Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Circles of Commitment

(…and this is me)

"A man ain't an island / John Donne wasn't lying", sang Loudon Wainwright III, but don't we sometimes wish we could be? I have started to think of myself in a Venn diagram, at the intersection of many circles of commitment: worker, family member (leader, dammit!), home educator, partner, provider… These are roles I've undertaken by choice, and to none of which I am currently giving a hundred percent. And there are other, non-voluntary commitments that weigh in, too: tax payer, road user, tenant. Seeder. Am I sliced too thin, or taking everything too seriously? It ain't easy being a citizen of Twenty-First Century Earth.

I feel like the circles have me by the neck. The overlap is strangling me. Where is the inner circle? The singleton set with just me in it, and a good deal of white space padding it out? I have been trying lately to make time to do the things I really love to do – playing guitar, writing – and not just making style sheets (which I do love too, incidentally). But I end up spending a lot more time mindlessly doing SuDoku than would seem sensible for someone with so little time and so much to offer. Enough overly long TV series to blot my messy intellectual drainage.

I would dearly love to cut out some of those circles. But how? I've only really been playing the game of Western Civilization (one day I may write out the rules for this) for two years, and already I want out. A beach, a pad of paper, my guitar, and the kids playing happily: that would do it. Oh, and an infinite picnic basket.

I know we've never had it so good. (At least, we creatures of the West. Not sure about the people we stamp on to maintain it – are you having a good time in Nicaragua? in Liberia? Laos? How do the fruits of advancement sit with you? Is the yoke of Imperialism lighter than whatever was sitting on you before?) But having at least once been a socialist, I can't help feeling that it could be much better, right now. For everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too true. And Loudon is fantastic.

~Elis Reed

Saturday, August 18, 2007 11:02:00 AM  

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