I don’t want to read Moby Dick, she thought while sitting on her balcony enjoying a cup of hot coffee. It was Saturday morning, and she had a long list of tasks to cross off her to-do list. Sunrays warmed her body, encouraging her to rest. But the to-do list nipped at her like a gadfly.
She had fourteen books left to read from the Western Canon. She had to practice arpeggios to keep up her piano playing. She had to finish watching the last three Academy Award winning movies so she was in the “know.” And that was just the arts. What about that new restaurant downtown? And next month’s looming half-marathon? Not to mention signing up for that work conference to network with other professionals in the industry.
There were so many things she had to do on that sunny Saturday morning.
Until she realized she didn’t have to do any of them.
All she had to do was pay her bills… file taxes… and die.
She didn’t have to scratch and claw her way to the top of the corporate ladder. She didn’t have to become the first woman CEO in her field. She didn’t have to do it all before the age of 40, either. She didn’t have to keep up a musical skill she’d never enjoyed. She didn’t have to beat her personal record running twelve-plus miles (she hated running—in fact, she had never felt that runner’s high after finishing a run—it was simply hate, hate, hate, misery, misery, misery, every damn mile).
And she certainly didn’t have to read a long, boring book that completely misrepresented an entire species.
There was nothing else in this life that she had to do. And as long as she didn’t break the law, she could do whatever she wanted.
I’m free, she realized.
Besides, it’s not like anyone cared about all she’d accomplished. People would smile and nod, be impressed for a moment, and then move on.
What’s it all for? She wondered. What a waste of a life—chasing goals, accomplishing for the sake of accomplishing?
And with that, she put her feet up on the balcony, taking another sip of coffee, and closed her eyes.
Screw Harold Bloom, she thought with a smile.