Diaries Magazine

Paired Opposites?

Posted on the 29 June 2020 by C. Suresh
Having trained all my life, since birth (My mom used to say I was too lazy to cry, even as a baby, and did even that as little as possible), to idle and having honed my skills to procrastinate since then, I expected to take to the life of a retired person like a fish to water. When I actually quit, though, there was some savor missing in life. To my total surprise, I discovered that work was necessary to really enjoy the joys of idleness.
I mean, yes, I really love the idea of procrastination. The problem, though, is that you need to have something to procrastinate about. If you have nothing to do, then what exactly will you be putting off doing? The tang of idleness, I realized, is the thought that there is some work around which you are not doing.
I could have been one of those who enjoyed idling because others are working and I am not. But, still, you see, idleness has to be juxtaposed with work in order for you to savor it.
That set me off on an unexpected  activity - thinking! And I find that almost nothing in life seems worth having unless there is the opposite sticking around like a Siamese twin. Like you feel the flavor of success only if you have tasted failure before or because you compare yourself with others around you who have failed. (The gamblers by nature are one step worse. They want to be toying with the danger of failing all the time.)
Take pleasure or happiness, for example. You feel the pleasure of the views and the weather of a Hill Station. Do the locals seem to be enjoying them? It takes the heat and concrete jungles of your Delhi, say, to make you feel the savor of the beauty and cool weather of a Manali. Without the one, the other is not worth it.
Which is what are called 'pairs of opposites', I suppose. Pleasure-Pain, Joy-Sorrow, Success-Failure and so on. The one is not merely the opposite of the other but actually the other face of the coin. You need both to get the full experience.
You know, somehow, this idea of constantly looking at others, to check if they are worse off than you, so that you can feel happy about yourself is...yucky. Sort of sadistic, if sadism is taking pleasure in other people's misfortunes. Yeah, you are not exactly happy that they are unhappy but you certainly are happy that you are better than them, right?
So, I did what I do best. Postpone my own work. So what if it is only paying the electricity bill or buying vegetables etc which get postponed to the last possible day. Procrastination IS procrastination, regardless!

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