January 17, 2020

Complacency, Part 1

3:25 AM

Today I am comfortable. I attended classes, browsed some videos in the 1-2 hours between each one, and am about to head home, after which I will probably cook dinner and play some video games before seeing if I can get a head start on any homework for this week. There are things that I could probably make a good amount of progress in, like my UX design portfolio or my aspiring side career of writing. Maybe even After Effects, which I’ve put off for a solid two weeks now. Or I’ll play piano for an hour or so. But more likely than not, I’m probably just going to try to relax.

A very complacent day, to say the least. To have a day like this is, where I am pretty satisfied with my current lack of work ethic, is not too uncommon for me. What is rare is the fact that I noticed it, and moreover am embracing it for the rest of today.

You see, usually I am very adamant on trying not to be comfortable. Comfort is the very bane of proper progress, as anyone who is completely relaxed typically does not have any intrinsic desire to pull themselves out of the comfort zone. As Newton’s first law states: an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

So typically I am fighting a losing battle against my less ambitious half, who is perfectly content with his current skill levels and achievements and would much prefer to not take any risks with his time, opting instead for instant gratification. Or perhaps I’m winning right now, as I am on the other side at the moment. Anyways, this seems to be a theme that I am breaking away from for today. Instead of spending time worrying about how I should spend this time doing something useful, I would rather just enjoy this free time I have given myself to the fullest extent.

The reason my core philosophy tends to shy away from complacency is because it is a particularly dangerous slippery slope. One day of complacency is not much to worry about, but if you’re not careful, you can let that comfort carry you through the rest of the week, or month, or year, and suddenly you realize you’ve somehow autopiloted your way through a very significant chunk of time. Complacency leads to a very sudden wake-up call that jolts you back to reality and fills you with regret.

The absolute worst part about it is that most of the things I do when I’m in this comfortable state are not even memorable. It is one thing to get some work done or finish a task, and it is another thing to have a good time with friends or go out for a night of fun. It is a different thing entirely, though, to spend a good five to six hours doing absolutely nothing of value at all: watching YouTube videos I’ve already watched ten times before, scrolling through Reddit endlessly, and going down the Explore tab on Instagram are the top three culprits for this. I am neither an advocate of 100% productivity or 100% fun. What I am supportive of is using time wisely, and more often than not, complacency allows me to believe that time is infinite and that I am free to waste away the days doing things of no consequence.

Of course, I am actually free to do so. Anyone is free to do whatever they wish, as long as they are ready to accept the consequences that result from those actions. However, it is hard to gauge the significance and effect of how I spend a Tuesday afternoon on the future trajectory of my life. And because my college days are filled with hundreds of Tuesday afternoons and Monday mornings and Saturday evenings, it’s hard to convince myself that this specific Tuesday afternoon is anything worth stressing over.

I suppose, as usual, a fine balance is necessary between the two. It is important to know the big picture and to remind myself that there are goals I want to achieve eventually and that they will only be accomplished through the steady accumulation of well-spent Saturday evenings. But it is also equally as important to know that one lost Saturday isn’t the end of the world, and that getting anxious over a less-than-stellar use of time will only lead to the gradual decline of an enjoyable lifestyle.

So I’m going to waste away today, because I am comfortable. But in the back of my mind, I know that I have to get up off the couch eventually and keep moving, as if today was simply a diner off the highway that I decided to grab coffee in before continuing my long and arduous road trip.

I still despise the concept of being comfortable. But for now, I’ll let it slide. I’m a bit too relaxed to worry about it at the moment.

- Sam