will happen if I don’t wake up today at the appointed time. Nothing will happen if I don’t go running. I can call in sick to work and still get paid (Ahh, paid-sick time). Actually, I did call off my volunteering at the the Pacifica Radio Archives yesterday, guess what…Nothing happened. Nothing will happen if I don’t write another blog entry. Nothing will happen if I don’t go house manage Wounded this weekend. Absolutely nothing will happen if I delete my to-do list. Let’s go even further and say nothing will happen if I throw away my books and all the little knick-knacks I have around here. Nothing will happen if I flush my fish (don’t worry PETA peeps, they’re immortal), all of it is just stuff. I can get up, put on some jeans and walk to San Fransisco right now, I can stay in bed all day. I can go to McDonald’s right now and get ten double cheeseburgers and eat them as I walk home, tossing away the wrappers any which way; nothing will happen if I stop being a vegetarian. Nothing will happen if I don’t do the reading for my Information Science class or stop going. This train of thought can go on for a long time just the same, but you understand, the bottom line is that I (but I should really say WE) have so many responsibilities that not being carried out will hurt no one. Think about it, can you stay in bed all day today? Can you just go?
I draw the line at responsibilities that directly involve other people, the kind of responsibilities that if you don’t do, others will be hurt. Sure, if I don’t go to work someone will be stuck with a bit more work, but honestly, thinking about it, it’s clear that it won’t make that big a difference (people have called in sick when I was there many times). Some people have jobs where their presence does matter, and that is a responsibility that cannot and should not be shrugged off, the consolation comes if they love what they do. Same thing with children.
So why do I stay involved with my life? I don’t have to; nothing will happen if I leave, for a few weeks at most.
That answer is because I care about the responsibilities that fill my time; I like my job, I like volunteering at the Archives, I like the fish, I like house managing Wounded, I like being a vegetarian and I like my IS 201, this and the many other things that I do. I enjoy them, they add something to my life. Sometimes, when I’m watching a TV show, or looking at something ridiculous on the internet, or loafing around fiddling with stuff I realize that I have better things to do, I don’t have to do them. I can loaf around all day. But I like them. That’s why I do them.
So what is the final answer in all of this rhetoric? Consider what you’re doing at every moment and ask yourself if you would be better off doing something else. Understand that mostly everyone can get away with doing nothing for a few days without irrevocably damaging their lives, but most people don’t. If you get nothing else from this, get this: the things you do are finally and truly for yourself, certainly they effect other people, but they can only be motivated by you. Make the most of them both for you and those around you. Trust that if you don’t do anything, nothing will happen; the world continues to turn and it’s a big world. You’re small to everyone but yourself. We’re all worlds within ourselves. But that’s a different story, I don’t feel like going into it now so I’m not going to…See? Nothing happened.