Woke up with a bit of a shout this morning. For whatever reasons my panic meter was turned up this morning. I got up a little short of breath and my was heart pounding. But being the professional at this sorta thing I talked myself down and I’m feeling a little better. It’s almost humorous at times after 20+ years, how this stuff still affects me. But I grin and bear it taking it all in stride.
You’d think by now I’d run out of ailments to talk about. I like to think these things don’t define me, but for some long they have done exactly that. They limit my movement, limit my physical and mental activity, and in many ways limit my potential. But as we always say, we are not defined by our limitations. A nice sentiment, but not exactly true.
Potential is measured by our ability to take what we have and mold it to our will. As I learned last weekend, I’ll never work construction again. Or will I be able to multitask vast amounts information across to different subordinates. My life is more sentient through my calmness, enabling me to pick up on things. Now maybe I’ve always been able to do that, but through the stillness of my life it’s more amplified.
We each have our gifts and limitations. The thing is either one has to specifically define you. You are a free person, even when bond in chains. It all depends on how your mind wants to define you. Now I could easily wallow in self-pity as many do, but I honestly don’t see myself that way. Life is balance, it’s good times and bad. Acceptance not rejection creates true change.
Monday morning, I got a reminder that I had lab work to be done Tuesday morning. It was odd in that I got no telephone reminder from PCP office on Friday. I assumed was from the labs in had already done my last visit. Away this morning I called just in case and sure enough my PCP wanted me to have more blood work done to check on a something she noticed from my last lab results. Long story even longer, I drove over to the clinic for another round of poke and stick.
When it comes to your health, more often than not “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing”. So I try my best to keep up with the five specialist that I see. Making sure each of them is aware of what the other is doing. But I can only imagine what it’s like for an older person or someone with diminished cognitive issues to juggle.
I bring this up to say, life is a precious gift. To squander that gift due to pride or ignorance, shows little regard for yourself or those you love. And yes, I know, I know the cost of healthcare is outrageous. Believe me, I know. But despite my laissez-faire attitude towards death, I’m not going down without a fight.
The thing is treat yourself with respect. Eat foods that don’t come out of a bag. Don’t have time? That’s why God gave us Crock Pots. Don’t spend your entire life hiding behind four walls. Get a hobby that does not require watching TV. It’s fairly simple if you just try. I know most of you are half a paycheck away from ruin. Hey, I live on the same block. So stop being angry and be more proactive. Accept the situation and go from there. No lottery ticket or killing yourself for the man is going to solve the problem. But you can.
A dear friend sent me some pictures last night of one of my many homes. She told me she just needed to get away for a few hours. I messaged her back a thank you for the pictures and that sometimes you have to go back to your roots to find yourself. For me that meaning is multi-layered. I have my more recent roots buried in my recuperation and mental healing. Deeper still in my going back to school and discovering my potential. Still deeper in the years I spent “wondering the desert” trying to find myself. The whole time stumbling through life trying to be a father, a mother, a husband, and a caregiver.
Writing that makes me feel like I’m tooting my own horn. But in reality, no one is many more important than anyone else. Life’s experiences make us who we are. I live in a culture of “my four and no more” of “take no prisoners”, and “herd mentality”. I am truly a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. Because while this shit was being stuffed into my head. The words of my families God tell me to be selfless, to be giving of myself, and to love my neighbor. Interesting where those words ending up going in this selfish, paranoid, xenophobic world
But this is a story about who we were and where we can actually find ourselves. I often mention, “you can’t live above your raisin' “, and Lord knows that’s true. Didn’t someone once say, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”. I give up trying to change minds years ago. I believe what I believe and I’m sure you do too. But at the root of it, does your heart really believe in hate and superiority? Life is so much more than world domination. It’s about love, discovering your potential, and being kind. Maybe it’s time to cultivate around that root a little more.
Well I’m outside swatting gnats, I’d sit on the front porch, but my wife keeps the TV so loud. But anyway, a little breeze has kicked up, so really shouldn’t be complaining too much. I earlier this morning I was talking to my father-in-law, just to see how he’s doing. We certainly don’t agree on everything, but he’s pretty good at making daughters. I also spent some time editing some work for a friend. I don’t mind doing that, it ain’t like I got a hundred people knocking on my door anyway.
There’s a certain serenity in being left alone. I used to never understand why my old man seemed to enjoy his own company over talking. But every once-in-awhile, he’d crawled out if his shell and talk up a storm, but just not much to me. Oh, don’t worry I’ve pretty much laid those issues to rest. Plus, as I’ve grown older, I’m beginning to see the benefits of isolation. It’s apparent my social skills are lacking (of which I’m constantly reminded.) But that’s either here or there, because apparently, I ain’t changing, just ask my wife.
I suppose my point is, “Ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”, thanks Ricky. Anyway, we waste so much of our lives worrying about what others think. We often sacrifice ourselves, for the sake of acceptance. While giving of one’s self is a noble truth, so too is taking care of yourself. Most people I know are either so wrapped up in themselves they have no empathy or compassion for others. Or they give so much of themselves, there is nothing left for them. Listen balance is the key, love and give as much as you can, but leave a little for yourself.
I woke up around 1:30 this morning, even for me this is pretty damn early. But I fell asleep early and for those few hours I slept pretty well. A lot of people worry about my sleep habits. But after years of working crazy ass shifts and taking conference calls at all hours of the night, I’m kinda used to it. I guess you can say I have a restless mind. You would think with all my practice and studying of mindfulness; I’d be a little more “chill”. But it’s that very mindfulness that clears my head and sharpens my focus in the wee hours of the day.
For so long fear and anxiety stole so much of my life. For decades my true self lived beneath the shades of a character I played. I filled my days in servitude putting others ahead of myself. Drowning my own dreams in a sea of self-hatred and self-doubt. But after nearly killing myself “by a thousand tiny cuts”. It took the lessons I learned from achievement and letting go to make it through the last few years.
But even now even in this pandemic, I find myself in a strange and unusual place. A place of peace. For so long I struggled with the responsibilities of life. Now that the kids are grown, and my wife and special needs son are in a comfortable place. I find myself more focused on my writing and giving back to a world that is still hurting. Now maybe it’s a bit vain of me to think I could change the world for the better. But in reality, it takes just one seed, then another, and another to create a forest. Don’t let circumstance rob you of potential. Don’t let fear rob you of your dreams.
I was trying to work on a story this morning, in which I was very focused. But my head kept spinning and I could barely walk. Now after several hours napping and laying down with a heating pad on my ear, that story is still nowhere near being finished. Leaving me here with the same damn headache I had this morning and the same case of vertigo. Oh, life’s so unfair (insert sad emoji).
Listen I can whine and bitch about this all day, it’s too bad that doesn’t change a thing. I’d still be laying on the bed, my head hurting, and walking around dizzy. So what did I do? I got up, put on my slippers, grab my phone and cane, and went outside. I can’t say I feel any better, but at least I got off my ass and did something.
We often forget the essence of who we really are. We get bogged down in the pettiness of life, without taking a moment to appreciate the quiet things. I spent the better part of an hour this morning reading the newspaper. While pretty much every article was true, just the acknowledgement of the world’s troubles steals away from its beauty. So instead of wasting time dwelling on the negative, let’s accept it, create a plan, then do what you can to change things. Acceptance, motivation, and dreams are what changes things. Not complaining, hiding under the covers, or waiting on someone else to do it.
We are just a busy little street today. The garbage truck has been zooming up and down. The EMC crews have been popping in and out. And people are heading to the courthouse in either broke down trucks or shiny BMW's. I’ll let you figure out who’s the lawyer. As for me, well I’m sitting here with a cat shedding all over me. Typing out my little pearls of wisdom none but a handful ever read. But you know that’s okay, I’m sure many of the greatest minds in the world were only heard by a few.
Think about it, the stories told by your grandparents, back when we didn’t have a phone stuck to our faces. Yeah, I know, I sound like a whiny ass Fox News viewer. But there’s no denying our lack of focus for each other. This pandemic has shed a little light on the need for personal connection. But I often wonder how many are actually enjoying this, just so they don’t have to interact? Actually, I’m very much a “people person”. If I wasn’t, I definitely wouldn’t be writing to you now.
In our own superior way, we think of ourselves as conquerors. The top of the food chain. But in reality, we are all just part of a symbiotic chain. Interacting and using the things around us. Bound by the same laws of nature as everything else. It’s funny how a microscopic virus has caused the mighty to fall. Not to make light of billions of disrupted lives and countless deaths. This is just a reminder that everyone and everything has a voice. To assume we have the upper hand is folly and can lead to our own demise.
Compared to the last few days, it’s a bit crisp outside. For last several days it’s been in the upper 80’s, but today it’s only reaching the low 70's at best. So it’s a bit chilly while I pick up limbs. The EMC crews are loading supplies for today’s work orders. While I sit here under the sycamore tree taking a break from gardening. Ten years ago, I would have never dreamed I’d be doing this. At best I’d be working as a consulting systems analyst, at worse some drone in a cubicle somewhere.
Yet here we are, hoeing weeds and picking up limbs being a drain on society I suppose. But I do my best to give back, I try and write honest, positive thoughts. All the while encouraging those I meet, with a little wit and honesty. Granny always said, “Never live above your raisin'”. I suppose I’ve tried my best to do that, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop growing and trying to do better. My grandmother grew up in the mid-state, around acres of tobacco and woods thar were full of moonshiners. The youngest of a divorced family. Granny didn’t learn to read till she married and had kids of her own.
But that didn’t stop her from being one of the smartest persons I knew. She taught me to be honest about myself. To really listen to people when they spoke. To read between the lines and to be careful not to judge. Yeah, Grandma was pretty damn smart. All our lives have purpose, no better or no worse than anyone else’s. The thing is, what seeds do you sow? Are they seeds of encouragement or are they seeds of division and hate? Granny always tried to see the good in everyone. Think about that for a moment, I got more chores to do.
It’s feeling a little like summer around here, but it’s a dry heat. Unlike our usual 95° and 90% humidity, so I’m enjoying it while I can. The last two years I’ve been locked inside my little prison, unable to take the heat. But this year I’ve decided to embrace nature as it comes, by alternating my time between indoors and out. My skins not really happy with you little outdoor excursions. Some of my medication insist on me staying inside and out of the light. But as long as the clocks ticking, I might as well enjoy my life as much as I can.
I don’t mean to sound so “gloom and doom”, I'd much rather think of myself as living in the reality of my situation. No colored glass and no makeup to gloss over the truth. Now that doesn’t mean I stopped enjoying life. Quite the contrary, it means my eyes are in full grasp the situation and I appreciate what I do have. Sitting here there’s a sugar ant crawling around my fingertips. It seems to be lost or maybe it’s just exploring. Either way it continues to move seeking what it may.
I ask myself does same questions. About life, what I’m doing here, and what is my purpose. But then I wonder if any of that means anything. So I sit still listening to what nature tells me. Feeling the wind, listening to the leaves, and of course the noise of men. What do you suppose I find more comforting? Well, the answer to that lies within your own soul. Well my time is almost done, and I’ll have to go back inside. Back to my white walls, my air conditioner, and my isolation. Be mindful of where you are, don’t let circumstance dictate who you are, and for god sakes listen to your heart.
For better or worse, in sickness and in health…for some the words ring true. For other’s it creates an obligation, a call of duty to care for someone the rest of their lives. It would be easy for me to say everything is simple. That life is good. But for 30+ years I’ve looked after and managed the affairs of the woman I married. And to some it may seem like I’m controlling or even a bully. But to manage the affairs of another human being, places you in the role of husband, guardian, and sometimes parent. To the person you spoke those vows too.
I often think of it as a counter weight, something that keeps me firmly grounded in reality. Knowing that sometimes when you look into those eyes, the same content, the same exchange, cannot be reciprocated. But you go on being as good as you can, even when there are moments when you want to explode. Hidden deep within parts of myself, I’ve wanted to run. But call it fate, dedication, or maybe responsibility and there you are. Biting your lip and doing your best to feel your emotions returned.
Maybe I’m just a cold-blooded bastard for even thinking these things. But sometimes you just don’t want to think. You don’t want to be the problem solver or fixer. You just want to be left alone. So for me to hear stories of true love, they are often just an echo in the background of chores and meal planning. Of explaining things repeatedly, knowing they will ever be understood. So you appreciate the alone time. The precious moments of freedom your given to breathe. Then you dive back into the roles you are given. Pushing yourself aside to make sure things are taken care of. But to maintain this shell, the burden of servitude remains the goal.
Had a good soaking rain last night. Glad Mr. Brown hared up the garden yesterday to build up the plant beds. At the moment the sky can’t make up its mind if it wants to be cloudy or sunny. So I’m stuck out here between wet and cold or wet and hot. I still love how the morning smells after a rain. Especially when it’s not muggy and hot.
The birds are getting a little extra crazy this morning. Swooping in and out, hollering at each other. I suppose being hunkered down in a nest all night can make you that way. There are moments when I can feel the same way. All bottled up like a shook-up soda bottle waiting to explode. I had a young friend once ask, where do you find all your inspiration to write so many stories? I suppose all my inspiration comes from being bottled up for so long.
Much like these birds around here, I sat in a nest for so long. So when I finally got the chance to go, I went. When you are young, time seems so infinite. But as you grow older time has a way of reminding you as only goes for so long. Don’t let circumstance keep you from dreaming. Hell it took me nearly 50 years to come back to come back to what I always wanted to be. Anywho, look at your circumstance and make the decision, is this who I am? Or was I meant to fly with away? The choice is yours.