My wife tells me that she thinks I have Borderline Personality Disorder. “Just a few hours ago you were saying how much you love just being home, how much you have everything you need here and now you are saying that you do not do enough with your life, that you and I are not getting enough done, that we are lazy and that you are very dissatisfied with everything.”
I tell my wife that I think she has Bipolar Disorder and is addicted to her iPhone. “I don’t know what it is with you. You go from being really energetic and all over the place to being depressed and sluggish. There is no in-between with you and you are continually checking your iPhone! All through the day you cannot stay away from it for more than ten minutes at a time. It is a full-on addiction you have!”
When we are sitting around in our living room we usually end up getting into it like this. But then she will do something nice or I will say something that makes her laugh and then everything will be all right. For a bit. But then I will say stop eating the whole bag of chips or please stop making a mess or get off your phone and then our problems start all over again.
You see, I am miserable in my life. I try not to be and sometimes I succeed. But for the most part I can’t get any goddamn satisfaction (unless I have two or three drinks in me). What is my problem? Why can I not just sit around and be happy at rest? This feeling that there are always things to get done or things that I am avoiding getting done lingers around in me. This feeling like I am not doing enough, that I am letting things go, that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing follows me around like a bad cold. The strange or dysfunctional thing is that I usually do nothing about it.
You see, who I really am is a frustrated Layabout. A Layabout is a person who does not want to do anything outside of certain things that are subjectively enriching for them (reading, listening to music, napping, eating, going for walks, watching pornography and on and on). A Layabout is often seen as the kind of person who is very lazy. Who does not get much done. Who prefers doing nothing. A frustrated Layabout is stuck in between. They want to be better about being happy in a state of non-doing but there is a part of them that feels like they always need to be accomplishing something. It is a tormented state to be in.
Doing nothing, going nowhere, interacting with no one, letting time drift aimlessly by– this is what being a Layabout is all about. It is about getting nothing done except being present with the moment by moment non-directed flow of your life. A Layabout gets great pleasure from being free of all obligations, all things that must get done. The difference between a Layabout and a procrastinator is that a procrastinator is pissed off and self-hating about all the things they fail to get done whereas a Layabout does not care. A Layabout has completely given up and let go. They do not care about making more money or achieving more of anything really. There is nothing more important than just being free from everything that needs to get done, letting the world go and drifting through each moment of life. In a society obsessed with work, what a liberating experience being a Layabout is when done right!
Doing nothing. Existing in a state of complete idleness. Letting things go. Just watching the afternoon pass by. These are remarkable experiences that are highly underrated in a culture that is obsessed with accomplishment and getting things done. These poor people always running around trying to catch their own tails have no idea how nice it is to just let it all go. To say, fuck it, who cares. This is the fundamental philosophical principal of the Layabout.
Fuck it, who cares that I have not returned those emails or text messages. Fuck it, who cares that I am months late paying my taxes. Fuck it, who cares that I have lost my drivers license and have not bothered to get a new one for months. Fuck it, who cares that I have for years failed to get myself life, health and car insurance. Fuck it, who cares that I have not gone to the dentist or gotten a colonoscopy. Fuck it, who cares that I have not bothered to pay my bills or fill out necessary paperwork for an extension on various loan repayments. Fuck it, who cares that I have not done all the paper work I need to get done for my job. Fuck it, who cares that I have not become more successful in the world. Fuck it, who cares that I have not yet published novels. The list of fuck it, who cares goes on and on.
Strangely enough, this is actually a very enjoyable and enriching way to go through one’s life, if a person can avoid getting upset with themselves about all the things they are saying fuck it, who cares about.
You see a Layabout knows what is most important in life. A Layabout knows that life can end at any moment and all the things that humans preoccupy themselves with ultimately are futile and do not matter in the end. A Layabout does not get caught up in any of it but when they do they turn into a procrastinator or even worse- someone like me with Borderline Personality Disorder. When this does happen the Layabout needs to tell themselves to relax, to return to a present moment state in which they are not worried or unhappy about anything. They need to go take a nap, listen to music or just go sit in their backyard (if they have not lost their house yet) and watch the day go by. Just let it all go man, let it all go.
Who cares about doing things. Doing nothing is the ultimate goal of any real Layabout. Just being free in this moment. This is what matters most. Let the future take care of itself. Fuck it, who cares. Just drift. Society fills us with so many unnecessary things that take up so much space in our temporary lives. Fuck it, who cares.
But I can’t stop feeling like there is all this stuff I must get done. I need a drink and it’s only noon.
“Hey Honey, get off your fucking phone and do something with your life!”