Monday, January 16, 2012

Faffing about.

OK, this is one of these posts where I'm not sure where it'll end up, simply because I'm being a bit aimless, and also because it's mid-January, and that is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the month. In fact, thinking about it, January is one of my faffier months. This is probably because of several factors:
1) Resolutions crashing and failing miserably.
2) Lack of money due to Christmas.
3) It's bloody January, and it's dark outside and it's easier to sit in a pit at home, lurking and watching duff TV.
As I have mentioned on this blog before, I tend not to make any solid resolutions as such at this time of year, as they are almost certainly doomed to fail due to the fact that we tend to indulge in far too many bad habits around the winter solstice, such as drinking and eating too much or generally being a bit gloomy.
But one habit I've become more mindful of is mental faffing. Having completed a series of challenges last year, I find myself at a bit of a loose end, and I've noticed how much of my thinking time is taken up with idle speculation and random thoughts. At the same time, I've really noticed how much general faffing I do - at work, at home, whenever I'm on my netbook, whenever I'm standing in a corner and idly staring at drying paint, or whatever. Now, I'm certainly not alone in this - it's amazing how much faffing you can get away with: Boris Johnson appears to have set up an entire career out of being a professional faffer. And, come to think of it, virtually every presenter of daytime TV. But it sometimes seems to me that I've spent too much time in thoughtful idleness, and it leads me to wonder how much more I could do by being more mindful - that is, more focused on doing something rather than let my mind wander.
Then again, this makes me wonder whether it is worth being mindful: Would I actually be doing anything worthwhile, or would it just be Doing Stuff? In which case, it's faffing, but concentrated faffing. In fact, this is a variant on this good old question: 'What If...?' 'What if I'd done more at school? What if I'd jumped to this job? What if I'd stayed?' etc and so on and so forth.
The fact is, it's so easy to flail around in life, and it is extraordinarily rare to find people who focus single-mindedly on things - and it should be borne in mind that such people are committing themselves to a high-risk game - if they fail and fall, they fail and fall spectacularly. And they don't get to smell the roses along the way. There's nothing wrong per se with the faff: it's when the faff takes over from real life and we mistake it for such. But also, when we are jolted into notcing that what we are doing is an act of faffiness, then it is time to do something different.
And that's the end of this bit of faffery.

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