I was complaining to a friend of mine the other day about all the things that I had to do: a deluge of responsibilities at work, a torrent of administrative stuff for church. I’m inundated by events I’m supposed to organise, events I’m supposed to turn up to important family commitments. You know, sometimes life gets that way: where you feel as though you’re so busy doing the things you have to do that there’s simply no time left to do the things you really want to do.
My friend then said the strangest thing: “oh, well, at least it’s all good stuff”.
What did he mean and what other kinds of stuff might I find myself doing anyway? I have been musing over this for some time now and I have come to this conclusion: I don’t ever do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t mean that in a smug way either.
I remember being on the other end of the same conversation with another friend: he was complaining (among other things) about how he had to arrange his birthday party. Is arranging your birthday party something you’d rather not do? What would you rather be doing? Sitting around watching TV? Really?
That’s just it: we don’t do things because we have to, we do them because we want to. It’s something I have in the forefront of my mind now, whether I am sitting through yet another church board meeting, or frantically trying to do something very difficult in a very short space of time: I’m here because I want to be here. If I didn’t want to be here, I would be somewhere else. We often get so worked up about how we’re “wasting time” doing things that are not important to us when, time and again, it’s clear that the only reason we ever find ourselves in these situations is because it’s what we want to do.
Do what you want, and if you ever find yourself doing something you actually don’t want to do, challenge yourself as to how you got into this situation, then set about to do what you want.
I don’t mean that in a hedonistic way either. I don’t think for one moment that if we were given the opportunity to do anything we wanted we would spend every moment convulsing in orgasm while we stuffed our faces full of chocolate. That’s a rather bleak view of the human condition. We like adversity, we want to strive for something, even if that something can cause the occasional stress.
The picture is taken from one of those procrastination moments of mine when I decided that right then I didn’t want to be working on the weekend but rather lying on the beach.