Last night, when my husband thought it was wise to send me out of the house for some “me time”, I headed to my favourite bookstore to buy more smart books. As you can tell, I love smart books. I have bookshelves full of them, and a night stand nearly caving under the weight of them.
I had a gift certificate, so I could buy them guilt free.
I wandered through my current sections-of-choice – leadership, women’s studies, spirituality, writing, and inspiration – grabbed a handful of possibilities, and found a comfy chair to get lost in.
After flipping through a few of the books, I felt something familiar creep into my gut. A heaviness. A tight ball that was being wound even tighter by the seriousness of the books I was looking through.
“Ugh.” I thought. “I don’t want to read one more serious or smart book. I don’t want any of these.”
And in that chair, with my arms full of books, I started to weep. I wept because I suddenly realized that I no longer know how to find books that will bring me joy. I only know how to find books that will make me smarter, bring me closer to self-realization, or challenge me to serve the world with greater justice.
WHEN DID I BECOME SO DAMN SERIOUS?!?
It’s not just books. I listen to smart music too – music written by “social-justice-minded” or “plunging-the-depths-of-your-soul” folk artists.
And (I’m embarrassed to admit) when I buy jewelry, I find myself looking for some kind of spiritual meaning behind the symbols I wear, rather than just buying something for pure love.
I’ve even noticed it in my art journal. Instead of simply having fun with paint, I’m trying to inject meaning into every single page.
This is serious people. I think I have a disease. And I might very well be the last to notice it.
My dear friend Michele recently filled out a questionnaire about me (that I had requested) and she said some beautiful things that made me weep. What made me weep the most, though, was this: “While I admire your persistence and the vigour with which you approach your work, sometimes even your ‘play’ seems like work to me.”
Gulp. She’s right. I have forgotten how to play just for the fun of play.
I ask again… WHEN DID I BECOME SO DAMN SERIOUS?!
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this past year has been punctuated with serious things like a suicide attempt, breast reduction surgery, and the transition from employment to self-employment. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’ve spent the past six and a half years writing primarily about social justice issues and visiting some of the most devastatingly poor areas of the world. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’ve decided to build my career on the issue of wisdom and I feel like I need to be wiser than I am to do it.
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE! I have GOT to bring back my sense of play. It’s time for a shift, people. No, I’m not going to become a comedian overnight, or abandon my passion for wisdom, but I AM going to inject a little more fun into my life.
I started last night at the bookstore. I knew I couldn’t even trust myself to buy a novel (I’d probably end up with a tear-jerker set in war-torn Afghanistan), so I headed to the gift shelves, bound and determined that I would buy the silliest, most impractical, “make-me-smile” things I could find on the shelf.
And that’s why I now drink tea out of an elephant’s trunk and wear mis-matched socks on my feet. It’s time for a little FUN!
Because really, when it comes right down to it, what good is all of this wisdom if we don’t know how to laugh?
I hereby declare December the “Month of Silliness”. I am adjusting my mental image of Sophia – this month she’s got a big stupid grin on her face and she keeps bursting out in random giggles. When I put my head on her chest, I can feel the vibrations from her deep-body giggle.
PLEASE send me recommendations for books, movies, activities, WHATEVER, that are guaranteed to tickle my funny-bone and bring back my sense of ha-ha.
AND… does anyone want to knit me a tea-cozy? My elephant needs a colourful coat! 😉