Sunday, August 17, 2008

To Do Or Not To Do Is Not Really A Question

He wrote it all out on a blank sheet of paper. He sat first at his desk, having had a long, satisfying bath. He felt clean and untouched by every day's grime. This way made it better.

He sat at his desk. He took out a pen from the pen-stand. Upon the clean sheet of paper, he wrote the title "LIST - Sorting Out My Life". He wrote it exactly at the center of the line, the line itself on the top of the page leaving a just correct amount of upper margin. Gravely, and with conviction flowing through his very fingers, he underlined the title. Twice. With straight, uncut, neat lines.

There. It looked good like that. Even looked good just like that, with nothing on the rest of the page.

But he had more to put in, of course, so he went on. Just as neatly, he left two lines' worth of space and on the left margin wrote "1". How to frame it, he wondered. With a close bracket? Brackets enclosing it? A simple dot? Nothing at all?

Simple was a good way to go. Minimalist also. More to the point, so to say, which was exactly how he felt at this point of time. Good. A simple dot would suffice. He added it.

He knew what followed after this. It had been buzzing through his mind for a long time now. The urge to make a list had become overpowering before he'd finally found the time to sit down like this and do it.

As he put down point after point, he felt the strain release inside him. That sense of dejection in life, that feeling of helplessness was leaving him. He would sort out his life. He would make sense out of his mess, finally. As he wrote, he felt the optimism creep in. Like the sun's rays slowly entering through a dusty window on a winter morning.

There was nothing to be gained out of being unreasonable about it all, he thought midway through point number 5. One must make allowances for slight inefficiency, not only on one's own part but also the part of others. Even the minor experiences of his life had added up to leave him with some amount of wisdom. Right?

So he gave himself some more time there. He expanded the deadline a bit. No use being so unreasonable. None at all. And it would feel so much better to properly complete the list with all deadlines met. So neat.

By the time he approached the end of it, he was almost joyful. Everything looked so nice. So bright and so cheerful. It could work. It would, he felt deep inside himself. That boyish optimism, from younger days, was blooming inside him and it made him light. Sitting back in his chair, he let himself drift into it. He let himself swim in it's currents. And he dreamed.

He dreamed of a beautiful life. He dreamed of working through hardships, staying up nights to study, eating frugally, and toiling through double-shifts sometimes. He dreamed of holding money well-earned and buying himself a little something with it. He dreamed of opening a savings account, and visiting it every month to deposit larger and larger sums. He dreamed of buying a car one day. He dreamed of meeting that perfect someone one sudden day in his life's journeyings. Of letting her into his life, watching her eyes expand in wonder as she saw how much he did and how good he was. He dreamed of being one with her.

He dreamed of reaching the top of the ladder, of being an old man of many, wealthy years. He dreamed of reading great literature, speaking four languages, and advising a gathering of adoring, wide-eyed younger folk. He dreamed of admiration behind his back, of respect and of the acknowledgment of his achievements.

The list would sort it all out. It was so neatly made, wasn't it? Every point, coming one after the other, explaining the pros and the cons, letting in subtle hints of the hardships that were to follow. He could preserve this list for posterity, until it was a yellowing, folded piece of paper, slightly torn at the edges. A symbol of his young days and a symbol of his rise since them.

He lay back in his chair and he dreamed of such things. Then he got up and left for his minimum wage job. He knew it. He knew he would come back that evening, drained of all energy due to the work and the commuting. The landlord would demand his rent, and be postponed by another day perhaps. He would forget about this list. He would slide onto his slightly molding bedsheets. And he would fall asleep, into dream's oblivion. Weeks would pass like this, without notice and without greeting, before he realized he was getting nowhere.

Then he would make another list. And he would dream again Like today.

It feels so good to plan a life, he thought. To structure a path to success. Execution is just such an anti-climax.

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