some lessons that can only be learned firsthand, not taught:1. being ‘part of the solution’ doesn’t come with preference settings. it generally involves other people with their own established goals and lifestyle that differ dramatically from your own. i.e. they get to call the shots or lay down the terms on what constitutes a solution, and it probably won’t be convenient or simple. it may even be messy and disturbing. that comes with the territory, and you just have to adapt to meet the challenge. sometimes it won’t turn out as horrible as you imagined it. usually everyone survives. unless they were terminal anyway. you’re only one person, and will never get it all right, whether they ‘get it’ or not. the bottom line is to stick it out, and not back down because you’re afraid you won’t be adequate to the responsibility. you might even learn more adaptation skills. 2.’ keeping it simple’ isn’t a concept that people naturally grasp or gravitate to. life is complex and complicated, and whether your choices and decisions are intentional, necessary, or unconscious, the consequences will pile up and complicate and limit your options. at some point, you’re at the point of no return, and can’t easily undo the layers, without doing some damage. only you will know when you have reached that crossroads at which you realize which parts of your life are just complicated hindrances that need to go, and which are essential elements of a conscious decision or direction. the trick is in getting the priorities sorted, then eliminating the nonessential, one piece at a time, ruthlessly. your own experience will signal you when the important must be salvaged from the superfluous, and the latter let go of. no one else can determine that for you, but they can help you manage it once you’ve reached that point. 3. this one seems so obvious that i hesitate to even bring it up, but it bears repeating, if only to myself. remembering how it was at various stages of your life, and then being patient with people who are coming up behind you going through their own versions, is essential to maturing. it can be so natural and tempting to just block out and try to forget those difficult passages you survived, and then turn around and be insensitive and critical of others struggling through their own changes. many people grow up and simply shut off their childhood experiences, especially trauma. this is understandable and natural. but then they inadvertently superimpose their own fractured world views on those they care about, forgetting that these are unique individuals with different experiences and hopes. in fact, these younger folks may be the ones to accomplish some healing in this world that we were unable to, with all our damage and dysfunction, if we just give them the chance. i might add that if any of the above sounds familiar or even borrowed, i am simply affirming ideas that are not unique to me, although i am learning them for myself. ironically, i often learn them from the experiences of younger people. you know who you are! is that a contradiction in terms? a paradox? you tell me. i just call it as i see it. you’ll have to find out for yourself!
i just wanted to add a clarification to my last post, in case it sounds presumptuous. aside from the obvious fact that it is just a fun fantasy that i don’t realistically see happening, i want to express why it came up in the first place. i guess the reason is twofold:
ok, never mind about the writing trend that lasted all of two days. which is why i said i don’t make resolutions. the truth is, when i can’t think of something worthwhile to say, which is usually, it’s better to shut up.meanwhile, if you’ll bear with me and keep your disbelief suspended a little longer, here is part 2 of my daydream [disclaimer, don’t panic, feel free to sleep through it, blah blah blah…]: ok, so you’ll recall in our last episode, we had the proverbial hippie farm on the mountain, with my outlier music/arts venue, etc. (home-built airship tethered to the mooring mast, scotch and martinis at the bar, jamming all evening on the porch, and so on…). in this daydream, by day my little place features a fully tech-stocked office/studio, with all the necessary and not-so-necessary hook-ups for computer or electronic work projects or creative tasks. a certain person who knows who they are would set it up and be able to work in it whenever they chose, without distraction or interruption. they could come and go as they please. they would be close to the family when needed, but could get away to concentrate and get work done. time spent in there would be sacred, i.e. not to be disturbed by anyone, including me, except by permission. sort of a work chapel. meanwhile, back at the ranch, so-to-speak, the rest of the gang could enlist my humble services to help out with things there, thereby freeing up the remote work that needs to be done to pay the bills. or i would get a job and help support the cause. but in the evening, the work stops and the hanging out/ jams begin, over at the outlier outpost. people can use the studio to create/record music, watch movies, play video games, whatever. yes, this is a daydream that extends into the evening; just go with it. do i have ulterior motives in my daydream? sure! it’s an imaginary evil plan to be part of a possible solution for all of us. i could think of worse ideas. i see them being perpetrated around me, every day. by contrast, i’d say my little scheme is clever and resourceful, if not too practical. and best of all, it’s all in my head, where it can’t hurt anyone. i do have one little condition: sometimes i will just need to go crash, while others party on. i’m an OLD hippie, after all. and being an old hippie, i may reserve the right to have a deadfest every so often; live with it! stay tuned for the next zany episode.
like i said, you just never know…two days in a row, it might be a trend. or maybe i’m under the influence of dead jams. that can do strange things to your head, man… moving right along (‘further’, to stay with the theme) i’ve been shut down for over a year now, here in VOE exile. a relentless diet of d-words: dementia, decay, disintegration, death, despair, shall i go on? not very motivational. i got to the point where i just assumed there was nothing to look forward to, so why delude myself? just grit my teeth, put up with the endless grind, and try not to think. if you’ve never been here, in this situation, you have no idea how debilitating –another d-word–it can be. so don’t even talk, until you have. but this isn’t about feeling sorry for myself. (though g-d knows i do it enough.) this is a faltering attempt to recapture some vision of life after nothingness that i lost track of somehow. as if there might be a brief window of life left between death-management of others, and my own. ‘…one more day i find myself alive
tomorrow maybe go beneath the ground
see here how everything led up to this day
and it’s just like any other day that’s ever been
sun going up and then the sun going down
shine through my window and my friends they come around
come around…’ an artist friend reminded me through music and art that it’s not over yet, so i have to give credit where it’s due. maybe this lowly writing attempt is my way of not conceding defeat.
i know if i set out to write something every day, just to hone my so-called writing skills, it will never happen, so i won’t resolve to do it. but you never know, stranger things have happened…