Living creatively in 2008

The basic premise of his second book is that you have to be creative in your life and not trade your personal freedom for a boring, secure job.

I’m back at work and trying to sort out some goals for the year, now that a sixth of it is gone.

I’ve given up on the old favourites – lose six kilos, build triceps, drink carrot juice, tone abs. What abs, chirps a little voice within. I know in the core of my being, beneath my abdominals, that my favourite exercise for 08 will involve walking the shoreline and watching the sun pop up and go down.

Okay, a switch of focus—paint the house, trim the plum and quince trees that are fast closing in on the kitchen, create some order out of the wonderful bushy chaos that surrounds our new habitat.

Worthy goals all of them, but given the track record, impossible to achieve. All the gurus tell you that goals must be achievable, bite-sized, cumulative and measurable so you get some irreversible momentum going.

I foresee a long road of grief and disappointment.  I shall not go there. How many roads there are that lead to nowhere, says James K Baxter.

Perhaps some work-related goals are in order—greater efficiency, more workplace productivity while achieving unprecedented worklife balance. Whew!  It will be a mountain to climb just getting beyond the words. It sounds a bit like trying to get more by doing less. And it sounds like even if I do achieve these goals, work isn’t going to be much fun. There will be scarce time to have a cup of tea and make idle chatter with the workmates. It sounds like work will be what I do when I’m not living.

And that is not an option, now that I have read Tom Hodgkinson’s provocative little tome, How to Be Free. This is a follow-up to his best-seller, How to Be Idle. I recommend both.

The basic premise of his second book is that you have to be creative in your life and not trade your personal freedom for a boring, secure job.

‘Career’, says Tom, ‘is a posh word for slavery. If you get consumed by your job, you are going to become shockingly narrow, and useless at most other things.’
This apparently is the fate of more men than women. Brothers, we’re dropping like flies out there. Bury yourself in work for too long and you’ll be buried yourself 10 years early.

Scary stuff and I’m convinced. The goal then is breadth. Creative living on many fronts. So here we have it, my goals for 08
• put down a vege garden
• learn the mandolin
• seek inner peace
• take up cycling on the Miramar peninsula
• use fresh herbs in my cooking confusion
• check emails no more than once a day
• spend more time doing nothing
• drink tea
• read poetry.
Speaking of poetry, how about a goal of living by the spirit of this poem by e e cummings:

I thank u GOD 4 this most amazing day,
4 the blue dream of sky
and 4 everything that is natural, which is infinite,
which is yes.

How to do this is another story. Ideas are more than welcome – they are desperately sought.
Michael Fitzsimons is a director of Fitzbeck Communications.