Monday, October 1, 2012

The art of impetuousness

The irony of this post - this idea and these words and the title that goes along with them - is that they are, in a way, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like a dictionary definition that gives you another word to look up, then when you look up the next word it uses the original word you were looking up in its definition. Or like the chicken and the egg argument. Which item spurred the creation of the other? And how can we clarify anything if its dealt to us in roundabout answers?

"The art of impetuousness" was a title that came about with no prior warning or pondering. It just happened to pop into my mind and as it so happened, it made sense within the context of my life at this moment.

Believe it or not, life is all about spur of the moment choices. We are constantly in a state of decision making. Even as I write each word onto the screen, I'm making impetuous choices. If there was no such thing as impetuousness, then absolutely nothing would ever be done. We'd probably all be dead because we'd never make the decision to find food or water, or to watch our favorite movies and television shows (this is my lifeline, don't judge me).

My last few days, unfortunately, have been all about ignoring the spur of the moment decisions. Even if I looked out my window and saw blue skies and cumulus clouds floating by, I had trouble leaving my room. Facing the decision to wake up, put proper clothes on, commit myself to an activity and follow through felt, for some reason, too daunting.

I spent hours just moping around and subsequently feeling sorry for myself for not doing anything of value despite being in the most beautiful and wonderful city in the world.

Still there is something inherently wonderful about doing nothing. The hours pass, but you never strain your senses. The morning turns into afternoon which then turns into evening - and even if all you've done is watch several episodes of Peep Show on Netflix and fallen asleep to TedTalks lectures, you feel refreshed, recharged and ultimately.. relaxed.

The thing is, you can't do that every day. You can't restrict yourself to static complacency for very long, no matter how lazy you are, without getting cabin fever at some point. If anyone knows the truth of this statement, it's me. For years I spent whole summers doing absolutely nothing. I'd watch television and go on the internet, losing track of the hours and the days. Perhaps doing this once a week was an acceptable occupation, but after months of routine it is stifling.

With this in mind, I decided to get up this morning. At the very least, I wanted impetuosity to rule the day.

When my eyes opened at the sound of my phone's alarm music trilling in my ears, I waited a moment then turned to the curtains next to my head and pushed them aside before I could convince myself not to. I sat in bed with my eyes closed with the light shining on them, but soon I forced them open without further consideration of my desire to sleep longer. A few moments later, I forced myself out of bed to wash my face and brush my teeth.

Thus the morning routine of waiting until I could not stay under the covers a second longer was abolished.

I went grocery shopping. While I didn't impulse buy, I ended up crossing the street to a McDonald's and purchasing a vegetarian sandwich with French Fries. The idea of eating greasy food didn't necessarily appeal to me, but having lost about five inches off my waist in the last year convinced me I could stomach (literally) the fast food. And perhaps enjoy the excessive quantities of salt in the process.

In the evening, I decided on a whim to attend a Film & Television Society meeting. When I sat down in the room where other freshers sat, I opened myself up to conversation almost immediately.

After I left the meeting, I went to the student store and when I saw sketchbooks and pastels and paint supplies and so many other artistic luxuries, I pounced. I had gone in to buy a postcard for my father, but I came out with the sketchbook and the pastels, a daily planner, highlighters and Post-It notes.

Getting back to my room, I could've pushed myself to sit back down on my bed and watch yet another set of TedTalks lectures. But I didn't (I will do that as soon as I'm writing this blog, don't get me wrong). But instead I pulled out the pastels and occupied myself with art. With creating art.

Somehow, in the last several months, I've forgotten what a beautiful release it is to create something of your own. Even if it's not perfect, even if it's amateurish, even if it bears you soul and therefore is not safe enough to share, there is something incredible about releasing feeling through art. In months past, I'd impetuously purchase paint supplies and sketchbooks and diaries to fill with my thoughts and feelings in the form of poetry and visual works.

Then, I realized, I forgot about those things. I hadn't updated my poetry journal in a year. I hadn't completed a sketch since I'd left university in the spring. These things had to change, and in the spur of the moment, I was ready to make that change happen.

Through every single decision of the day, I focused on being impulsive not for the sake of uniqueness or esoteric profoundness, but because I just wanted to feel whole again. This summer and the beginning of this fall has been all about silencing the nerves and cooling down, but it's time to pick back up again.

Life's hardest moments make me want to slow down. It's an almost desperate desire to curl up into a ball and never face anything again. But with a little exercise in spontaneity, the color has returned to my life. The art of impetuousness is something I'm starting to discover.

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