I have been proud for some time that I knew Lydia McDonald back when she was a total goofball, before she became the sort of person who writes a thoughtful, well-considered response to the violence in Norway. Here’s one of the nut sentences:
Would you not rather suffer the pain of the innocent than wonder if something you have said or done stole enough joy from another human being that they passed the pain onward until it found you again?
It is that culture that mocks love and empathy and praises violence in whatever form, from unkind words to machismo to enslavement to war, that allows for the construction of human monsters at all.
There’s more, and you really should read the whole thing, now.
When you get punched, and I speak from a long history of inspiring violence in others, most people focus in on the fist. “I just got punched! What the hell? Why did they hit me?” The key question is not the fist, but what to do about it. Are you going to wrap yourself up in a fight or are you going to get out of it?
Lydia’s response, and mine, is that we can dissolve the fist before it ever reaches our nose. This doesn’t always work – but neither does anything else.
“Someone has too much free time!”
My hackles rise, my humours boil, and my smile disappears when I hear this. It is a defense of sloth, a milquetoast reproach of work and effort and love. But this post isn’t about that horror of a phrase. It’s about the folks who use their free time.
The world is lucky to have people with hobbies, people with passions and obsessions. To dismiss their effort instead of appreciating it is an insult.
I have friends who work their day jobs, but also run Etsy stores, or take time to produce art or write frequently updated blogs. These people enrich the world.
They do not have more free time. They are just using it differently. Consider what we do with our free time, consider we are always approaching death, consider our time as a currency of the current – will we invest it or spend it?
Will you write? Will you code? Will you design? Will you play? Will you craft? Will you photograph ? Will you volunteer? How will you enrich the world?
Will you produce or will you just consume?
We don’t have to change our whole lives to do a bit more. Sometimes, all it takes is committing to one weekend. Constraints mean scaling back to picking a doable task, and then doing it.
I’d love to hear about what you are doing with your free time.
- Twanna writes about sexuality in her off time. Tove’s fashion analysis blog wasn’t a job requirement, but a work of love. Georgia is writing a book and hopefully I’ll be linking to the amazon page sometime. (back)
- Aaron fights in the courts for software freedom, then finds the time to make free software like identifox, the best identi.ca client. (back)
- Erica’s jewelry is great. I love her Birdie TV pendant. (back)
- Katie Hasty writes about the music for her day job, but also plays in Numbers and Letters. (back)
- Jess’s craft shop is a side gig, and Michela -how does she come up with all of these amazing quilts! (back)
- Oh, the photo geeks I know… They are so good, it is intimidating. Chris Restrepo, Darrick Coleman, Michael Mallin, Chris Acton – but you don’t have to be as good as those guys. My flickr contacts page is full of folks who are just making some art or documenting their lives. (back)
- Katie Schmid worked her ass off as a law student and now a lawyer, but still serves as director of the Newtown Creek Alliance. (back)