One of the most difficult things for me to accept as an adult has been that life isn’t always a pursuit of growth and meaning. I push myself very hard to accomplish things that I feel give meaning to life and move myself forward in some way. I try to manage my time as efficiently as possible so that every moment I have available can be used productively—so I can make a difference in my life as well as the lives of others I care about. But, there are always these road-blocks—little things that I have to do that take up way more time than they should: grocery shopping, cooking food, cleaning the house, driving, this little thing and that little thing, walking the dog every day, replying to emails, etc. etc.
I know that some of you who are older are shaking your heads and smiling to yourselves. You already know what I’m talking about and have been experiencing it for years, but multiplied by ten for each kid you also have. Sometimes I get frustrated, and in a dejected voice, tell Michelle or whoever is around me at the time that I just don’t want to live or be an adult, there’s too much filler that has to be taken care of and I just want to work really hard and not worry about anything like money, food, responsibilities to other people, or “networking.”
With this new fire that I have given to my pursuit of grad school, I haven’t been the most kind or patient person over the last week. I’ve had little patience for things that seem to take too long for what they are worth, or that don’t seem like a very big deal to me. And, I realized how miserable and irritated I was. The past few days I have had to re-discover that patient, loving person that lives in the moment, yet still works very hard toward the future and managing my time as efficiently as possible. It has been good for me. It is the person who, in the past, has been that happy “I’ve got a secret…I’m pretty excited about life” person I love to be.
The following video really hit home for me this morning. One of Michelle’s co-workers showed it in a meeting, and she passed it along. Now, I’d like to share it with you. It’s about nine and a half minutes long. But, take the ten minutes and watch it. It is worth it. It reminded me what I’m working toward—not just a productive life—but, a productive and well-adjusted life full of happiness and the ability to smile at everyone I meet.
“This is Water” (an excerpt from a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace)