Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The third paradox

We returner to our sires exploring Gretchen Rubin's Nine Paradoxes to Contemplate as You Consider Your Happiness Project. We have already looked at the first paradox: accept myself, but expect more of myself.And the second: Take myself less seriously—and take myself more seriously. Today we will be looking at the third: Push myself to use my time efficiently, yet also make time to play, to wander, to read at whim, to fail.

Using our time efficiently is not always easy, and this is one of the areas where I struggle. Here is the bottom line we will die, our time here will end we only have a limited amount of time. Keeping this thought in mind will, if we put aside the natural horror at this thought, keep us on track and focused on our goals. That said efficient use of time is not about always having some accomplishment to point to but is about doing the things that enrich your life.

At the core of this paradox is the idea that what we want has less value then what we need. This is a fallacy. There are things we must do, because we made commitments, because the alternative is worse, or because they are a necessary function of life. Work, school, eating sleeping, helping friends move; these are all important things to do in life. They are not more important than finding the time to enjoy a sunset, read a book or do anything that makes your day brighter.

If all we ever focus on is the work we must do we are not living. The work supports the times of pleasure and let me tell you this here and now it is ok to seek pleasure. The pleasure we seek needs to be as enriching as the work that we do. Finding times of peace, creating memories with friends and wandering both mentally and physically are all ways to enrich our lives with play.

What are your favorite life enriching forms of play? Have you made time for them today?


Mark said...

You have done an excellent job examining this paradox. You are correct we must allow ourselves time to do that which we find joy in. It is okay and encouraged to do that which we desire. Desire is a good thing. Many think they will be more holy by depriving themselves, this is simply hogwash. We are here to experience, denial of self is to be of the walking dead.

Quinn said...

Denial is a fine tool for holiness when used correctly. The sacrifice of a pleasure to mae more time for meditation on wise teachings is an example. Denial just for the sake of denial however is a key to misery as much as over consumption is. Either way we are as you said turned in to a shuffling horde of walking dead.

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