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28 February 2007 @ 07:18 am
a time of thinking rather than doing?  
In 2001, when I was 47, I began trying to plan some kind of "early retirement" future for myself. Since then, many important things have happened and I have made important decisions, some good, some bad, but not any major irreversible ones.

This future life envisioning, which is still ongoing after six years, is the most mentally difficult thing I have ever done.

I now understand why so many others just stumble year by year into their later lives and just fill their time with entertainment. Imagining one's own future carefully is very complex and rigorous, almost exhausting at times.

Adding to the complication is the neccessity to investigate things before deciding if they will be part of your life. These "experiments" and "test drives" require time and expense and energy.

My trip to Louisiana, my 3 years of car-free living, my wild food self-education, and my off-the-grid life for 3-1/2 months are just four examples of such investigations.

Especially in the past year and a half, I've done too many of these "studies" so I've accumulted too much un-processed data. I've also not yet adequately recovered from and evaluated Mom's death and all the other external events.

So, I think 2007 is going to be a "lazy" year for me.

It will seem lazy because I will be thinking most of the time rather than doing.

And, it will mean the next evolutions of my life will probably be delayed until all of the recent ones are consolidated.

Specifically, it probably means I am not going to start growing food yet.

Two weeks from now or some other time, I may change my mind.

But now, I have too much to decide about how I want to garden to actually start gardening.

And, as I said, too many other things still need to be sorted out.

So, the physical activity I fill my time with this spring and summer and fall may once again be just walking, running, biking, swimming, kayaking, foraging and exploring. (I can never do complicated mental things unless my body is relaxed by lots of exercise.)

In other words, this is going to be a year for thinking, with activities chosen to make thinking clearer.

The only things I care about for myself are basic comfort, health, security, and peace, and opportunities to enjoy beauty. All of my recreational interests have to do with appreciation of beauty, directly or indirectly.

The rest of my life will be a time when human behavior causes lots of suffering and harm, much of it to things of beauty. The purpose of the rest of my existence is to experience enough hapiness to stay mentally healthy, and then to relieve or counter as much suffering and harm as I can. If my INDIVIDUAL actions are not part of positive COLLECTIVE trends, they will probably not make much difference, no matter how well I plan my future. So I can tend to over-emphasize the value of planning.

Contemplation involves deciding what matters and why. Then, planning is done to direct my life toward what matters.

Up until now, I've instead looked at planning this way: I must DO things if I want to improve life, therefore I must DEVISE then PLAN things to do. A steady flow of devising and planning must occur to make sure there will never be days "wasted" by a lack of pre-planned DOING.

Now that I am taking a different approach, it is useful to clarify the new way in writing as I have just done here.