The Struggle to be "Accomplished"

I recently decided that I need to use my like 10 hours of free time a week for better purposes than watching the YouTube video of that wedding party dancing down the aisle to Chris Brown's "Forever" 50 times in a row, which is exactly what I did one morning last week, or looking at all my pictures on Facebook for like the hundredth time and scrutinizing how big my nose looks in each of them. Enough is enough, I decided, at this rate I'm never going to become a talented writer/pianist with abs of steel who is fluent in Swahili and cooks gourmet meals for her family every day. When I stop to think about it, I really don't know why it is so important that I become this extraordinary person. Hmmm, more on that deep question later.

So I have actually plotted out all my free time on a spreadsheet and assigned various tasks to various times. Yeah, I know. Fridays during Charlotte's nap, for instance, are for blogging, thus this entry. From 6-6:30 a.m. is Swahili study, which I am mainly doing out of shame that I am not fluent after being raised in Kenya (The first question people ask when they find out where I am from is, "So I guess you speak the language?" to which I defensively reply, "People speak English almost everywhere in the world and probably on some distant planets, making it very hard for English-speakers to learn other languages.") Thursdays during Charlotte's nap are devoted to housework, the idea being if I only slot one segment of time for housework, whatever doesn't get done is not that important. Fridays are for blogging and piano practice. At half an hour a week, it will probably only take me about 50 years to fulfill the promise I showed as a 4th grader, when I won first place in the Kenya Music Festival, and become an accomplished pianist. My mother will be so happy. Dead, but happy. Then in the evenings, I am supposed to work out and read books. This is the part where the spreadsheet collapses of its own weight, as do I, in front of the TV, eating some crap.

Now that I have written all this out, it really looks kind of ridiculous. When I come to the end of my life, I really doubt I'm going to care if I learned Swahili or how to play the piano, unless I somehow end up in a Tanzanian nursing home or in some strange society where people communicate through musical instruments, in which case speaking the language will be the least of my worries. And unless I figure out how to become a real writer and something comes of this, I really doubt it's going to matter if I had a blog. The exercise thing actually might make some kind of difference, I might avoid wearing adult diapers or something. Of course, exercise is the only part of my schedule from which I get absolutely no enjoyment (probably subzero enjoyment, really). The books--yeah, whatever. I already know how to read.

So why am I doing all this? It's a bit like the 19th century obsession with women being educated and accomplished so they could....sit around the house and be educated and accomplished. Accomplishment for its own sake. Which is pretty much just ego--in the 19th century, it was male egos wanting to have impressive wives so they would seem more impressive themselves. For me, it's just me wanting to be impressive, although I feel people who know me are sufficiently impressed (don't correct me if I am wrong), so I guess I just want to feel impressive to myself. Which is really quite pathetic. And probably plenty of justification for a life of utter sloth.
Now I really have hit the jackpot--maybe I can become an unmotivational speaker and go around convincing people that sitting on one's butt and doing as little as possible is the key to a successful and happy life. I think people would pay big money to hear that.

OK, so I have to slot some time in the spreadsheet to prepare for my speaking tour. Piano's out, sorry Mom.


  1. I'm in. For the unmotivation tour, I'm in. I'll be your unmotivated publicist. Let's do it.

    By the way: "So I have actually plotted out all my free time on a spreadsheet and assigned various tasks to various times." <--- First thought? Oh hell. Kevin is seriously rubbing off on her. In general that's not a bad thing, mind you, but spreadsheets! Oh, honey.

  2. Can I study swahili with you? I feel the same shame and I have tried to learn it (took it senior year, tried to audit a course in grad school) but have failed miserably in every attempt. I would feel much more accomplished and be much more OK with sitting on my butt for the rest of my life if I could speak another language.

  3. Hey, this blog does matter! Don't sell yourself short. You may think of it as a charity effort now, (for which I am highly grateful) but when you become that accomplished pianist, people will immortalize this stuff.


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