Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mustering the Muster & The Listless Life

I have tried to muster the whatever it takes for me to write on this blog a few times this past month to no avail.  For whatever reason, we all seem to wax philosophical, possibly poetic, and (for some) full of hope for what lies ahead when an arbitrary calendar system shifts a number upward.  A 3 is a 4 now, and we're all suddenly better, brighter, bolder, and braver.  While my tone may sound negative toward this annual renaissance that seems to sweep through many of our lives, I actually feel that it doesn't seem like it hurts. I mean, what's so bad about all of us looking at our past 365 (or 366) days and thinking... "What happened?"  "Did I like what happened?"  "Can I make things better?"  "How can I make things better?"  ?  Nothing.  Nothing is bad about this.

I've spoken of the sort of apathy I've felt toward my religion of late, and I think my apathy miasma has extended outward to encompass the usual customs of self improvement, personal ambition, and seeking a higher plain of living that permeate my general environment and culture.  In other words... I haven't thought once about resolutions until just now when I thought about blogging.  I still don't know if I have anything to say about them, if I'm going to make them, or what they'd be.  I guess I'm just remarking on how odd it is that I haven't thought about them.  A few years back I thought quite a lot about them because I gave the New Year-ish lesson in priesthood about setting goals, etc.  I wrote an elaborate list of ideas for changing almost every "important" aspect of my life.  ...I'ma dig those up right now... found them:
  • 1.    Run or lift weights at least 2 times EVERY week.  
  • 2.    Develop my abilities to be understanding within my relationships.  Start by striving to let my mom know how much I care, and with [Insert name of a girl I was dating here] and any other personal relationships, make sure I listen to needs.
  • 3.    Say a prayer before leaving the house EVERY day.
  • 4.    Attend the temple at least once per month.
  • 5.   
    • A. Get to church on time each week.
    • B.  Attend all three meetings.
    • C.  Prepare to learn as best I can from each of the hours.
  • 6.    Be more comfortable bearing my testimony to those close to me, and then, therefore, be able to attempt to share the gospel with others.
  • 7.    Write in my journal at least once a month, and bear my testimony of the things the Lord has blessed me with/the experiences that have grown my testimony.
...Evidently I was pretty set on looking at the church and life accomplishments as a check list.  If I check all these seven boxes off... I'll be happy and righteous.

Well... I wasn't happy. No matter how good I tried to be, I could never find happiness.  I only got more and more depressed.  I'm happy now--I truly am.  How to explain that?  Maybe it's the apathy?  Maybe it's that I've finally figured out why I could never really identify who I was?  Maybe I'm finally free (for the most part) of the crushing anxiety I constantly felt about others' opinions of me?  Maybe I've rid myself of a church I didn't believe in?  I think most likely, it could be that I'm free of the checklist.  I don't have these boxes that must be checked for happiness to ensue.  That eternal marriage box loomed so so so large.  I just couldn't seem to get the pen anywhere near it to remove it from the grand list of happiness-providing stuff.  Checking boxes didn't really do much for me, really.  I think I got a false sense of comfort and got pride that I could show off my checked boxes to others.

So, shall we just get to the big finish?  This year, I'm going to live free of a check list.  I'm not going to try to squeeze my life into that shape that my culture, you, and even I have spent years telling me to sculpt it into.  I'm after happiness, and I suppose that this listless (hmm... that has multiple meanings, don't it?) life is how I've come to find it.  I'm still trying to also conquer the enigma of love along with all this happiness and general contentment... but that's another story.


  1. I agree. Lists can make life lose its luster. But lists and checking things off is what we were raised doing in school so it's hard to break the habit! Best of luck for your 2014!

  2. Someone else had the idea of having motto for the new year instead of a list of goals. I really like this as it has the potential to be bigger and broader and farther-reaching. I am, by nature, a list maker, but I think I'm going to try the motto instead. Now to just think of one...

    "The enigma of love..." Amen on that one, friend. Let me know if you figure that one out!


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