August 03, 2010


Mrs. VB’s parents just finished moving house. They experienced all the usual stresses and strains to be expected of this kind of endeavour, but last night was something of a singular marathon. An unfortunate series of events conspiring against them, and despite advanced planning, the entire abode had to be sorted, packed and moved in twenty-four hours. Earnest son-in-law and spouse answered the call, working for twenty-two hours, straight through the night, to get the job done. Along the way: thunder and lightening; plenty of heavy lifting; three close encounters with the neighbourhood skunks (some of whom were lustily engaged); and bacon and eggs. The result: a more than usually fatigued VB; two very sore hands; a number of bruises; one place empty, another full. My other work waited, and suffered little. The job at hand got done.

This was merely a night – two days, really – and something achievable, tangible, in the grand scheme of things, something easy. But to talk of moving house in such circumstances is rather a good way of conjuring the kind of attitude that facilitates good living, even where the goal is more nebulous, the intention less concrete, the outcomes not known for certain. We have, or should have, aims in life. How keenly do we pursue them? Do we invest our whole hearts into our relationships, jobs, sports, interests, the Thesis, the Book, the Opus; in short, do we take the reigns of our futures? Do we call it a day when the going is rough? Do we follow the path of least resistance, settling for less for the sake of ease and comfort? Or do we push through the thorns, the rocks, the landslides, and the rain, aiming for what we really want, risking failure for the sake of greater success? It is, I aver, better to get there late, battered and bruised, bleeding, hungry and thirsty, than not to get there at all.

We all tire, and, pushed to the limit, we wish to resign. Sleep envelopes us; we come to terms with defeat, fatalism, a panoply of failure. Our slumbers recharge us, but, on awakening, we must come to terms with chances lost, moments missed, regrets accrued. To pursue relentlessly; never to lose sight of one’s aims; to pay no heed to physical and mental exhaustion for the sake of a goal – such are the rare qualities of the indefatigable man.

1 comment:

  1. Doctor, you remind me of TR on the strenuous life. That's all very wholesome, I should think. What's the world - bully for you!


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