Saturday, July 30, 2016


I know that for many people not having all the things they want, like right now, is a source of anxiety, yet the longer I live in Guatemala the more readily I indulge in the delectations of delayed satisfaction. 

I see people from abroad coming and going, and their comings and goings bookended in the main by buying a lot of stuff and then selling a lot of stuff. In fact a lot of them seem to spend time selling stuff in the interim because they bought it and then quickly found they didn't need it. There are at least three local Facebook groups now mediating this endless shuffle. 

We have been living in a half-finished house for a couple of years now and it turns out that this somewhat fractionary existence has come to feel like its own source of consummation, a pleasingly tolerable sufficiency rather than any kind of deficiency. 

I recently read what I discovered was a truly insightful piece by Adam Phillips on Marcel Proust, whose In Search Of Lost Time can be taken a book about 'the unexpected gifts of time' as well as a meditation on how the objects of our desire can sustain us by not satisfying us.

It contains the following sentence which would strike horror into the hearts of the sellers of self-help tomes in airports the world over..

The desire to make your dreams come true is a fatal misunderstanding. You have to find something you really want to do and find ways of not doing it. 

I have always been quite adept at wasting time, but it wasn't until I properly settled here that I discovered how lastingly satisfying a lifestyle it might underpin.  

In my former life, being called a lightweight would have seemed the most trenchant of taunts, but the comparative lightness of being here is anything but unbearable. 

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