I\’m at the kitchen table, sitting on a bench next to my roommate\’s half-empty 18-pack of Rainier, eating pan fried beets for lunch. This is not a typical lunch for me.
I spent this morning with fragmented attention.
I edited a story I wrote two years ago (Terry).
I rewrote a general cover letter.
I applied to three different positions—one of which I am interested in.
I spent a lot of time browsing both Craigslist and the internet at large looking for places hiring in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This last part was mind-numbingly depressing. It doesn\’t look like there are a lot of jobs in Santa Fe, and rental prices are seriously bloated.
I think I know what I am doing wrong: I\’m trying to fantasize about the future rather than plan for it. I think the smart thing to do is to take opportunities as they come; that\’s the lesson I need to learn right now. I will adjust as time passes. Every single moment has its virtues and opportunities. I should focus on making the most of what today offers.
Today is going to be no better than I make it, so I\’ll try to make the most of it.
I had an idea sitting on the porch listening to Modest Mouse. I was thinking of ways that I could contribute to my local community. Writing seems like it would be a good way to do it. I made a reddit post on /r/seattle seeing if I could volunteer as an English/writing tutor for free. I\’m still waiting to hear about that.
But then I had an odd idea.
It might be a little bit dangerous. But it won\’t be boring.
I was thinking I could just go to a rough corner and bring a book—the kind with a lot of homeless people. I was thinking something something odd and/or poetic the first two that come to mind are Bukowski and Heraclitus. They\’re conversation starters to say the least.
It might end horribly, or it might just fizzle out. It\’s worth a try.
I tore my favorite jeans throwing a frisbee a little too excitedly in the park with Dan. The gusset is blown out. The plan is to get the jeans repaired. But before I tore them, I had something come to mind. It started as a line from Bukowski\’s poem The Laughing Heart but the idea is also mixed in with my having read Plato\’s Symposium earlier in the day.
your life is your life.know it while you have it.you are marvelousthe gods wait to delight in you.
That last line is the one that stuck: the gods wait to delight in you. I\’m going to see if I can unpack my thought here.
Dan and I are not good at throwing a frisbee with consistent accuracy. I\’d say we\’re average at best. So, it\’s not like anyone is going to enjoy watching us throw a frisbee. On the contrary, if we were any worse then we would be an eyesore. So, I was dragging myself down thinking that we were pretty lame compared to a real athlete. And that right there is one of my biggest personal challenges—comparing myself to others, \”better\” or \”worse\” than myself.
But then I took the comparison one step further. I compared a prime athlete with the gods. The best athlete can\’t beat the gods. And that left me a little bit perplexed.
We take delight in the best athletes because they are the best among us.
But do the gods delight in the best athletes? Or more fundamentally, do the gods delight in the world of the humans? Now the root question, why does it matter if I do something athletic? Where is the value?
I think the answer is found in aesthetics.
Different feats of athleticism each have their own unique aesthetic—feeling, texture, and form; the contemporary word is vibe. Alternatively, a hippy-type might say that each different sport has its own energy. When we\’re playing sports, our being/consciousness/soul/subjective-experience takes the form/vibe/energy of the sport.
Here are some examples:
A football player is brutish (in a cool way, obviously).
A golfer is cool and focused, precise.
A long distance runner is steady and enduring.
A sprinter explodes.
A surfer skims.
Me, a frisbee thrower, aims and adjusts (and misses).
When we take these forms, we are taking part in the gods\’ delight.
And when we think about these forms, like I am doing right now, we lose our ability to enjoy them because our heads get cluttered with language instead of the athletic/aesthetic form.