I took a four day weekend to celebrate being on my own for five years. And while I was out and about, I noticed all the parents, kids and college students stocking up on supplies and clothes for the school year. The beginning of the school year always felt like a renewal of sorts to me (although I wouldn’t have called it such when I was a child). So I ended up using the weekend to turn a psychological corner. I’m calling it the end of summer, but I’m really looking to rein in the hedonism of the past several months.
I don’t want to go into details that are too personal for a public blog. Let me just say that in a final push to exorcise the demons of the relationship I escaped 5 years ago, I let myself be lax on curtailing my pleasures. My weight, among other things, suffered. I’m not the bloated thing I was a year ago, but I was inching back toward that thing.
I have stuff to do. I can’t let my evenings and weekends be totally wasted on shopping, television, etc. I can’t let my brain or my soul go to waste.
I need to be healthy all around.
This comes back to the meaning-making theme I’ve written about. I found out that those who said Frankl said meaning was to be found in work, love or suffering were being too reductive. What Frankl meant was that meaning could be found in creativity-activity, in experience (including but not limited to love) or in suffering (provided the suffering was involuntary and inescapable).
I like this better. I don’t have to try to make my job intrinsically meaningful (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t), nor do I have to luck out and find the right person to love. I can turn activity, creativity or experience into meaning-making happenings.
Still, in reading Frankl, I do tend to react to some of his, shall I say, less than ideal turns of phrase. When he says, for instance, that instead of focusing on what we ask from life, we should focus on what life asks from us, I want to say that life doesn’t have the right to ask that question. If I answer it, I answer it for myself.