Sunday was a big day for me! A very big day! I decided to live a happy life right now: this very minute. There is simply not enough time to accomplish those objectives that would make me happy or grant me the right to be happy. If I want my epitaph to read “Lived Happy” today is the time to start.
I’ve decided to be happy despite of goes on around me. Step One is stop trying to fix the people (including the animals) around me. When I go to bed, I fall asleep when my head hits the pillow instead of lying awake worrying that “Person A” is not eating right, or “Person B took should have acted differently, or the cat is refuses to eat the “good food” instead of that awful dry food he has eaten his entire life.
The required action is changing the nature of my thoughts, ten thousand of which whiz through my mind life shooting stars. Of course, that many thoughts are beyond my control, but I can manage the thoughts on which I focus my mental energy. Not so long ago, much of my time was consumed dwelling on angry thoughts about a family member. I was creating a rift where I wanted a friendly relationship. Each time I caught myself with an angry thought (which had become the knee-jerk). I immediagely shifted my thinking to something more upbeat. In short order that “heated issue” that seemed so important dissolved into thin air: all sound and fury signifiying nothing.
Although I am sure that the handful of my followers certainly think so because I haven’t posted for how long? Let me count the years: one, two. Think I will don the green eyeshades of self-delusion and pretend it hasn’t been longer. My “end of days” plan was to write, write and write even more. The plan execution was avoid writing, avoid writing and avoid writing even more.
Here I am (with new driving gloves) reeving the engine, pulling out of the driveway, and entering the fast lane. It has the be the fast lane because I must increase my speed to 75 miles an hour to catch up.
The Thanksgiving when I was seven, I suddenly announced to the tableful of relatives that I was going to marry when I was seventy. To this day, I haven’t the foggiest what prompted that declaration. Here I am, past seventy, rarely a bridesmaid, never a bride.
So here’s the deal. Having no grandchildren (Holy cow, I am at the age of great-grandchildren) to justify my existence to myself, needs must hustle my butt to claim a better epitaph than
The resolution was to post every day without fail as this was my personal record tracking my use of imagination as a means of tracking the third semester of my allotted “four score and ten.” Sigh! I couldn’t manage to string words into a sentence. Once upon a time, somewhere someone stated forcefully “there is no such thing as writer’s block.”
It’s true. I certainly can’t claim writer’s block. I lacked the stamina for noodling through half-baked ideas and pushing limp words into sentences until one morphs into a paragraph.
For seventy-four years, I asked myself “if I don’t write up to my standards, should I write at all?” If one can’t write deathless prose, what is the point of writing at all? Personally speaking, the point of “getting my hands dirty” putting words on paper is that I learn to appreciate good writing. I have certainly stumbled across some great writing that will never appear on the curriculum of a university English. Except for mine of course.
There are books that I read three times for the story then five more times to analyze and admire how the author constructs sentences, or establishes a mood or arcs a small recurring event through the story until it explodes as the turning point of the novel.
Here’s a thought. What fun it might be teaching my own English class, using my own favorite books as a curriculum.
For my generation, young adults were obsessed with searching for their identity. “Who am I, really?” “How do I discover my life’s work?” “What is my passion?” Speaking personally, I struggled with those questions for years, to the point that I identified myself as a person forever looking for identity. It took seven decades before I discovered that “my identity” was not an artifact that would be found outside of me, sort of like a grail lying in the bushes alongside a cow path. I was about to add that had I known what I know now, I could have tossed a dart, and built an identity from the path upon which it landed. However, that thought is for another post on another day.
It may be an unsatisfying identity, but I do have one. At least I have a series of habitual actions and reactions with which I respond to the impingements on my day. The predominant knee jerk responses are my thoughts. Would you believe that that exact same thoughts cross my mind when I brush my teeth? Worse, they are thoughts about events that occurred when I 14! The same damn thoughts popping up for sixty years.
So here I am working to Dis-Identify myself from my so called identity; working to unhook myself from the habitual thoughts, feelings, and actions that respond automatically. The process feels very disorienting; often I feel myself floating free, without the comfort of an anchor. There is a trade-off to the insecurity; space is opening that allows me to make real choices. I am curious to find out what those will be