Joy? Check.

I recently spent a night at a quiet, little B&B, high on a hill in the woods, away from all the hustle and bustle.  In the guest book, I read entries from prior guests.  One of them thanked the gracious hosts for providing a place of such peaceful solitude, going on to say, “I finally got some pleasure reading done!”

Now, I don’t doubt that this person did do some pleasure reading (there wasn’t much else to do), and that she enjoyed it.  What struck me was the language she used, because it implied that pleasure was something on her to-do list, like grocery shopping or going to the dentist.  She “got it done.”  I don’t mean to harsh on her, and I assume this was just semantics, but that’s kind of the point.  The (subconscious) choice of words seem to reveal the psychological impact of a (sub)culture so focused on work and accomplishment that even happiness was just another thing to get done.  What else was on her list that day?  Laughter?  Expression of love?  Spontaneity?

Life is not just a to-do list.  John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”  I like that one, but I don’t mean to dismiss goals entirely, just to keep them in perspective.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
~ Ursula Le Guin, from The Left Hand of Darkness

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