I recently got back from vacation (see my last post!) and one of my friends, as friends will, asked how I was readjusting to being home. I said, “On vacation, every day was about planning how much fun to pack into the day. I wish every day was about that still.”
My friend said, “So how does every day become about how much fun you can pack in? How can we get there?”
It’s easy to blow off a question like that, to joke permanent vacation or win the lottery or heavy drug use. It’s easy to give up, to accept the “real world” in which vacation is supposed to be different from regular life—the dessert, as it were, to regular life’s green beans and white meat.
But what if we actually think about the question?
So how does every day become about how much fun you can pack in? How can we get there?
. . .
I just spent two hours writing possible ways to “get there,” and then cut it all. Because it all sounds like shallow, vapid advice. I don’t want to be that annoying person trying to cheer you on with a bullhorn and cheap plastic pompoms while you slog through your wild, boring, challenging, excruciating, muscle-straining, eyeball-searing, hilarious, paradoxical days. Life is complex, my friends. I don’t have all the answers. Most days I don’t feel like I have any answers. Most days I don’t think there are any answers.
But I believe, passionately, in asking the questions. I believe in all the uncomfortable pushing and pulling and cutting and sewing involved in making a life. I believe in rejecting the status quo, pushing institutions towards change, and continuing to dream even when it feels like a bully has his boot on your neck and is trying to make you say, “Yes, I accept that this is just the way the world is.” I believe in eating the damn piece of chocolate cake and eating it slowly, savoring every bite. I believe in students majoring in creative writing, literature, music, art, and philosophy. I believe some of my days in the real world of work and home and bills and humidhot Memphis can be like vacation, if I remember to try to have fun, and tell myself it’s ok to want to have fun.
How can we get there? I don’t know. For me, maybe it starts with taking the dog to a nice park for a walk. Or a quiet 30 minutes of meditation. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start a “diary of fun,” a record and a plan. Maybe I’ll set a timer on my phone to go off every 15 minutes, each time displaying the very Buddhist message, “You’re already there.”