The part of this blog that I dislike is that is all too often becomes a sounding board for my moods. More often than not, they aren’t pretty things with bright colors and bunting. And while they are not drab, they aren’t full of giggles and smiles. But then again, when I am having a good day, its rarely filled with giggles. My humor is too dry for that.
But today is one of those days, so turn around O’ Reader lest ye face the terrible nonsense that fills my head.
Lately, I’ve been fighting one particular phrase in my life: Why Bother?
If you couldn’t guess that based upon the title of this blog post, then I think we might want to re-examine your skills of deduction.
But yes, why bother has been on my mind as of late. It pervades my mindset about work, about family, about my writing. It is a constant within all aspects of my life. Which, if you couldn’t guess, sucks more than a little. ‘Why bother?’ is a huge question and, worse yet, can only be solved from within. I cannot find that answer from anyone other than myself. Perhaps that’s the worst part—the lack of an answer.
Take my writing for instance. Why bother writing? Everything I’m writing down seems to come out horrible and lacking anything that might remotely be compelling. And even if I am able to string along a series of sentences that carry the less than usual amount of manure, what then? Should this be published? Should I even try? Who would want to read anything that I have to say? Isn’t that a bit (or more) fatuous? Am I really so full of myself and what I have to say that I not only want, but all but expect people to read those jumbles of words upon words?
I hope that you notice the irony here of me saying on a blog of all things.
Anyways, these questions and more bounce around in my head. And of course, the answer is obvious. If I find no worth in any of these things, then why would anyone else? Or to rephrase it, they are important only if and when I deem them to be. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am unsurprised by that answer. We shouldn’t be.
So no matter how much the little baby in me screams and yells and stamps its feet as if being denied that toy which is the sole way to sustain its life, I must put on my big boy pants and go back out into the world. No matter how much my wife loves me, or my mother, or anyone in my life, they won’t find value in something that I don’t find value in myself. And if no one who cares about my well-being does, why should you, Dear Reader?
If I haven’t turned you off of this post yet.
Really, I’m not asking for a pity party. I know what I have to do and whose shoulders it lays upon. It’s a heavy weight. And it should be, otherwise what value would it hold for us? We place more value on those things that we have to struggle to earn rather than those things given to us.
I remember a portion of text from Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Don’t ask me to give everything to you word for word, but the gist of it follows:
The protagonist of the story is talking to his teacher for History & Moral Philosophy. The previous weekend, he earned third place at his track meet, but in order to prove a point the teacher gives him a first place ribbon. The protagonist rejects it. Why? As the teacher makes the point, he didn’t earn it. But he did earn third and can take a modest pride in that.
Heinlein writes it so much better than I do, but the point still stands. We take pride in what we’ve earned and accomplished, not what has been given to us. It’s justifiable. And there is no reason we shouldn’t.
That leads us back to the question: Why Bother?
We bother because it matters to you, to me. We try and strive because not to is unthinkable. Just as not writing is for me. Now, while I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen in the future or if these stories I am writing will amount to anything, it doesn’t matter in the long run. Because it makes more of a difference that I tried and failed, than never try at all.