It’s my birthday this week, and let me say this right off: I’m not one of those self-effacing, ‘aw shucks, doing nothing special’ types. That’s something else we could learn from 4-year olds. Bring on the cake! Bring on the Party! Pin the tail on the stripper!
It’s not that I expect the world to stop for me, but I think I should at least stop for me. We’re on this planet for a reason, and it’s kinda hard work, no? Sure, it can be a blast too, but just getting these high maintenance bodies through the day in one piece is an achievement, not to mention any self-actualization-type goals you might be harboring.
So please, my darlings! It doesn’t matter whether the world sees you as a success, a failure, or somewhere in between. Give yourself at least one day a year to celebrate your awesome, beautiful efforts in shuffling through this mortal coil.
Whether your idea of celebration is going to the movies alone, climbing a mountain with your dogs, or dancing your legs down to your knees with two or two hundred of your closest friends, do it! And make sure to give yourself a big old ‘Attaboy’ or ‘Go Girl’ pat on the back.
What’s Inside the Magic Box?
Personally, I give myself a birthday present every year. In the past I’ve given myself books, jewelry and other tokens, but this year I want more creative time. Yes, I have a lot compared to many people, and yes, damn it, I want MORE.
I talk about time a lot because there is just a ridiculous amount of stuff to think about and do in our culture, and it can be distracting in the extreme. I’m not even talking stupid; I’m talking fun, interesting, and worthwhile stuff. Obviously we want to cut out the pointless time wasters, but at some point we (the creatively ambitious) may even have to choose among activities we truly enjoy.
So the gift I’m giving myself this year is 5 extra hours of writing time every week. How? I’m giving up TV.
It’s not that I watch that much TV, but I do watch some, and I especially love The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I mean really love them. Brilliant, biting political satire mixed with healthy doses of pure silliness. I bow before the genius.
Satire Soothes the Wrath, But…
I heard once that in the old days, sometimes the bards would satirize someone so thoroughly that when they’d finished the person would kill themselves in shame. (In Ireland? It must have been. Who had better bards than Ireland?) Unfortunately none of our politicians or pundits have that kind of sensitivity (or sense). Not that I really want to see anyone driven to suicide by comedy, do I? (Hmmm.) No, probably not. I just really like the idea of death (or at least dismemberment) by satire.
Satire serves an important moral function, especially in these days of shameless doublespeak. Watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report allows me to simultaneously keep an eye on politics, the chicanery and splang of the fimiculous species that inhabit Washington (notice how I kept that clean?) while being assisted in laughing instead of crying at same.
I Want the Whole Pie
Sure, seeing hypocrites publicly exposed provides some snacks for (the probably less-than-enlightened) part of me. But the full monty would be getting these two books I’ve got in my pocket released. And maybe even a third by the end of the year.
I won’t have to give up TV forever, and I’m not saying I won’t occasionally even sneak a peak in the meantime. The point is that I’ve decided to change my regular habit from The Daily Show to my daily show, and gain five hours worth of creative time every week.
That’s twenty more hours of writing a month, 240 more hours of writing a year. Even for someone who writes as slowly as I do, that’s probably at least a first draft of a book and I have to say, much as I love comedy, I can’t imagine even God’s own stand up routine comparing with the feeling of holding a completed book in my hands…or three.
Anybody else out there ready to give themselves a gift in 2013? (and you don’t have to wait for your birthday to start, feel free to jump on board my birthday-mobile). What tasty morsels would you be willing to give up now, if it meant you can have the whole pie next year?