on being lazy
This is one of my favorite quotes, courtesy of Edith Wharton:
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.”
I think by most people’s standards, I’m actually pretty hard-working.
I have a fancy college degree, a nice programming job, and biking
across America under my belt. But I have no ambition to accrue lots of
wealth, or become a respected leader of a field, or to radically
innovate, or otherwise leave my mark. I don’t even want to travel to
gain new perspectives or become a true citizen of the globe or what
the hell ever. It all sounds so tiring and uncertain, and slavish to
other people’s notions of “good.” Too much trying to be somebody
impossible, rather than doing the things that are possible for me.
If you’ve ever read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy,
you’ll recall that some of the characters have a supernatural animal
companion, called a daemon, that represents their soul’s true nature.
For example, people with bird daemons are free and independent, and
dog daemons signify a loyal and social personality. My daemon would
probably be a cow, ambling about and eating grass wherever he found
it. That cow is content.