The Thanksgiving Advent Calendar, Day Nineteen: Being Busy (and Lazy)

I like to say I’m a lazy person, because I think I am: I’m a big fan of the principle of least effort for maximum effect. Some call that efficiency, but I think efficiency is frequently born of laziness, as in, oh God I don’t want to do this how can I do it so it’s over with and I can get back to shooting zombies? So, yeah: lazy.

At the same time, however, I like to be busy. Really busy. As in, I like looking over the next few years of my life and saying I know what I’ll being doing all this time. Right now I look at my life through 2014 and I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be writing, where I’ll be going, and how I’ll be spending my days. In fact I have quite a bit planned.

The question becomes how I square my impulse toward laziness with my desire to be busy all the time. I don’t think it’s actually that hard to do and in fact I think one feeds into the other. I know why I like to be busy: One, I get bored easily. Two, without going into great detail about it, having grown up on an economic yo-yo that alternated me between material comfort and depressing poverty, I’m a big believer in understanding that nothing lasts forever, at least not without a whole stack of planning. I’m doing well right now; I don’t have any faith that state of affairs will last. Being busy is a nice hedge.

Being lazy helps keep me busy because being lazy has taught me to, as much as possible, find the easiest way to deal with any single task, so I have time left to a) do other things, b) do nothing at all. Doing b) is actually important, since if I do too much of a) without it I become cranky and short-tempered and annoying and not a nice person to be around, and I work less efficiently, which is no good. So if I want to be busy, and I do, it’s not going to get done without also being lazy.

I like that almost-contradiction, the idea that the human quality least associated with industry is the one I think allows me to be as industrious as I am. I also like the idea that what many people would slot as a character flaw fuels what is generally seen as a laudable character trait. I think it points out the ying and yang of who I am and why I need both of these things to function. It also means that when my wife once told me “You are a man too lazy to fail,” I was deeply pleased, because it meant that she actually understood me. And would probably let continue shooting zombies whenever I wanted. As long as, you know, everything else got done.

I am thankful to be busy. And to be lazy. And on that note, I’m off to be busy again for three hours straight. I’ll be lazy afterwards, I swear.


Busy Day

Today’s my busiest day at the con with events going through 9pm, so don’t expect to see too much of me around here today. Will sneak in at some point for a short Thanksgiving Advent Calendar piece. May be rather later in the day. Don’t panic.