Reality and perception

December 12, 2009

I’m lately finding myself wondering “where my time goes”. Not that I don’t know–despite being part-time, there’s plenty to do during the day. I think back to a desire I had in college to be a “renaissance man.” I think of Pascal, or Decartes, or any of the thinkers who contributed significantly to mathematics, spirituality, philosophy, and science. Human beings didn’t used to be so compartmentalized in their knowledge. Sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein wrote:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

I agree with this perspective.

I want to be able to fix the cars I have. I want to be able to hold a conversation about people’s lives. I want to sell some recorded songs I’ve made. I want to be able to grow a garden and identify the plants and animals around my land. I want to know the geography of where I live and the people around me. I want to be a better shape than “sorta doughy”. I want to be able to cook a great meal.

All these things I desire but I’m not sure if I’m working towards them properly-this is not a new problem, this is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I think deep down, in the back of my mind, I really believed that once I moved, once I would go part time, I would really make some progress on these things. As if I somehow would start my Real Life on a particular day. Or, if not Real Life, the life of the man that I wanted to be.

And yet, each evening, even though I am part time and not exhausted from a day’s work, I still find myself usually watching TV. Granted, I have a newborn, and have not been sleeping well. And, to be fair, TV itself is not evil-it can be truth, beauty, humor all in a half-hour. Particularly when the commercials are out the mix. My daughter should be (and is) my number one priority with a bullet. But somehow I don’t feel like I’m heading towards where I should be. The question that remains for me, is what does it take to grow in the direction that I want to be? What does it take to be satisfied with who I am and the progress I’m making?


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