Monday, May 20, 2013

Afternoon Sloth and Meaningful Work

"Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears."

--Benjamin Franklin

On days when my work load is light, I sometimes fall into an afternoon sloth, just laying about with my laptop beside me, surfing the web: movie trailers, Facebook, yahoo "news" stories that aren't really news stories.

You get laying down like that long enough, staring at that screen, and it becomes hard to get up, even when you aren't really tired, until the sloth becomes a kind of anxious restlessness, and you ask yourself, "Do I really need to know who's directing the new Chronicles of Riddick movie?" 

It's important to have things in your life to compel you up from afternoon sloths, I've learned.  Today, for me, it was Benjamin Franklin.  I've recently been reading his autobiography, and that dude did not waste a minute of his life.  He started a newspaper, a library, a fire department, invented things, read and wrote constantly, traveled, even brokered peace between warring nations.  That guy, Benjamin Franklin, made charts to fill his days with meaningful work.

And so, with Benjamin Franklin in mind, I got my ass up, grabbed the old Norton Anthology of American Literature (reading it in its entirety is a bit of meaningful work I've assigned myself this year), a notebook, a pen, and a sweater, and headed to a coffee shop to do some reading and writing, which is some of the most meaningful work I know how to do.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."  Amen, old Ben.


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