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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Insecurity

I confess it may sound like a pathetic bit of bragging – or at least fishing for compliments – if I were to say I am currently training for a half-marathon, getting started on writing a graphic novel (I’ve drawn the hero’s head!) and trying to learn to play guitar. Hell, I confess that when I put it that way, it makes me sound like some (delusional) college kid who’s decided this is the way he’s finally going to be a hit with the ladies. Or maybe somebody who’s making a conscious effort to have better party conversation available. The truth, I confess, is these are just things I wanted to do for years and over the past year or so I’ve finally gotten off my ass.

I believe completing each item was, in one way or another, part of my New Year’s resolutions in 2008 or 2009. I suspect I’ve talked about each of those activities multiple times in this space. After spending too long saying you want to try things, though, people stop wanting to hear about it. There’s a shift from “Oh, that would be cool” to subtle glances around the dinner table with an understood “He’s still on this kick?”

When the things you want to do – but aren’t doing – pile up, you find yourself in serious danger of just being a bore or a blowhard. Likely both. I mean, if you just settle into complacency to the point where you don’t even have ideas on how you’d like to be different, that’s one thing. On some level, it seems worse to have ideas for things you want to do and to choose inactivity out of simple laziness.

“What do you want to do?”
“Run a marathon. Write a book. Learn to play guitar. Learn to speak Spanish. Get a better job.”
“What are you doing?”
“Working my way through my DVR backload. Significant progress has been made.”

I confess this problem lived almost solely in my head. The above conversation never took place anywhere else (thank God). I don’t think anybody, even my wife, spent any time worrying about whether I was going to do any of these things. But to realize you’re falling short of the person you want to be – especially when many of your goals are easily within reach – is a grim reality and a very real problem. So gradually, I’ve decided to do something about it.

I confess the biggest reason I have for doing so is an offering of sorts to my wife. It’s just her and I in our marriage, as we are very likely not going to have kids. That means we’re going to see a lot of each other over the rest of our lives, and the vast majority of that time is going to be spent alone together. For that reason, I confess I feel something of an obligation to her to try to keep myself interesting.

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March 9, 2012 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional, shameless self-promotion

3 Comments

  1. I confess that I am starting to feel the insecurity you mention around a book project I’ve had in mind about the devil — any minute, I’m sure, I’m going to round the corner from “that sounds interesting” to “you’re a pathetic failure who never follows through on anything.”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | March 9, 2012

  2. I confess (prompted by Adam’s post on AUFS) that in college, the writing style I adopted for my campus newspaper column “Limited Ink” (stolen, you may have noted, from Derrida), had an egregious helping of Lewis Lapham-esque ironic dudgeon. The low point came when I devoted a column to wondering whether in taking Columbus Day off, the Daily News had Indigenous People’s Day in mind, or whether they were just merry with the explorer’s genocidal legacy.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | March 9, 2012

  3. I confess I am momentarily happy.

    Comment by Guido Nius | March 9, 2012


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