163. Make Stories, Not Goals

I feel that life should be lived as if you are handed a book with certain chapters already inserted. They have only headlines: birth, youth, marriage, family, work, middle-age, life crisis 1, life crisis 2, old age, death. Or a combination similar to that.

Life should not be a book with pages already filled with both birth-youth-marriage-family-success-at-work headlines and many notes or even passages about how each chapter will play out in advance. And then the sequel, old age an death and the spin-off – life crises – they are all shelved somewhere.

You know those books are in the library, but you don’t really want to have a look in them, so you pretend they don’t exist.

I want to pretend they exist. I want to pretend I have the full story in one book, with fixed headlines but no filler, because work no. 3 might make me happier than work no. 1 which I originally imagined. I want to be open, but also aware that I have a duty. I have a duty to fill out all the chapters, string them together into a story that makes sense and gives me comfort.

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136. Up

I can’t change clothes. I can’t get into shape. I can’t just magically impose order on the thousand uncertainties in my life right now (again).

But I can sit down and think. Slowly. Precisely. With care. Much care.

And regain some sense of being ‘up there’. I don’t know how else to describe it.

So here it is then, the start:

A poem …

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135. Helpful Preparations

So the list is long – of things we can still do to get ready to make the birth as little as an ordeal as possible, to the degree we believe it is possible to control pain and anxiety of an even that is as natural and old and beyond human control as anything. To get ready for that, and for the many strange and extraordinary things we’re going to have to deal with as newly minted not-quite-so-spry parents.

But sometimes … like tonight I find myself thinking that it’s okay to have a little faith and not be obsessive about all that, and just relax and watch a movie.

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130. The Mosaic

I don’t think the times are worse, though, than in 1919. I don’t think they are better either.

I think you can always find something ‘better’ or ‘worse’ depending on what you look at. And that’s what’s important.

I want to see that mosaic. Or swirl of colors. Or whatever the right metaphor for Life is.

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128. Connection to the Beautiful

I’ve written a few in my time, variations of the same character I suppose, but Mary is SO angry. So much more than many of my previous ‘outcasts’.

I know it sounds pretentious to talk about her as if she was real and kind of deciding things in the story, but in all honesty I started with her just as a cipher and then she has, yes, grown as I wrote the story, kind of dictated more and more that it’s about her.

All about her feelings. About her isolation. About her loneliness.

As much as a romp through dimensions and feeble attempts at homages.

I wonder how may others have come to feel the same way about characters they have written, started with just as an idea, maybe just a name and nothing more? When? Under what circumstances? What story were they telling?

This is one of the things to think about that makes me feel connected with someone I’ll never see in a way that’s very beautiful.

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119. Looking Forward

On the other hand, I truly felt that I wouldn’t mind that excuse, if it had been me, to break off the meeting between old friends – ‘because my children were sick’.

I’m just going to have one child in this life. And I look forward to caring for him, even when he is sick and it is annoying.

I probably can’t keep up that attitude of looking forward all minutes of the future, but I can when it matters. When I have to. I am sure of that.

Perhaps that’s all I need to be sure of, when it comes to having a child for the first time.

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118. This Is It

So maybe this is odd, but I swear – it has made me feel more alive than what I have felt in a long time.

Just thinking, talking and acting slower – much slower – than I usually do. This is how to do it.

This is how to get that quality – that presence – that mindfulness – call it what you want.

This is to get what I longed for, but didn’t know that I longed for until I felt really, really empty inside for months on end… And I have.

But it is over now. I will keep this way of being here in the world up this time. This time I will be here – with every part of my self.

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