Thursday, October 08, 2015

I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach

These days, I have a feeling of momentum.

For a few years, at least, it seems like it's been one trauma or stressor after another, whether it was my marriage ending or financial woes or bouts of depression or custody drama.  And, of course, Emma's death overshadowing all of it.  It's been relentless and awful.

But the craziness of the summer is resolved. I'm feeling great physically. The kids are beautiful and healthy and loving life.

While I won't ever get over Emma's death, surviving the "year of firsts," as crushing as it was, means that I know can survive going forward.

The worst that could happen did happen, and we're all still alive, and perhaps distilled down to our purer essences.  Cleansed by the fire, which, at least for me, burned away any capacity for bullshit or any desire to carry around the baggage of pettiness or silly power struggles or superficial judgment.  I want to love and enjoy my children and love and enjoy my friends and love and enjoy my life.  I have no patience for meanness or rudeness or snobbery.

I was talking with a friend about this, and he said, "but what about when life creeps in?  How do you sustain that when the mundane irritations and frustrations of life get in the way?"

My brother asked a similar question the other day - even when things are going well, he's always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Optimism as a weltanschauung is not something that comes naturally to him.  As he said, "I can't help it.  I'm a Jew."

I obviously don't profess to have all the answers.  I only know what I can tolerate and what I can't, and how I want to feel at the end of each day.  But in the face of these questions, my response was that all you can do is try, every day, to be deliberately and conspicuously kind to people.  To seek out and appreciate beauty in the ordinary.

You just have to work the muscle every day, and then hope for the best.

It can be spending time outside, looking at the sky and documenting something beautiful or unusual or interesting.

It can be making the decision to be polite to telemarketers or customer service reps, even when they piss you off.

It can be walking late at night down a dark street, holding hands and stealing kisses, a little drunk on bourbon and the heady prospect of something new and exciting, and stopping to admire a gorgeous tree with twinkly stars visible through its branches.

You hold on to the happiness of the moment, appreciating the wonder of the world around you.

And you keep holding on to those moments, every day.

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