Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stuck in the middle with the shoo-be-do-be-doers...

There are two types of people in the world, Budge Wilson once told us in her short story Be-ers and Doers. And we'd believe her. Anyone with an adorable name like Budge understands the world far better than we ever could. But, we happen to know she wasn't exactly right.

The be-ers are the backbone of the world.

Life is good...
Photo by Ioan Sameli via Flickr
They exist. They get up, they go to work, they come home and raise their families, they go to bed--and they do it all over again the next day. Be-ers might sometimes dream about doing something grand. "I could write a book," the construction worker might tell his co-workers. Or during lunch, the plumber might think he could climb Everest, or run a marathon. Anybody could, with training. Right?

But the be-ers aren't serious. They're content just to be. They don't expect great things out of life; they only expect to live it. They hope for comfort, and are happy when they get it. But when life is hard, they understand that that's what life is--and they deal with it.

Be-ers accept things as they are. They're good people.

The doers, on the other hand, do.

On the move...
Photo by Takashi via Flickr
They aren't happy with the way the world is. They want to change it, to mold it, to extract something from it. They see life as a puzzle to be solved, a problem to be tackled, a game to win. And they set out to do all of those things. When they're beaten back, or down, they push forward or get up. Doers move the world along its progressive trajectory of history. They discover new lands and fly into space and build cities.

Doers are agressive. But they're good people.

I'm neither of those.

I'll get up and do it in a minute...
photo by Irish Typepad via Flickr

I'm what you call a "shoo-be-do-be-doer." Or, to put it in proper English: A should be doing, doer.

I'm like a be-er in that I'm happy with the way things are. I like my life. I could just live it the way it is. I could spend all day blogging or reading articles and books, watching television and movies--eating!

And like any good be-er, I can imagine doing something grand. "I could write a book." Of course I could write a book. Anyone can write a book.

But what sets me apart from the be-ers is that I don't just think I could write a book, I have a nagging, whining, needling, bullying voice inside me that keeps telling me to actually do it. And I have done it. Twice now (counting only the published tomes...so...more than twice).

But just because I've actually done it does not, in any way, make me a doer. If I were a doer, I'd have written fifty books by now. I'd have started writing in junior high school (I did, actually) and never stopped (that's the part I didn't do). I'd have hustled my way through a Master of Fine Arts degree and I'd be somebody today.

But I'm not.

If I were just a be-er, that would be okay with me. If I were a doer, I'd be at work right now on my novel.

I'm just a shoo-be-do-be-doer. I do. And I be. I'm happy not doing. And I'm not happy just being.

I think we shoo-be-do-be-doers get things done. We just take longer doing it, we don't do quite as much, and we're cool with that, as well as incredibly unhappy with it.

We're walking dichotomies and ought to be very depressed, but the be-er part of us just isn't, because it's happy. And the doer part of us has no time for moping and crying.

Being stuck in the middle with the shoo-be-do-be-doers is like walking past happy people while watching others pass you on their way to glory. It's like being in slow motion, but not. It's like wanting, but not. And it's like pleasurable pain.

It's awful. That's what it is. Just plain okay, sort of, meh, whatever, awful. And we shoo-be-do-be-doers are okay with that.

We're weird. But we're good people.

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