Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dimestore Philosophy

You know those people who say, “live every moment like it’s your last”?

Yeah, I totally don’t do that.

I mean, I see what they’re trying to say, with the whole don’t waste your life waiting around for the “perfect” moment or whatever. And I agree with it. But it sounds exhausting when you put it that way. And also a little depressing. How can you be all motivated, if you constantly think you’re about to die?

No, I have a completely different philosophy. And this is probably one of those times when I’m all, “You Guys! I’m brilliant!” and you all read it and think, “Err… Right,” but I think it explains a lot about me.

I live every moment as if I’m going to look back on it twenty years from now.

Because I plan to still be around in twenty years, thank you very much, and for another forty after that. In fact, I don’t have an upper range on my lifespan in mind, although a psychic once told me I’d die at 82. And I really hope I’m not dooming myself to getting hit by a bus this afternoon (Murphy’s Law and all that) but if I do, at least I’ll know that I wasn’t living my life in fear of that moment.

Nope. I’m planning to stick around. And Future Naomi will spend a fair amount of time dwelling nostalgically in her memories of her twenties. Know how I know that? Because Current Naomi is already a big fan of reminiscing.

Which is why, when I come up with a new scheme or grand plan or crazy whim, and people wonder where it came from, I’m usually all, “How cool will it be to say that I did that?” Because when I’m looking back, I want to have something more interesting to tell people than, “You know, I worked and watched TV and stuff.”

Also? Really embarrassing moments tend to make even better stories than the braggy “I ran a marathon stories.” So when something ridiculous happens to me (if, say, I impale my armpit on a wrought-iron fence), or when I do something idiotic (like, for instance, deciding to climb an 8-foot wrought-iron fence), I can always comfort myself with the knowledge that I will recount that moment repeatedly for years to come.

All of this goes hand in hand with the other pillar of my philosophy, which is that I never regret doing something, I only ever regret NOT doing something.

Like everyone else, I’m not a big fan of doing things badly. Especially if people are watching. But I realized at some point my regrets ususally center around things I didn't do, because you really don't always get a second chance. And because, if you try and it sucks, well, twenty years from now, it just won't be such a big deal. Either I’ll have forgotten about it, or it was so ridiculous that I’m still laughing. And if it works out, well, then I'll just be thrilled.

So I was smugly certain that I had Figured It Out, “it” in this case being “everything” or maybe “life” or just “whatever,” and I smirked and even foisted my solution on someone else in a comment on her blog. Which made me realize that I had no idea what I was talking about, because who knew if her decision involved doing something vs. NOT doing something. Maybe it was doing something vs. doing something else. And if the decision affects all your days for a long time, well, then I’m not sure if I could be certain that I’d never regret choosing to do it.

Except I still think this works (and I’m back to talking about me, no reflection on the other person). In reality, every decision is a choice between doing something and doing something else. I mean, I’m never deciding between, say, going for a run and ceasing to exist for forty-five minutes. It’s always a choice between running and doing whatever I’d do if I didn’t run, like say, munching on carrots ([lie] because that’s all I ever snack on, honest! [/lie]) in front of the TV. Which, sometimes, is totally the right decision.

But if I always try to frame my choices as a decision to DO something, rather than choosing NOT to do something else, then I think I’ll be happy. Because then twenty years from now, (or you know, next week) I will look back on a life that wasn’t a default value of not doing other things. It will be a series of things that I chose to do. Like watching eleventy-million hours of Friends reruns.


Don’t forget to check out this week’s Rundown chez Chandra.


Blogger lisa said...

hey, I read that comment in the other person's blog, and it is very cool that you expanded on it here. right with ya, sister!

6:48 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

Well said, sistah!
--that other person

7:22 PM  
Blogger partyrunner said...

im so happy i met someone else who enjoy snacking on carrots when she misses a run.
great post. i wholeheartedly agree.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

When I was a teacher...actually I've only NOT been a teacher for two months...I used to tell my students that life was a series of choices. I loved your post today.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Thank you. That entry totally made my day.

(Um, so why weren't you a philosophy major?)

8:33 PM  
Blogger a.maria said...

ok, i often times laugh out loud when reading other's blogs... but this time, on top of laughing, i read this "I mean, I’m never deciding between, say, going for a run and ceasing to exist for forty-five minutes." and i think snot just shot out my nose.

thats hot, right?! but i totally "get it" and love it and completely agree!

11:36 AM  
Anonymous ali said...

I love this posting. Couldn't agree more!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Very sage thoughts for such a young person - good for you! Also, good luck with the big race this weekend...I'll be with you in spirit. :-)

7:07 PM  
Blogger Wil said...

Wow - totally wish we lived closer. Would be awesome to run with you.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I have to agree.

Ya know I'd rather do something terribly at least knowing I had tried.

6:02 PM  
Blogger runr53 said...

So I gotta ask, What does Noames know about "dimestores"? LOL! Good post! I just went back and read your recount of the big one, it is "body low on salt" warnings in your calfs and hamstrings. Were your fingers all swollen too? Go check out Nancy's post on hydration / salt intake.

10:33 PM  

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