The Great Reframing

Right now. Literally. I don’t want to do anything. I’ve already done things. I got up, drank coffee, ran in the woods, dropped the car at the mechanic, walked the dog, did the grocery shopping, put all that shit away. Now I’m sitting, and I’m into it.

Bodies at rest.

I am fortunate to receive a lot of invitations to participate in activities. I think people know that I am, at least theoretically, down to do stuff, a wide variety of stuff in a wide variety of settings. And I’m mostly free. Some might even suspect that I know some places to do these things that they don’t already know.

But bodies at rest.

Humans have this unique ability to forecast and triangulate the future, to cast a net beyond their basic needs, to stir themselves from a comfortable place to achieve a non-urgent and intangible end. I don’t want to say we are the only species that does this actually. I don’t know what other animals are thinking.


When I receive an invitation, especially if I’m tired when it arrives, I think, “I don’t want to do that right now.” It’s hard enough to do the things you intend to do, without factoring in the things other people want you to do, even when what they want is a thing you probably do want, or should want, or might want later.

I’ve come to see that what I want in the moment is the wrong framing for the question. If I consider only what I want just then, I will tend to stay at rest. Newton taught us that. What I need to think instead is, “What will I want to have done?”

The older I get the better this reframing works. I’m not sure exactly when the tipping point came, when I began to realize how finite my time really was, how firmly entropy had taken hold of my body, but I have that keen sense now, that if I don’t say yes, then I am possibly squandering an opportunity, throwing away an experience.

And fuck that. Newton also said that, but it’s not quoted as much. It’s in a footnote.