When I take on worthy endeavors, such as religion or work or self-improvement, I often get this voice in my head that says, “You don’t have to take this too seriously.”
I think I first developed this as a kid. I never liked doing anything I wasn’t into. So when I had subjects at school I disliked, I just told myself, “You don’t have to take this seriously.”
When I realized at about age eight that the things I wanted most — success in this world — were of little consequence to my religion — I think I started saying to myself about the Seventh-Day Adventism I was raised in, “You don’t have to take this too seriously.”
Converting to Judaism was a shock. It’s hard to convert from a non-ritualistic religion to a ritualistic one. So as the rituals started piling up and I wasn’t into them, I’d tell myself at times, “You don’t have to take this too seriously.” Mind you, on plenty of occasions I said to myself, “You need to change your slovenly ways. You need to take this seriously.”
I entered psycho-therapy in 1998. I went every week, religiously. I read the books recommended to me. My life lurched from crisis to crisis over the next decade. At times with regard to therapy, I said to myself, “You don’t have to take this too seriously.”
With my last therapist in 2011, I said to him, “I often think that I just fine-tuned things, I could be great.” He recommended, however, that I seek major change.
I took up Alexander Technique in 2008. On few occasions did I say to myself, “You don’t have to take this too seriously.”
I’ve long found it hard to put much attention into my work if I wasn’t into it. I’ve never done well at anything I wasn’t passionate about.
I love irony and sarcasm but those who are building the greatest accomplishments tend to be deadly serious. The biggest winners I know aren’t ironic.
Sarcasm and irony tend to be markers of those who are detached. They’re not going anywhere in life and they know it.