Monday, November 12, 2007


I’ve spent a fair portion of my life avoiding reality. We all do it. We find a distraction--love, work, a hobby, a preoccupation, sex, drinking, computer games, gambling, our kids—-and throw ourselves into that person or activity which allows us to forget, for a few moments or hours, some dysfunction or unhappiness or regret in our lives.

And most of us—-if we allow ourselves to think about it (and we’re over 21)-—have things we regret, choices we’ve made or not made that, in hindsight, might not have been the best course of action to take.

If you think of the seven deadly sins, I think I would have to claim “sloth”, at least in those activities that I don’t find pleasure in. Probably like most people, I have difficulty doing those tasks that aren’t satisfying or that highlight some personal weakness or blind spot.

This is the most mundane of problems but one that has had a tremendous impact on the way my life has unfolded. I’m one of those people who slowly pull a band-aid off and the world rewards the yankers in life that act. I’m always kind of hoping that the wound will heal and the bandage fall off by itself.

My father called it “being lazy”. Having been raised in California, I thought of it more as “going with the flow of the universe”. It seemed dangerous to make a decision that wasn’t right and then have to suffer the consequences...better to let the universe/God show you the way than trying to fight the tide. It seems very passive, I know, but what I most abhor in life is frustration. And, unfortunately, to succeed at anything, you have to have a tolerance for a certain amount of frustration because most things are not immediately successful, there is a certain amount of trial and error involved. And when you grow up with a lot of judgment surrounding you, you try to avoid error at all costs.

This leads one to “play it safe”, avoid risk and injury, and have a less adventurous life than one might have had. Still, we manage to survive, we just live lives of little significance except to our immediate circle of family and friends. And maybe that is just fine. Surely billions of people have lived and died without making any discernible impact on the world except to procreate the next generation. But if you don’t have this kind of immortality, what evidence can you leave when you die that you ever even walked the streets, loved, were loved, or simply breathed? I still don’t know the answer.