A Dutiless Year

This last year taught me a lot about living. As a classically trained Christian who was obsessed with a dutiful desire to be obedient to God by expressing charity and love, I’ve always felt that it is rather difficult to be a decent human being. And that thought extends far past that thought and into ambiguous territory like the difficulties of: reading the right books, feeling the correct emotions, using my time in the right ways, or having the appropriate self body image.

Anyone who has the background that I do loves programs because they give a life rubric that is easy to carry around in your pocket. For those who know me well, I’m sure you’ve heard me reference Quadrant 2 (from 7 Habits) or codependence (from Codependent no More) quite a few times. The not so easy, but task focused, philosophies within self help books have always offered me an out for my unwillingness to be disobedient to those aforementioned ambiguous rules.

And though they may have made me a good, or successful, person they have not made me a person worth being in the company of. A drone will always make a lousy friend.

Don’t get my wrong: I’m writing this article now because of my need to see it as a task accomplished. Tasks are not inherently wrong, but they are highly addictive and in so being become life dominating. They are the mechanics of the day to day, but nothing more. In looking back in my life, I would hope those day to day trees are forgotten for the sake of the forest.

If you were to die right now, what would be the feeling texture of your last moment? […] Are you so absorbed in some task that you would hardly notice death upon you? — David Dieda

So, as I begin this year, I’m trying to take more opportunities to celebrate my failure at keeping to all the lofty goals I’ve set for myself in 2014. Any disenchantment with tasks is a cause for celebration, especially if your grand tally of tasks kept was hindered by a grand tally of moments lived.

There is no way to turn loving someone, or becoming a decent human being, into a series of tasks. That act is achieved in the being, not in the doing. And if being takes all day, at the cost of disrupting a pattern of doing that you’ve long hailed as an indicator of success, I’d consider it a day well spent and a pattern rightly sacrificed.

Has your task addiction built blinders that limit the vastness of your vision? — David Dieda