For four hours, I had fun.
I was playing golf with my kids — all three of them. My daughter and I versus the two boys. And we blistered them.
For four hours, I just had a good time — no worries, no concerns about the present, just lived in the joy o' the moment.
Then, when the game ended, it all came back to me ... dang, I have stuff to do. I have to go back to work tomorrow and finish this week's paper. There's a global pandemic going on. I have to sit down and figure out what bills to pay. Did I pay the power bill? When's it due? I have to do something about fixing the roof. Do I have a doctor's appointment this week? I have to make sure I wash my clothes. I have to take the dog to the vet. How are we going to pay for two kids in college? Do I have time to watch that documentary about the Golden State Killer on HBO tonight? I have to brush my teeth ... and the list of responsibilities and duties goes on and on.
Those precious hours where I can forget about what "I have to do" seem to be getting fewer and fewer, and I find myself needing them more and more.
Sure, I still get to sleep 8-to-14 hours a night, and there are few responsibilities involved with that. But even in my dreams, I find the stress of daily living seeping in. Last night, I had a dream that an enormous Rottweiler — actually, more like a black bear — was in the back seat of my car and I was scared to stop, or turn around. I have no idea what that was about, or what that has to do with the stress of daily living, or why Vinnie from "Doogie Howser, M.D." was also in the backseat.
But it wasn't the carefree, pleasant dream I prefer, like when I'm the backup punter for the Atlanta Falcons, or fishing on a mountain lake with Sam Elliott (as The Stranger in "The Big Lebowski") while eating chocolate chip mint ice cream. I find those dreams much more relaxing.
Back to my point, of which I'm not sure about yet. "Fun," to me now, is anything where I am totally in the moment and forget about everything else. It could be playing golf, or watching a good, or bad, movie, or going fishing, or just sitting down for dinner with my wife (where we're not talking about everything we have to do the next 24 hours).
Don't get me wrong — I love my life. And I'm a very laid-back person, not prone to worrying about things I can't control. But I also love those quieter moments where I am not concerned about "what's next." I also find that what's on my "to-do" list are things I can control, and I just have a hard time finding the time, or remembering, to do them.
Just ask my wife, or my coworkers, or the fine folks at the power company, or ... well, you get the point.
Bottom line: I need to add more fun to my to-do list. We probably all do. And during the uncertainty of an international pandemic, with Saharan dust in the air, murder hornets on the prowl, locusts on their way and frogs certain to fall from the sky (probably in September), getting away from reality and enjoying ourselves — even for a few hours, or moments — is more important to our souls than ever.
I believe it was former Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn who said, "90 percent of all problems go away if you do nothing." Or maybe it was Homer Simpson who said that. Either way, I think I'll give it a whirl. Sounds like fun.
Len Robbins is the editor of the Clinch County News.