Take an old man’s word; there’s nothing worse than a muddle in all the world. It is easy to face Death and Fate, and the things that sound so dreadful. It is on my muddles that I look back with horror—on the things that I might have avoided. We can help one another but little. I used to think I could teach young people the whole of life, but I know better now, and all my teaching of George has come down to this: beware of muddle.— E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
I underlined this passage hard when I read it last year. Muddle. Yes. I know this state well, although I often refer to it as waffling.
Here’s what I notice about waffling: I do it often, and it’s almost always to justify not doing something that I know, deep down, will bring me joy.
- Quitting social media platforms that no longer make me feel connected to my community
- Leaving relationships that aren’t fulfilling or functional
- Starting creative projects that intimidate me
- Getting in the sea
- Doing literally anything that I think of as benefitting me and me alone