Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In Limbo

Not exactly certain what "in limbo" means but I'm guessing it implies at least an intermediate or transitional state.  I understand the term alludes to the theological definition; namely, a place outside hell and heaven to which unbaptized infants and the righteous who died before Christ's coming were consigned.  The import though without specific condemnation is not entirely favourable.  It is precisely that characterization which epitomizes my present circumstances - nothing particularly wrong, just everything in limbo.

Indeed it is the ambivalence of my current condition which provokes my hesitancy. I am reluctant to undertake anything beyond collapsing on the green leather couch.  Normally I am the last person to submit to flagrant inertia. My desire to rise above confusion of any order traditionally compels me to occupy myself.  But I now do so without gusto.  Part of the reason certainly is that my physical well-being is greatly diminished.  It pains me even to confess the situation. But it is undeniable.  To employ another unsettled term, my chutzpah is lacking.  To illustrate, imagine contemplating a gourmet meal (or any meal for that matter) without the requisite appetite! Disinterest abounds!

To dilute this unaccustomed lack of buoyancy I have sought to argue within myself that it is a product merely of tortured bureaucracy which has burdened me in the past few months, everything from medical to routine mechanisms. The predilection is not entirely foreign to me.  When I first considered retirement the proposition was partly the repugnance of anything mandatory and involving tiresome intellectual detail (which in my case was 40 years of practicing law).  To be blunt, thinking hurt. I was burned out from years of acuity.  I never fashioned keenness of thought as purely native; rather it is the unglamorous product of application and precision.  While it is all very well to admonish oneself for the appearance of lassitude, the dilemma harboured a greater obstacle - exhaustion from the rigour of exactitude. For one thing, the attention to meticulousness is a chore not only for oneself but is often a crashing bore to others as well. Triviality can quickly become an exhausting errand on all sides.

Even if one were inclined to favour a less punctilious approach the danger is that one in turn abandons the quality of perfection.  Depending upon what one values this may or may not matter.  I have for example heard it said that the first thing you do with a new car is beat it with a baseball bat then drive it through a barbed wire fence.  This illustrates the psychological significance of an opposite view to trivial fact.  I can't say that I've arrived at that point.  My current reluctance is guided more by lack of energy than want of purpose.  I still much prefer clean and shiny to dull and scuffed.

The admission of the grittiness of life is something which requires both intellectualism and candid experience.  Both elements are imperative because without one the other is unbalanced or inauthentic. This doesn't mean we must close the door on mystery or idealism, those intangible features of everyone's life whether we care to admit it or not.  To avoid a mindless pursuit of impossibility I attempt to combine a careful attention to fact with a mildly expansive feature of purity.  This may be nothing more alarming than heightening the condition humaine with a healthy dose of artistic expression (in which I include paintings, time pieces, fine crystal, hardwood furnishings, jewellery and even certain technological devices - basically anything which illustrates the achievement of mankind).

What however sustains the state of being in limbo is the absorption in inescapable demands, some of which are genuinely necessary, others of which are purely worrisome. But I have always maintained the order of priority is first to do what must be done, then afterwards what one would prefer to do.  I liken it to Nike's reward-oriented adage, "Just do it!" It is perhaps a modern application of the Protestant Work Ethic that I should insist upon utilitarian production before all else. It allows of no improvement to trivialize the mania. That's the corollary to "in limbo", one is irrevocably stuck there until other events change.  I have at least the awakening sense that my restriction is coming to an end.  Those inescapable demands are being gradually addressed; and with the demise of each of them, my happier thoughts and immersions are revived. My escape from stopgap is at hand!

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