The Curb of My Enthusiasm

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under A-ha! Space, current

Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.
~ Henry Miller

Enthusiasm is something that you either have or have not. There is no middle ground, even if someone did one day coin the word: half-enthusiastically. No – enthusiasm is an ‘all or nothing’ proposition and always has been. Which means that, to write a post about enthusiasm, you will either be enthusiastic about writing it … or you won’t. But trying to fake it isn’t going to get you anywhere.

I am not enthusiastic. I haven’t been enthusiastic … about anything … for quite some time. One part of me, upon witnessing this spectacle, gasps in dismay and also can’t quite believe that now I am admitting this to people. Another part of me, a larger part not so easily swayed by the leanings of the masses, shrugs its shoulders and says, “Yeah, whatever.”

The part of me that does all the gasping and dismaying is rife with ideas of how I can overcome this my temporary setback. But the “yeah, whatever” part of me is much more lackadaisical about the whole affair.

“Chill out,” he says to my OCD, type-A self. “Do you really want to walk around all the time like a hyped-up dog with a wind-up tail?”

This part of me (the “yeah, whatever” part) seems to know that, when there’s something to be enthusiastic about, I’ll be enthusiastic about it.

And, for once, I’m listening to this side of me because I think he’s probably assuredly right.

There’s an uncomfortable episode of Friends that demonstrates better than I can say, why I’m okay with the idea of people me not being enthusiastic all the time. It’s all about balance and about our understanding of that one, very simple (but oh-so-difficult-to-really-comprehend) adage:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Living a life of enthusiasm 100% of the time would be emotionally, even physically, draining. It would be like a cocaine high that one never comes down from, and – as anyone who’s studied narcotics knows – that kind of perpetual high is simply not sustainable. In fact, it can ultimately prove fatal.

I’ve made my peace with the fact that there will be times in my life where my enthusiasm will both wax and wane, like the moon and its tides. The key to my sustained happiness, therefore, has come to rely on my knowing when my tide is either waxing or waning – and then either catching the wave as it comes roaring in … or simply being content to stand in the shallows, toes sunk in sea-sand.

There is joy (and certainty) to be had in both.

What are your thoughts or feelings about enthusiasm?

About our A-ha! Space Writer

When not involved in writing pursuits, Carla is an EFL teacher in Crete and an adjunct professor of grammar and writing.  She left her corporate job in the States five years ago to pursue her dreams, believing that most regrets in life are risks not taken.

When she is not blogging (or explaining the difference between its and it’s), Carla lives on a Cretan hillside with her gorilla of a husband, Lucy the Cat, and crazy lovely neighbours who are slowly but surely teaching her Greek.

You can follow Carla on Facebook and on Twitter.

Comments

3 Responses to “The Curb of My Enthusiasm”
  1. Anne Maybus says:

    Hi Carla. You’re right in saying that the key is in knowing what stage your enthusiasm is at. Isn’t it a blast when you catch that wave? I love the energy it brings.

  2. Hi Carla,

    I absolutely love your beach analogy!! Accepting the tide is always waxing and waning… appreciating diving in and standing in the shallows equally. That’s lovely! Happy day :~D

    Sue

  3. @Anne: Hi, Anne. Thank you so much for your comment. I’ve just spent a few days away actually digging my toes deep in sea-sand, and I have to say that both are magical. :) Hope you are well.

    @Sue: I am so glad you stopped by today, Sue. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Happy Day to you too! :)