In Which Andrew Arenson Discovers the Purpose of Life

So recently I held a little contest to come up with a caption for a photo, and the winner earned a guest blogging spot here. Well, Andrew Arenson was the winner, and here is his guest blogging spot. You can read his winning entry here, if you like. Thanks, Andrew, for participating! Everyone, enjoy this thoughtful post. I intend to get back to my gothiness series later this week, but it’s finals, so, you know, I’m mired. Cheers!

Yesterday I had an urge to go bowling, but I have no idea why.Sure, I liked bowling as a kid, but for many years now the thought of bowling has left me at best indifferent: Something I might do if friends were doing it, but not something worth seeking out.

It’s surprising and somewhat unsettling how often I do things that are supposed to be fun not because I’m really looking forward to them, but for other reasons — often just out of habit. Do I really like this series of books, or am I just in the habit of reading them? Do I really enjoy this gaming group, or am I just in the habit of playing? Am I really going to enjoy this dessert, or am I just in the habit of eating it?

Is this depression? Not enjoying things that at one time brought joy? Or is it distraction, perhaps? A sense that there is something important to be figured out, such that everyday niceties are keeping me from growing and evolving. Keeping me from learning and deciding. Keeping me from moving forward and on.

If so, why did I want to go bowling yesterday? Maybe I know the answer to that: Yesterday was different. Yesterday I woke up, sat down at the computer thinking that I’d take care of a few things before getting to my various tasks for the day, and then came out of my fugue five hours later realizing that I’d been sucked in and done nothing on my ‘list.’

Not that getting sucked into the Internet is all that different than many other days, mind you. What made yesterday different was that I decided to just take the day off. I wasn’t going to worry about the things that ‘needed’ to get done. I wasn’t going to worry about getting exercise, buying holiday gifts, or transferring video from tape to disk. It was mid afternoon and I just wasn’t going to worry about what else I got done.

I ended up watching a movie on DVD that had been sitting around the house unwatched for years. Bowling was in my head because I’d seen the Nerdist special where they bowled against the Doctor Who cast.  And, out of nowhere, it just seemed like it would be a ton of fun. So, I called up some friends and we went bowling.It was good. I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t life changing or anything.  Just enjoyable.

And now it’s the next day and I know I can’t do that again. I can’t just take another day off. Can’t afford to! Things wouldn’t get done.

Those things that are distracting me are doing so for a good reason.  Some of them are common, everyday things that just need to get done — go to the grocery store, etc — and some of them are more philosophical — what do I want to do with my life, for instance.

Yes, there are things I can do to limit the distractions, both small and large. I can decrease my unnecessary commitments. I can resolve philosophical issues. But can I ever completely eliminate them?

Can I reach a point of flow where I harmoniously move through life, both enjoying the moment and confidently progress towards a meaningful whole?

Dunno! Probably, not, but I’m going to try.

And that, I suppose, is the point of life.

2 thoughts on “In Which Andrew Arenson Discovers the Purpose of Life

  1. I have had a similar issue this week when it became clear that my to-do lists, nobly intentioned though they are, were utterly ineffective. I wasn’t using them appropriately as lists, but rather as mental clearing houses for the zillions of things I would do if I had an infinite amount of time and rather limited amount of responsibilities.

    Glad that’s over… 😉


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