Idea

Photo: I'm Having an Idea

Quiet, now, I’m having an idea.

I have a small problem hovering over me, just an itty bitty thing really, more of an irritant, an itch. Okay, it’s a big frustration. It’s that I’m lazy.

I have so many ideas, a few of them even good ones, but I don’t make anything of most of them. They wither and dissipate into dust, dying of neglect. That’s a pity. Not that I don’t get anything done, ever. I’d just like to have a higher win/loss percentage to report.

I’m not likely to become an entirely new and different person, having confessed this; my record of sticking to resolutions isn’t a whole lot better than anybody else’s. But I’ve had my little triumphs, and I do want to expand the list. I’ve made a promise to myself that I will do some things to improve my productivity in a few areas that really matter to me, and I’m going to write down a framework for how to go about it. And I will do it.

I don’t think I will benefit from telling everyone on earth what my plans are; my ability to tolerate the shame and humiliation of failing to live up to my own expectations is long and well-practiced. But I will benefit from keeping the promise. If all goes well, others might even benefit some. (Cheering self onward surreptitiously.)

Uncertainty and Hope

Beloved, let us sit down together in the shadow of the oaks; let us take deep draughts of fresh water from the clear, swift stream. In the scorching heat of the middle of day, let us take refreshment like the dragonflies that skim the water’s edge, and be restored by the caroling of birds in the distant shade.Digital illustration from a photo: By the Cooling Stream

The days are long and our work makes wearying and seemingly infinite demands, and we know that this will not soon change. There is change of many sorts ahead, this we know too, but what it will be is yet beyond our imagining. Thus it has been, and so shall it ever be: we travel our paths, seldom knowing quite where they lead, and we labor in darkness the while. Some days, the destination is sparkling joy, and on others it is marred by sorrow and strife; at times, the mists of uncertainty part and the way ahead becomes clear, and at others it remains quite fully obscure.

Photo montage: Beloved, Let Us Sit

What I know, Beloved, is this—that no matter how hard or easeful is the road and no matter what the destination holds for us, we walk our way together, you and I. We may long for clarity and even for the strength to wait for it, but in the meantime we will take our stops for breath along the way, sitting in shade when we may and drinking deeply from the icy stream, traveling always hand in hand no matter what the journey brings.

Make a Note of It

I do, and learn, new stuff all the time. I wish it’d stick with me! It seems my approach to learning is very much of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety, or possibly, one forward, two back, if I’m to be entirely truthful. So much seems like water flowing through a sieve in this ol’ brain of mine.

That is one of the prime forces that made me such an inveterate list-aholic. I fear that if I don’t have lists for every occasion and purpose, and lists of what those lists are, I am doomed to lose whatever motes of mindfulness I have collected in the course of my journeys. Not that lists aren’t perfectly able to be misplaced, forgotten and misinterpreted themselves.

There is probably no perfect solution to this problem. I end up thinking about my lists almost more than about the contents of them or what I might do with said contents, most especially avoiding the thought that if I spent the list-composing and writing time on simply doing what I am making notes to remind me to do, I might not even need the lists. Heresy.

What can I say. I am a pessimist: I don’t think I’ll ever find enough time in a day to get all that I want done accomplished. I am an optimist, too: I think that if I hold something so dearly important as to document its urgency on a list, surely I will someday get it done. Obviously, I am just a good old-fashioned, self-deluded fool. But I have a whole list of reasons that that’s okay and will still get me to my goals. Eventually.digital illustration

Everyone should Retire Early

The creaky proverb ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ has irritated many a dedicated night-owl, and presumably even more so, many a person who was committed to belief in the axiom and assiduously followed its recommendation while continuing to fail to become healthy, wealthy and/or wise. This precept, of course, is only one of a great many that would seem to promise the same sorts of desirable results to its practitioners. And also, of course, only one of as many that consistently fail to deliver on the promise.

Since on average, life rarely puts anyone directly on the path to success and a wonderful, comfortable retirement enjoying it–and the aforementioned life coaching doesn’t generally nudge anyone toward it either–I would think it best to choose and pursue, each of us, our own different paths as needed to try to achieve those ends. I’m not entirely sure that I see it as particularly useful to accept the proposed and codified definition of the desirable kind of aging and retirement anyway. How on earth could (or should) there really be a one-size-fits-all solution to the puzzle of what every unique human wants or should want as life goals?

The only thing I do think makes sense as a somewhat universal goal is to be as well as one can manage to be, and be doing what one loves, not more, not less. For some, that might well mean employment; there really are humans who love their jobs. For many, it would mean either finding work that is lovable or finding ways to get by without having a standard sort of job. In any case, whether it’s called Retirement or Finding Your Bliss or just plain means discovering what makes one happy and managing to capture it somehow, I like to think that doing such things at a particular time in one’s life or in a certain way is pointless and that the best solution is to do what one loves as soon and as constantly as one can possibly do. Retire at age six? Why not, really? If by retirement we mean doing and being exactly what we’re meant to be and loving it, that seems like exactly the right thing to do.

Go ahead. Put me out to pasture.graphite drawing

Wide Skies

photoIt’s early in the year. I’ve had my little first cold of the year immediately after New Year’s Day, enjoyed getting reacquainted with my innards with the help of a quick annual doctor visit and subsequent updates on my coronary calcium (still no sign of same, thank you very much), allergy testing (finally going to deal with longtime mild but annoying symptoms) and crossed another handful of tasks off my eternal household to-do lists. But as we’re still in the first month of the year, that leaves a whole lot of things yet to be done, things yet to even be imagined.photoAnd I like that, rather. There’s something compelling about looking up at sun, moon and stars without being able to read in them any threat or promise more concrete than my own fantasies, knowing that I might well find great adventures ahead, because that’s simply how my life plays out thus far. The unknown, while it has the potential to be prickly and problematic in any number of ways, also has the possibility of being as wide open and beautiful and thrilling as the bright wide sky.photo

Beginning Again

photoGetting Ahead of Myself

Around that corner just ahead is some Unknown that in my head
Is not the terror-building fright that lends to terrors in the night
For pessimistic glass-half-gone, despairing people, dusk to dawn,
In nightmare hiding, room to room, expecting any moment Doom–
In my imaginings and dreams, instead, the Unknown beckons, gleams
And twinkles like a shooting star, calling to me to roam afar
Into ephemeral and great new joys from early hours to late,
Adventures, newness, glamor, thrills, all dancing at my windowsills
And hovering at door and gate just out of view–
Oh, I can’t wait!photo