The good things that come with getting older, came as a true surprise to me. I’m not deliberately ignoring the less-than-good things that come with it as well, but they weren’t unexpected. If I knew when I was younger how I would feel now, I still wouldn’t say “Ooh, I can’t wait”. No-one I know of has ever said that. And I doubt I would ever have believed anyone who claimed that being in the third era was actually okay, and even pretty damn good. Nah, I would have called bullshit on that. Yet, here I am, loving the renewed feeling of freedom and ‘me’, that seemed to get squashed during those middle years of making my way in life.
So, whilst I’m not coming out as gay, I have been pondering lately on the pleasures of being “idle and gay” – as in turning the frowned upon transgression of deliberately wasting time into a joie de vivre. I enjoyed the excerpt below from crime writer Agatha Christie’s life –
After four years of war-torn London, Christie hoped to return some day to Syria, which she described as “gentle fertile country and its simple people, who know how to laugh and how to enjoy life; who are idle and gay, and who have dignity, good manners, and a great sense of humour, and to whom death is not terrible.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie)
I’m pretty sure it was just the men Agatha was mostly referring to, as the women had neither a public life, nor much time to be ‘idle and gay’. However, the passage still appeals to me.
Learning how to swap out busyness for idleness and gaiety is a work in progress for me. Whilst I don’t know how to make a real art of this just yet, I’m now applying myself to learning it. Wasting time is an anathema, of course, in the world I grew up in, and still know. It breaks a whole bunch of rules – and that is something I’m finding a brand new love of. In my life, I’ve been the typical slave to constantly thinking of all the things that need to be organised and done. The thinking that goes: “If I don’t do it, no one else will, and then the world (as I know it) will collapse.”
Collapse was probably exactly what it needed.
Around about here, I could write a whole lot on the hot mess of trust, control, and being the self-appointed chief-worrier. And don’t start me on about carrying an unfair load of the domestic work! I know these things intimately, and they tend to be a great big downer on having a little idle and gay time. However, no need to dwell on that too much, now. Having some clarity about how we got to where we are is good, but we can’t change the past, we can only make changes from this point in time.
And what I’m really looking at here is a change of mind-set. My head is never quiet. Its over-busyness can wear me out. The ol’ body and mind aren’t independent from each other, after all. But I’ve tossed out all the inspirational mantras I’ve ever heard or read in the pursuit of trying to get my mind and body in sync – my only mantra now is “relax”. This is what I say to my head when I wake up in the morning, and it starts up. “Relax”, I say, and it does. I say the word several more times during the day – well, actually many more times. Not every thought I try to boss around with the “relax” command relaxes as much as I’d like it to, but it does remind me to wind it down a notch, and take a look at it.
For me, as someone who is a results-orientated person, this means not always thinking about the goal. And allowing there to be no goal sometimes – other than being idle and gay. Let me tell you that this is not all that easy for someone who has to see a purpose in everything. Even in having a good time. Gah …….. what a sucky confession that is!
So, I’m taking a leaf out the Syrian men’s handbook , and gradually learning the art of being “idle and gay”. (As an aside, if you’re interested in finding out how the word ‘gay’ evolved for homosexuality, here’s a link http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/02/how-gay-came-to-mean-homosexual/).
I’m also learning the essentiality of it being a part of life. And of the life that comes out of it.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to get soft, though. Hell, no! I wear my ‘old-bag’ badge with pride. After all, it’s taken me sixty-two years to earn.
A friend just shared this great quote with me: ‘The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time’ – Bertrand Russell.
Header pic at the top by Sitthan Kutty – https://www.pexels.com/@sitthan-kutty-322985