Well, I Guess I’m Done

I happened to mention Skittles to a mentor of mine today and he said, “I’m surprised you’re still eating those!”

What do you mean?, I asked. He then told me to ‘Google it’ later. Which I did, immediately-later if there is such a thing.

I have never been much of a candy person and on some random day a few years ago my students were raving about Skittles. When one of my student’s asked me what my favorite flavor was my reply was that I had never even eaten a Skittle before. The look of utter surprise on these kids eyes! So I had one and loved it. Then I had another and another and relished them all.

What I didn’t know was that Skittles would quickly become my candy, and I didn’t even care for candy. But Skittles were different.

Before too long I was eating Skittles a few times a week, and would even finish a large container of this delectable sugar-poison in just a few days. There I was, essentially ‘grazing’ on Skittles all day long.

I thought there should be a Surgeon General warning for Skittles as being habit forming.

Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about that ‘habit’ anymore. Today I learned there is a toxic chemical found in the manufacturing of this yummy sugar rainbow. Problem solved. I’m not even going to hold out for a modified recipe once they have been removed and then reintroduced to the market.

The bondage of this self-captivity is no longer, and I am free!

Caught in an Undertow

Time to think. Sometimes I feel that time of thinking is overwhelming, too much cognitive processing. Is there such a thing as too much cognitive processing? Of course it all depends on what one is thinking about.

For me, the word ponder is a deeper level of thinking, and I believe that sometimes I ponder too much about everything. It becomes mentally exhausting.

Dad died three months ago. Mom died two months ago. Sean died almost six years ago. Bonnie and Clyde died two years ago. Grant died two years ago. I lost a good friend one month ago. Opie died three days ago. I’ve had it. Enough death.

Stoic I appear, stoic I am not.

Writing helps, exercise helps, piano helps. Then what? Default: Sleep. Then I awake the next day.

I had to look up the Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. None of these categories looks uplifting. They’re not. Studies show these ‘stages’ do not have a specific timeframe, or manifest necessarily in any order, other than Acceptance being last.

While I may wish to not lose anyone, this is Life being Life. It’s the Circle of Life, and it hurts. There is nothing easy about it.

Caught in an undertow of strong emotion we manage, hopefully.

Hopefully, we manage.

Fallible

Fallible, is what I should have been saying to myself all those years I used the word invincible for personal description. There is no perfection, there is only the work involved to be better, whatever ‘better’ may be. Age does provide wisdom. Whether the acquired wisdom is displayed and conveyed takes a conscious effort. So I either do it or I don’t.

The ‘it’ turns out to be whatever I think I should be doing, or act upon. Sometimes there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ scenario, and sometimes there is simply different.

It’s difficult for many people, especially children to learn or strive to be different. We want to be like ‘others’. We want to be like our friends. Why? Uniqueness produces effective results in whatever it is we seek.

Linear time produces numbers that do increase. This is unfortunate when it comes to individual age. However linear time does provide an unmatched liberating wisdom. I like that.

It is time to release my false sense of invincibility and embrace my human fallibility.

Chapter ∞

Imagine reading a book. One that you have NO IDEA what will happen next, but the story is very compelling so you keep reading. We turn the page with confident trepidation and find twists and turns to the story, some of which we never would have guessed or imagined. At some point we realize the story is about us and what we do in life. And we find it is an awesome story that continues beyond us. We find there are more and more pages to read and an internal voracity builds to learn of more adventure. Chapters come to an end, they eventually do. However, elements of this story are permanently weaved into everything, the entire book.

Chapter ∞
The Story never ends.

The Same, but Different

There were a lot of things that were the same this year and yes there were a lot of things different, very different this year.

Four years ago, the summer of 2018, was the last time we had visited Cedar Grove. After major forest fires, a foot injury, Covid, the loss of Bonnie and Clyde, and both my parents, we made it to Cedar Grove this year. Four years later.

The forest and nature are interesting because change is occurring all the time, but we don’t really notice from year to year. I wonder if photography is a blessing or a curse because people and places always look the same to us, in our memories.

I had no idea four years ago that there would be so much change that would profoundly affect me and the foundational underpinnings of everything I do. It happened though. It’s happening now, change.

While Cedar Grove may have looked the same this year as it did when I was a kid, new memories had been added to my memory bank. This year I took the memories of Bonnie and Clyde along on the trip. I heard their distinct woofs in my mind, and saw their images being goofy at the water. Throw my ball, throw a stick, whatever! Just throw something so I can go retrieve it and do it over and over again!

I looked at the ring on my finger that belonged to Dad, a ring that he never removed, until the day he told Kath to give it to me. I looked at Mom’s bracelet now worn on my wrist, and I told mom and dad that I missed them, and that it was as beautiful as ever here in Cedar Grove.

I did still smile though. I smiled when I looked over to see Noel, Holly, and Enzo, all rookies to the camping experience. And they were being their own goofy selves enjoying nature and swimming in the same waters as we had brought our canine kids for many, many years.

Everything is the same, yet everything is so very different. Our memories are talking images, they are unique individual experiences. Generously fuel the minds of others, and share them over and over again.

The Pressure

No one’s pressure but my own. If I saw a very large heavy rock on the road, one that I could lift yet it really was too heavy to carry anywhere, then why would I bother? It makes no sense to carry the rock around, just because. None. Assuming a similar decision would be shared by everyone, we clearly see eye-to-eye.

So now the rock is a big lump of pressure. It weighs differently because it’s not mass therefore bears no physical weight. But it weighs nonetheless, it weighs heavily with additional burdens it brings along. Although the additional pressure and burden can be ‘carried’, it can only be carried for so long before it bursts. The bleeding burden slowly spreads and permeates everything it touches. It cannot be seen, but it’s there and it causes harm.

Why? Why did I pick-up that rock?

I didn’t have to assume the heavy burden of the entire rock. Or any part of it for that matter. I could have chipped the rock into pieces, carried each piece separately inside my pocket. That would have been so much easier. There are options. There are always options.

I think I’m going to set down that rock of burden and pressure. I’ve unnecessarily picked it up in the first place and then chose to carry it around. No thank you, not anymore. After being set down I will walk away and won’t even look at it, until I am ready. Only then will I decide if carrying the entire thing is workable for me, or if it should be broken into smaller pieces and handled accordingly.

There, it’s down.

I can breathe, and the breath is so much deeper and easier for me now.

Lest We Forget

This one had been had been in my Drafts Folder for some months now. Found under the I Remember tab is an essay titled A Life’s Challenge. Life on life’s terms, sometimes high and sometimes low. It’s real though and although it was not an easy topic to write, it had to be written.

The Right Circumstance

Right…, as in Optimum. I’m thinking they rarely show themselves in an obvious manner. At least I don’t believe they are obvious. Optimum circumstances don’t come with a ribbon tied to them and a label that reads ‘Here it is!, your optimum circumstance!’

At this point in writing the post I wondered if the correct usage of the word is Optimum or Optimal. As it turns out, both are used. Optimum is generally used as a Noun, while Optimal is typically used as an Adjective. I don’t think anyone would be corrected by someone else with either usage. But now you know, so it’s ok either way. You’re welcome.

I have waited for the right moment in my life for a number of things. Often things that were important and potentially significant. Sometimes the resulting situation in which I found myself was good, and sometimes not. There result then was that I found myself regretful for not taking the chance, or making the decision to ‘go in that direction’. There isn’t a crystal ball that we can look into. The ‘Right Circumstance’ doesn’t exist.

So what do we do?

We move forward, there is no option in linear time. Time cannot be stopped, it can’t be reversed and it cannot zoom fast-forward. We take the chance, we jump off that cliff. We muster the faith that everything will be ok, because it will ok. Even if the opportunity takes a different turn than we had hoped, there is more waiting for us down the road, of life.

Without the risk of failure there is no success.

I read that somewhere many years ago and it has helped me to not fear the unknown of my choices and decisions. The statement is true in every sense. I will be ok.