After a fruitless attempt to see the fireworks from our neighborhood on the 4th of July, Tobia and I came back to our building and found this pamphlet tacked to the community message board. It was apparently published by the Institute for Making Infinity Comprehensible.
You know those things you struggle with, Chelsey? The question at the heart of all questions? Here’s a pamphlet.
As the pamphlet explains, here I am, one of 7 billion people awash in the sea of possibilities that make up our days, but no matter what I have or where I go, there is always MORE. More, more, more. So should I follow my passions and desires endlessly, never settling, or should I seek inner peace by turning away from desire and embracing gratitude for all that I have? If you don’t pursue your deepest desires, how can you be sure you are doing so in the name of peace and not cowardice? But desire is perpetual. We can’t continue to desire things once we have possessed them, so we find new things to want.
Oh, pamphlet, you know me so well.
But this isn’t a story about the 4th of July, it is a story about the new year and how I plan to live it. In 2012, I only made one resolution: wear more leggings. It was my most successful resolution ever. So this year my resolution is only one word, and it is really more of a manta: Action. As the back of the pamphlet says, under a heading of the same name:
Here you are reading this pamphlet instead of taking advantage of the few productive decades left in your life. [The pamphlet is harsh.] Do Something, and make it worthwhile. It is time to make this count. Look at all the other amazing things people are doing. You don’t see them reading this pamphlet.
Hear, hear! Well said, pamphlet! Action it is. Career action, love action, even action action, as in feet on the pavement. But this doesn’t mean I am abandoning gratitude and peace in favor of desire, it is just that I realize more and more that it is action, not stillness, that really brings me peace. So this year I am zeroing in on the things that trouble my mind and eliminating them, whether it is the towels that won’t fit in my kitchen drawer, the shoes that want to run or the tightness in my chest when I walk into a bookstore and realize that nothing there has my name in it, not even the magazines.
This year, may you find the question at the heart of all of your questions and the pamphlet to go with it. May you take action!