Thursday, September 20, 2012

I don't believe in bucket lists.

Why make a list of all the things you want to do before you die?

Life is a little bit of what we do and a lot bit of what comes our way. It is my firm belief that most of our circumstances are beyond our control - it is a matter of how we choose to deal with them that makes us who we are.

It seems like the object of a bucket list is to think of cool things one would like to do - but how many people consider that they may be picking the wrong things?

Consider the things that you've done that you were sure you would enjoy, and turned out to be really bad ideas. Think of all the things you never thought you would enjoy that you somehow ended up doing and liking a great deal.

Life is a lot like that. Before you die, if you are open to experience, you will probably end up doing a lot of things that you could never foresee. However, if you are constantly chasing after items on a bucket list for the controlled thrill, you'll probably miss out.

Allow me to explain. If you live with the mindset that the most exciting and interesting things you do with your life are the ones you plan yourself, you're going to end up missing out on a lot of unplanned things that really make life worth living. Jumping out of an airplane or climbing a mountain is nice, yes...but those things are nothing compared to a long conversation late at night spent underneath a starry sky, unplanned, unexpected, and totally life-giving. Making bucket lists doesn't exclude these things, but consider how popular they are compared to how popular doing anything other than watching a movie/TV or drinking on a Saturday night is.

Be more impulse driven - give in to the spur of the moment fun decision. This is not an invitation to make bad decisions based on anger or lust - what I mean is, don't let something like social norms or some kind of fear or anxiety keep you from doing something good and wholesome and life-giving. Life is much more full of regrets for things you never did than things you did do.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for spontaneity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inside my madness; and other tales.

I am a firm believer in common insanity.

Everyone has their own little weirdness, their own quirks and little insanities. If you follow my blog, you know something of my insanity...I'm quite sure the last three posts or so have been the product of my own special insanity. If you're not sure what I mean, allow me to explain.

If I'm not careful, I can get into some pretty sick thinking.


This is a "normal" view of time. The past is permanent, immutable, fixed. Existing only in memory. The future is full of two or more possible directions at any one time.

This is my view of time when I devolve into sick thinking. I count every time I've gone "off the mark" of what I perceived to be the "good path" of my life (marked with blue) into the "bad path" of my life (marked with red). Imagine thinking about every instance of your life where things were inevitably and irrevocably turned in a direction that impacted the rest of your life - and disliking the result. It's not a nice burden to place on oneself.

This is the kind of thinking that has influenced the past few months of blog posts. I'm sorry if it's been repetitive or depressing. I don't apologize for writing it. It was good for me.

Things are better now, because I have relearned (with some help, no doubt) a few gems of wisdom that I feel are important for me to try to keep in mind next time I start this thinking again (and believe me, it will happen). It's sad to think that I've learned all these things before and simply forgotten, only to learn again by making myself miserable. Do you hear me sigh? Here goes.

Knowing the result of everything I try to do is unimportant compared to knowing whether or not what I am doing is good. If I believe in the power of the good, I should trust in the good to take care of the rest. If I truly believe that God exists (which I do) and that he is a good God, the power of good is virtually unlimited. It "echoes in eternity." If my soul is to last for eternity, it must be tied up to the good. If I am striving for that, everything else is nothing.

Knowing who I am means knowing what I can and cannot do. I can invite someone to coffee after only barely knowing them, because I'm kinda curious about who they are, and I'm bold enough to violate any social norm to do what I want, dammit. I can't change the past because it's over and I'm not a time traveller. It means knowing my boundaries. Being assertive. No means no, no matter how many times I'm asked. It means saying what I mean and what I feel, regardless of how others may negatively perceive me.

Finally, I must accept whatever comes my way. There are two different ways to take on life: fighting to make things happen, and surrendering to whatever fate God brings me. What one needs to be happy is to do problem is that I was only doing the former. A fruitless battle guaranteed to make me miserable...because if something is not meant to happen, it will not happen. There is no shame in saying "Very well then. What will be will be." I did not understand this - it felt like cowardice. No more.

This is what I've learned - take what you will.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for sanity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The world has moved on.

"The world has moved on. Bad times are on horseback."

I am re-reading the Dark Tower, Stephen King's magnum opus of an adventure about Roland Deschain, gunslinger, last of his kind in a world that is dying, and about his last ditch attempt to save it and all of existence itself from eternal darkness.


There is a saying that reappears in every book (there are seven) and multiple times in every book. It's "The world has moved on." The first time I read the book, years ago, I never really understood the phrase. I thought I did...I took it to mean "times have changed." But that's not it at all. I get it now. I get it now because I'm a little older and I've lived it.

"We say the world has moved on; maybe we really mean that it has begun to dry up."

When I think back to the time when college was new, and I had all the time in the world?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think about the times I always had someone else to consider if things didn't work out?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think back to when I didn't need to worry about whether I was doing things right?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think back to the times I could choose among almost any club, school, community, etc. activity as a place to have fun and meet new people?

The world has moved on since then.

I get it. What an interesting phrase - it doesn't mean a change in time, because time is really only a figment of our means an entire change in the world. My world has utterly changed, and I'm still adjusting. I keep wanting things to be how they once were, but everything around me reminds me it's different now.

In the interest of not sounding so depressed to the point of self-absorption, I know I have other things to look forward to. But true to my fashion, I'm not as interested in them as I am to the things that I've "passed by." I need not repeat them. After all, I understand as well as anyone else reading this blog how I must sound. Still, allow me this guilty pleasure.

I guess I am just frustrated that at my sixth year of leaving home, other than a degree under my belt and another on the way, and a little maturity, I'm really no better off than I was before. I think at one point I actually thought I would be married by now. What a riot that is to think. The world has moved on.

Something positive (because I really am trying, I promise): I think I would be very happy, even if I was moving on from this community alone, if I got a job where I intern at. And moved to this nice little town with a Catholic church the size of a cathedral. I'd cry...that would be lovely. We'll see...we'll see exactly how much the world has moved on.

There was a dream that I dream, a dream for a world that has not yet moved on.