Next year I’m going to:
- Get out of the house more.
- Ratchet down the intensity a bit. (For my sake and the sake of people around me, I need to do this!)
- Lighten up.
- Take a breath.
- Speak up.
- Dance a little.
- Live in my heart.
- Wise up.
These aren’t resolutions, exactly. I suppose they are, but I’d like to think that they are lessons more than they are aspirations. Aspirations aren’t bad, but they need to come with a fair amount of reality and self-knowledge. I forgot that this year and, guess what? This year sucked.
But what was personally shitty about my year was a direct result of choices I made. And a lot of the choices I made ended up with pretty awful results.
I worked at the wrong place and I got laid off. I decided to go back to school for a career I’d already gone to school for with horrible results. You can imagine the results of my second attempt. More crappiness, sleepless nights, old and useless anger. The whole thing was foolish.
I dated the wrong women and I repeated patterns that have never done anything but cause me grief. I dated one wrong woman and ended up having to go to court to make sure she stopped stalking me and threatening my ex-wife (and by extension, my son). Man. That sucked.
Then I ended up dating far more more sane (and much nicer) women, but still playing the same role I always play. It didn’t go well. I also, embarrassingly, pined over women who weren’t interested. I did it all wrong.
I spent way too much time worrying that I was disappointing people, confusing people, exasperating people, embarrassing myself in front of people with the net result of…disappointing people, confusing people, exasperating people, and embarrassing myself in front of people. Or believing I had.
But all the shittiness of this year comes down to one thing. One mistake I made. The mistake I make too often. Probably the mistake we all make too often.
I didn’t pay attention. I focused on what I wanted. On my aspirations. Not on what I have. Not on what is there.
I looked backwards and tried to succeed at things I had failed at before despite the fact that there was no reason I should even want to. It was just regret and there’s no wisdom in regret.
I decided I had to play a specific role so I could find love. That role has never worked. And it never will work. There’s no wisdom in repeating a pattern to see if it might work someday.
The truth is that there’s an awful lot that’s actually there. That’s there within me. In my heart. In the hearts of the people who surround me. In all of us. And it’s all there just because that’s how it is. The natural state of the Universe is love. An insane abundance of love. It’s there. But we need to pay attention. We need to accept it. When we don’t, bad things happen. When we only pay attention to our aspirations or our misguided belief about ourselves, we get mean. We don’t help each other. We do horrendous things. There’s no wisdom in that.
Personally, my year was nothing compared to the year the world experienced. Nothing compared to what children in the world experienced. 9000 children were forced into battle as soldiers in Sudan, and that’s nothing compared to the numbers around the world. 200 girls were kidnapped and forced to undergo unspeakable things simply because they went to school. 520 children were killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza. (And I’m certain that I will get all sorts of comments about those children’s deaths being Hamas’ fault. The fact of the matter is, their deaths are Israel’s fault. The IDF murdered them. Not Hamas. Jews are, by and large, no longer allowed to say such things—to place blame where it should be placed—without being punished for it. Bring it.) And that’s not even mentioning the inherent racism that worsens (or ends) lives in this country. There is no wisdom in this. No truth. It’s all about acting out lies and myths about victimhood excusing victimizers. About beliefs that suggest some people are so right that they can do whatever they choose. And that’s just wrong. No one’s life is worth more than the person next to them.
I don’t know how to keep the seemingly endless tragedies that we allowed 2014 to bring from being repeated. I only know I can address the minor difficulties I experienced by paying attention to the Truth of what’s there. What’s really there. By wising up. By balancing those aspirations at the top of the page with an understanding that, really, I have a lot already.
That’s hard enough.
I should probably start with the second item on the list, shouldn’t I? Jeez.
This wasn’t a very happy post. Sorry. To make it up to you, here’s a sad, hopeful, beautiful song.