“For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic caution to be added. Even for those who can do their work in bed (like journalists), still more for those whose work cannot be done in bed (as, for example, the professional harpooners of whales), it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all.” On Lying in Bed – G.K. Chesterson
Chesterson’s appreciation for the horizontal view of a ceiling had me thinking about light fixtures and retirement. I guess that’s because I’m a homeowner and 65 years old. Thankfully, I’m both. I get a little anxious when I think of waking up entirely on my own without the help of a twinkling-moonbeam iPhone alarm or the alternate razzle-dazzle jailbreak blasting from the other side of the bed. My only insight into what that would be like is when I imagine every day being Saturday. Although, Saturday is typically the day I try to press every bit of pleasure into 24 hours, whether it’s food, drink, sex, or anything else, just to compensate for the burden of answering to someone else for five consecutive days. But Chesterson’s source of pleasure requires far more composure.
So I’ve taken up the challenge of lying in bed, or anywhere for that matter, without any reason or justification. I’ve heard it said that relaxation makes one a better person. However, the terror of not having an immediate purpose scares many folks into hyperactivity and spreads the fear that retirement is much like evaporation. Welcome to oblivion.
Like many other boomers, I’m discovering that the day-to-day can actually be unscripted. Listening to your own voice can become a pleasure again. Daydreams can come true if balanced with incidental planning. I’ve decided not to let repetition dilute my desire for change. I’m plotting my future. Why not join me? Step away from your computer or put down your tablet or turn-off your phone and find the nearest place to lie down. Forget that either I or Chesterson may have had anything to do with it. Lie down and look up. Take in the scenery whatever it may be. Do this without a conscious purpose and, most importantly, don’t you dare feel guilty. Relax. If there’s any goal whatsoever, it’s to give your Self time to come in to full view.