Been thinking in terms of minimalism for the past several months, or so I told myself. I need to minimize my outside interests in order to concentrate on core commitments, like the three college courses I decided to take the Fall of 2012. That sounds fine. Minimize until all I have to worry about is family, school and work and I repeat that particular load of horse-hockey until I almost believe the lie I tell myself.
In truth, as hectic as school was, I was capable of more. Sure, my wife and I went on a cruise in the middle of the semester, and three classes should have been two classes instead, but to say that I was stretched would be, well, a stretch.
I can write five page research/ opinion papers all day every day and even with half a mind toward the end result, I am confident in my ability to get high marks. That sounds arrogant in the stark black and white, I know, and yet, being as old as I am, it is a statement more on experience than it is on quality. I know what the professors want and I worked out the formula years ago so it just becomes a process of plugging in the necessary facts in the correct sequence.
For example, there was one week when I found myself pressed for time with a thousand words to bang out and about a hundred or so pages of source material to sift through, spread among six or seven different sources. I finished that particular beauty in maybe thirty or forty minutes complete with citations and ended up with a perfect score from the professor. There was a time in my early college years that I would have sweated out that paper, agonized over the details and anxiously awaited judgement.
I’m different now, I just don’t want to admit that because then I would have to demand more of myself.
I would have to tell myself the truth.
I wasn’t employing intelligent minimalism in my life, I was being lazy.
A dearth of motivation, of commitment, of fortitude, of honesty. A dearth of engagement with life simply because I had a convenient excuse.
If I really had minimized my life, so as to concentrate fully on school, I should have sweated every paper. I should have pushed to be better than the limits of my skill I had already set years ago. I should have blogged, tweeted, written more. I should have spent less time mailing it in, as it were, and more time in trying to push beyond my limits, striving to see how far I could grow, risking failure if for no other reason than as proof that I dared.
So much more honest than anything I told myself in awhile. In the end, who really wants to say I was going to do such and such rather than I tried?