Pay My Bills and Save the Planet

I use this online scheduling site called “Teuxdeux.” It’s a very simple format with a basic line list that you fill up with your various tasks on the day. When you’ve accomplished the task, you can simply check it off—placing a line through it or deleting it altogether. When you haven’t completed the tasks, it flips it over to the next day.
This morning, there were quite a few things that have been flipped over from the last several days: filling out health insurance forms, updating mailing lists, scheduling meetings, etc. It’s not that I’m a terribly busy person. I’m not. But even the most inactive person has some things to do and those things, over time, amass.
I look at the list and I get a bit overwhelmed. Some of the items are things I was supposed to do a couple weeks ago. Some of them are self-imposed goals—things I want to do, but don’t need to do. Some of the things are just maintenance.
I’ve been writing a lot about the meaningless of everything. How nothing possesses meaning beyond the meaning we give it. I stand by this. But there’s a catch: when we say something is meaningful and we do not abide by that meaning, we create in ourselves an internal incongruence. So, for example, I’ve said it’s important for me to be on top of my bills because I subscribe to the world that has bills, and as long as I’m in the world, I’m going to play along. So when I don’t pay my bills, it affects me. You could say I’ve created a new system of meaning-making by not paying my bills, but this is a retroactive and self-serving sentiment. The fact is I entered into the contract—I’ve given my word—knowing certain things about the terms. For example, by signing up for a Visa card, I’m entering into the company’s reality. By signing up for a credit card I am, to my mind, buying into the credit card company’s reality, which in turn becomes my own reality.
So I have these systems of reality—I believe in paying things, I believe in cleaning up messes (physical or psychic) as they occur and underneath these systems is my supreme belief in power of the word. I believe that our power to create my life hinges on my ability to keep my words. When I sign up for a credit card, I am giving my word that I’ll abide by their terms. This same abidance carries to all my tasks: if I say I’m going to help someone, write something, build something, whatever, my agency goes only so far as my smallest indiscretion with my word. In other words, my failure to pay my credit card bill can compromise my ability to have authorship of my world.
I want to be a positive force in the world. I’ve got lofty ambitions, but sometimes the most important thing to do in realizing those ambitions is look at your to-do list and go to it.
And so I shall….

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