Today is one of those days where I can’t seem to reconcile this feeling that almost every part of my life is distraction from what I really should be doing right now. That sensation has followed me though most of my life and I don’t rightly recall those times when it wasn’t present in the back of my head, but I know there were moments when it wasn’t. If I could recall those moments, I might be able to decipher what I felt was my “should be doing” purpose. But, as it is, I’ve never quite been able to winnow out what this “calling” might be, although I have senses of the direction it might lay.

But, as I said, today is one of those days where I feel profoundly dissatisfied, frustrated and out of alignment with whatever that “should” is. I feel like I am grazing the surface, tangentially, but not doing much more than getting scuff marks on the shiny paint job of whatever it is.

Whatever it is, I have a sense that it is completely “irresponsible” in nature. I use quotes around that word because, of the many words we use on a frequent basis, sometimes I wonder if that’s not one of the words that is so filthy with bias that we ought to question whether it should be applied to anything without provided tomes full of context to go along with it. By standard Western cultural understanding, I guess, just to avoid writing such a tome. Maybe by modern cultural standards, in general. Regardless, I have a feeling that if I were to walk down the path I ought to be walking, I would be branded by most people as irresponsible by the current usage by most people in America, if not the world. But… is it irresponsible to be following what you ought to be doing, or is irresponsible to avoid that thing to take care of those things society has deemed to be more valuable (regardless of the potential utilitarianist global perspective of the god-like all-watching-eye’s 10k view of the matter)?

Nonsense! I can hear it in the reader’s head already. Michael, you talk in streams of nonsense.

Ignoring such outbursts, I will continue to maintain that this grazing and picking up scuffed paint on my Lamborghini of psyche (I have pretty grandiose ideas of my psyche, don’t I?) is occurring with more frequency these past few months and I can’t quite shake the feeling that I ought to be doing something other than what I’d doing — to hell with conventions and assumed responsibilities — I should go off and do what I should be doing instead of maintaining the distraction of what I am doing.

In case you were thinking it was mildly irresponsible behavior I was thinking of adopting, it goes along the lines of quitting my job and building a tiny house in the middle of noplace and living the life of a hermit who earns a minimal amount of money doing some kind of trite hobby or craft (or writing, hardy har har har) while contemplating what a raven lured by my leaving of breadcrumbs outside my tiny home is trying to tell me, knowing it is of vast and deeply spiritual importance that I do understand him. Or watching owls in the trees at night as they wait for prey, hoping to learn something substantial from the activity. Or just doing the whole “chop wood, carry water” thing Jianzhi Sengcan (Zen’s third patriarch) raved about back in the late 500 CE time period. Although I suspect Zen plays a role in this irresponsible feeling, I think that it is little more than surface gloss.

No, as I write this out, I think it has more to do with the whole byline I picked up a month ago and started applying to my various online accounts — “shamanic word nomad”. Maybe “hermit” instead of nomad, mostly because I weary of travel as I’ve gotten older and the world has gotten weirder. But that conceptual idea feels right. I want to delve deeply into words, deconstruct, reconstruct, and manipulate language. And I want to understand the deeper mysteries of the world while I’m at it.

I don’t expect this will make much sense. And it certainly is irresponsible by many standards as I’ve lashed myself to many mundane commitments that seem irresponsible to leave behind. But I feel this might be something I need to do as I move towards retirement. As my initial idea for retirement seems to be flawed in the age of pandemics (café and/or teahouse with old man barista reading and writing when not serving beverages), I might have to give it serious consideration as an alternative. House will be paid off, kids will be grown up…

Hmm… Maybe I’ve started to finally figure this out in a blog post. Or, I could be chasing another pipe dream.

Time will tell, right?

6 thoughts on “Irresponsible

  1. I can relate to this feeling. It’s almost as if you’re on the cusp, and always will be, of your calling, vocation, or next big project. And there is so much noise, both from external sources and our own inner voices, trying to orient us in the right direction. From what I can gauge, it sounds like you are longing from some simplicity, whether in the middle of nowhere or behind the counter at a small cafe… keep leaning into those opportunities to experience simplicity and I am certain you’ll find your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I think that describes it perfectly: it’s as if I’m just able to apprehend something that is ever so slightly out of reach.

      It varies in intensity over the years, this feeling, but I feel it fairly acutely this past year or so and part of my wants to take a leap, knowing it is selfish, unreasonable, and unfair of me to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This made perfect sense and I do believe a lot of folks (especially in recent days) are feeling the same way. My opinion of the matter is that deep inside most people know that the “American dream” is flawed and brings ultimate bondage rather than freedom. There’s this thought of the “starving artist”… that it’s a pipe dream. That those who spend their days in contemplation and philosophy are “lazy and worthless”. Etc etc. as if unless you are bringing monetary value to the world, you are worthless. But to those who we have allowed to rule our world, that’s just it. We are commodities, numbers. But… we AREN’T. Not really. Not deep inside. Our value as humans far exceeds what we have been programmed to believe. We aren’t a faceless number. Each one of us is special and holds immense value.

    So this feeling of being on the cusp, as it were, is merely a sleepy awakening, bucking against programming, the desire to reach potential that IS there but we are told is out of reach.

    There is value and worth in living in that tiny home. In contemplation. In connecting with nature. THOSE are the natural things. Those are the things that we should be. Forget about gold and silver and the big house and electricity and status and cars and empires and legacies and live in now. Be. Be who you truly are… not who you are “supposed” to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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