(I think that’s one of the most incomprehensible post titles I’ve ever written)
I spend a lot of my time trying to do ‘constructive’ things: things like working on my novel, or reading a book, or exercising. I realise that the distinction between these things and ‘non-constructive’ things is relatively arbitrary (why is playing Assassin’s Creed and engaging with it as a piece of art any less meaningful than reading Crime And Punishment as a piece of art?), but these are distinctions I’ve had for a while, and are quite good at keeping me sane and occupied.
But recently, I’ve been slipping into the pompously-titled realm of pseudo-constructiveness, namely things that appear to be worth my time and effort, but in reality don’t even hit the meaningless criteria I’ve set up for determining what is ‘constructive’. For instance, I’ve been replacing regular exercise with walking for an hour; and there isn’t anything wrong with going for a walk, but when that walk becomes a thing that, once completed, allows me to play Football Manager for nine straight hours without any guilt, it becomes a bit of a problem.
Today, for instance, I fixed my Internet connection; my phone couldn’t get onto UCL’s WiFi, and instead of wasting money on a 4G connection, I called the IT people and got it fixed. But I’ve used that as my sole ‘constructive’ thing – and played FM willy-nilly as a result – when it wasn’t really constructive at all. A loose definition of constructiveness for me encompasses things that better myself or the people around me; but I didn’t objectively improve my Internet connection, I just restored it to the default it’s been all year.
Constructiveness has therefore slipped into acts that turn the crap into the average, as opposed to acts that turn the average into the good, and this is a problem. This approach will turn crapiness into normality, so an off-day where I don’t do anything worthwhile will leave me crap, and a state of unspectacular existence into a state of being to be strived towards. By extension, going ‘good’ things will become some unattainable goal that I can never hope to reach, so I might as well just give up and settle into my existence of crapitude punctuated with moments of averageness.
Soon I’ll turn it around. I’ll be doing some relatively serious physical work over summer, I’m still working towards a job, and my novel is unwritten but has plenty of time to be written. I know its never a good idea to paint ‘THE FUTURE’ over your current problems, shoving them into the future as if that tackles them in the present-day, but I have a hectic few days ahead – parties, moving out, my birthday – so I’m allowing myself a little procrastination.
Let’s check back in October and see how much of that stuff I actually got done though.