January 5, 2018

Happy Messy New Year

Life is messy, and that is a good thing.

I have always thought that the luxurious, easy, prosaic predictable life was the kiss of death. Humans were designed to be challenged. We are actually good at it, and grow stronger through overcoming adversity.

To be easy is to be on auto-pilot. Challenges build character, creativity, and resilience.

That is why I am looking forward to a messy new year in 2018. This year I will enjoy slogging through the mud pit of life, interacting with real things and real people. I will get messy, and I will know that I am alive.

Nassim Nicholas Taleby said, “Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes, all these things that make life worth living..."

The quote continues, "...compared to the structured, fake, and ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a preset schedule and an alarm clock." But not many of us are CEOs, while all of us are expected to be worker drone/ultra-consumers.

I would amend that to read, "...compared to the structured, fake, and ineffective life of empty consumers with a preset list of aspirations that keep them diligently working at unloved jobs and careers."

Life is increasingly random, messy, and uncertain with weekly or daily near-traumatic episodes. And I don't think it's just me. We might as well make all that work for us, and embrace it as part of the human experience.

Will I have an easy, uneventful and predictable new year? I hope not.

An adventurous and rigorous simple life provides everything that makes life worth living.

Happy simple messy new year to everyone. Linda and I look forward to sharing it all with you in the coming year.


  1. Happy New Year to both!
    I could not agree more. The idea of a perfect controlled life is a dangerous myth that steals the essence of life away from you. One of my favorite jokes is the old man saying that if he is in pain when he wakes up he knows he is still alive.
    To me winter is the best example, I live in the north and I love the dark months when everything has to be planned around the scarce daylight and the intense cold. Sometimes the skies clear up and you can see the stars from the kitchen window while cooking dinner.
    Living with a dog is a very good way to have a messy life. You have to take her outside in hysterically bad weather and dry her off afterwards, keep her from stealing food and mediate for space by the hot stove.
    Actually funerals are great examples of our messy lives too, everybody are sad and uncomfortable and may have somewhat strained relations with some of the people there, but we eat cake and drink coffee and make up at least there and then.

    I really love your blog :)

  2. This kind of got me laughing...I've enjoyed a very quiet and peaceful several weeks. Things got real messy yesterday afternoon and messier today. I'm still tangled up in it too much so to see that mess is a celebration of being alive...but I'll get there. (smiling slightly, reluctantly)

  3. There's an old Chinese saying that says 'May you live in interesting times'. I believe those 'interesting times' are upon us already. I agree, let's embrace it and see what it makes of us.


  4. Ha ha, yes, I'm loving this reminder as all my many children plus partners have returned home for the holidays and squeezed into various corners of my small house. It is a blast, near death experiences everyday as we all share one bathroom, and messy indeed. But no actual hardship. No guest room? Mattresses on the floor and sleeping on the couch never actually killed anyone, and makes great memories of late night chats in the dark with a grown-up sibling..

  5. Does a squirrel in the basement count?

  6. Thank you for the reminder that life is to be celebrated, no matter what is going on. It's been feeling pretty messy lately and I needed the perspective-shift! -Erin


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