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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Long

I wish I had read the memo (the one I wish someone had written me about 20 years ago) that said "Happiness does not mean the absence of longing".

I long for somethings that are, probably, completely out of reach, and for some that are possible with hard work, maybe.

I long for a career as an actor. A pursuit tried and not won. Not everyone can be the king...

I long to perform and I long to be on stage. Oddly, I feel most myself when I am performing. I feel all the vital parts of me come to the surface and my doubts subside. There is nothing I do better, in my own estimation. But, like space travel, it's a skill I rarely use... I'm sure Buzz Aldridge can relate.

I long for more laughing and fun in my relationship. It is the thing that brings you close together. Now that the 'season' of work has started for S.O. we are like ships that pass, "See ya round the other side of the world".

I long for my writing to find a home, an audience, readers, viewers, to be acknowledged.

I long to direct, to create an experience like the ones I so love. I directed three films in grad school, each one challanging and exhilarating, each taxed me in every way. But I loved it.

I long for the community of my friends, in the flesh. I have this community only electronically now, except for short visits here and there, one way or the other. The upside of an electronic community is that you can create new friends in places you might never physically get to. I have now new friends in Iraq and Romania. It's amazing when you think about it. And I continue to bridge the gap via emails with old friends in England, Pennsylvania, Washington, New York... My community is now a spiderweb across the globe.

I long for all these things and yet I am happy. I will remember in about 16 years to write a memo to my kids, to make sure they know not to put off being happy just because your heart wants more.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pockets of Peace

There are really far too many things to worry about these days. And like most worriesome things they are largely out of our control. Modern life is clearly full of too much information, too many goods and services, too much technology and time-saving products to be completely comfortable anymore. Ironically most of these 'modern' conveniences are supposed to make us more comfortable.

We travelled to the mountains this past weekend for a four day family vacation. Just the four of us, no visiting friends, no visiting family, just relaxing in the woods, feeding the ducks on the lake. On the drive I got a lot of time to think, as you do... I noticed I did a lot more thinking on the way there than on the way back. Funny that. But it means the 'vacation' part worked. For a few days I got to not feel guilty or take sides, donate money or worry about what was going wrong in the country, and in the world.

In my think on the way to I thought a lot about my father. Not my real father (i.e. my dad, stepfather who chose to be our dad) but my biological father. He has been absent from my and my Genetic Twin's (sister) lives since I was about S.O.v.1's age and she was five. I thought mostly about what his absence means. Not that I particularly miss him - I never knew him really - but I used to feel that there was a hole of sorts, a chunk of something gone. I thought about what it means to me now, to not have his presence in my life or even know anything significant about him. The Female Parental Unit (mom) doesn't talk about him so we have very little information. When I see some of S.O. in our kids and even get little glimpses of myself in them it sometimes makes me wonder what I have of him.

My GT and I used to occasionally muse about finding him, but haven't for years. At this point, I have sealed up that hole. I don't really want to go in the hatch. I don't necessarily consider it part of my destiny (come on people, "Lost" anyone?) and believe that it would bring possibly only grievance or at best indifference if we were to 'find him', or find out anything about him even. So, I let it go. I moved on and deal with the present. The past may have created the who I am now but it won't control me.

But the past does control many people. Worse it controls whole populations of people. Part of the struggles of the Middle East, no doubt, are past-ridden. To look back and find something about who you are, as a human being, or as a culture, as a country is to be respectful and have reverence for those who have gone before. But to look to the past for how to manage the present is insanity. To do that is to not recognize that you can't change the past or even make up for what has been lost. What is gone is gone is gone is gone and there ain't no getting it back, no how. But yet the past is invoked time and again to justify present actions. We were supposed to have moved beyond that behavior when we advanced to the 7th grade, weren't we? "Well he stole my cookie from my lunch tray so I took his milk"... "and vengence is MINE!" Come on! We know psychologically speaking that if, say, I continued to try and 'make up' for the loss of a father year after year after year I would be spinning my wheels, being self destructive and miserable. Because you cannot get back what is no longer there. So any substitute, be it a fatherly boyfriend, or reunification with your ancesteral home will not put your psyche together again. It might be nifty for a time, but you will go right back to vengeful behavior if you keep looking backwards. Notice how it's not called "Look Now in Anger"?

So, after four days of unscheduled time, a couple of hikes and time with The Adorables I had very little brain action on the drive home. I had, for a time, a little pocket of peace. I had it because for those four days I was not trying to finish anything or start anything or create anything or destroy anything. I was only experiencing the present. And I discovered that in the here and now the past doesn't feel so uncomfortable. And the future doesn't seem so daunting. The people before you are just as wonderful, if not more, when you are peaceful inside yourself enough to see and hear them clearly.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Random Thoughts

The problem with random thoughts is that you never know where to start...

I had had cause to think about something I'd believed for a long time recently; that every woman marries below her. That is not to say men are bad, just that women are smarter, more able to multi-task, more compassionate, more expressive, more patient and the whole package makes it just easier for us to run a life which we all must do on one level or another. Even if you are single with no kids you are still running your own life and keeping your toilet fairly clean (except for the odd woman who revels in being laise fair about housecleaning, fine if only she has to live in it). But any woman who has children and/or is married is running more than one and that becomes difficult.

Men have an uncanny ability to focus on one thing for long periods of time, which is why we have disciplines like engineering and science and space travel. When they are using their powers for good instead of evil they are in that regard better than women. But doing one thing alone well does not exactly make one able to run a life successfully. And hey, if you are a single guy, who cares if your toilet is clean. When men are 'envolved' with other human beings they must strive to use their powers not for evil to, say, focus on figuring out how to do the least amount of work possible or how to use their powers of concentration to effectively ignore their people, but for good, as in focusing on how to contribute or be more compassionate.

S.O. and I have had many a skirmish over the subject of 'running the life' of our family. Our finally conclusion of the matter of running the life was to conclude that he is not, or we should not say, he's 'helping me' get the various chores done. That is condescending and I think implies that the whole kit and kaboodle is MY responsibility and mine alone and somehow he is doing me a favor by doing dishes or putting his shoes away instead of leaving them in the middle of the living room for me to pick up. So, women's lib did what again? Made it possible for women to have two jobs and men to continue to sit on the sofa and watch their shows while we take care of the kids?

I saw a young woman bopping along, coming out of the local college, this morning, talking on her cell phone. She had a lovely look on her face, one vaguely familiar and melancholy to me. It's that expression you see only on very young women and very old - but well balanced and grateful - women. It is the look of running only your own life and doing as you please. It is the look of being carefree. My perspective now makes all my worries as a young woman, even as a young married woman without children seem petty. Not that that young woman has no worries or troubles. It just strikes me how much easier troubles are when they are only your very own. As psychologists and wanna be therapists like to say to us over and over again from their TV pulpits, you can only change yourself. Great concept in theory, except it ignores the reality of most women who are managing someone else's life including their own. Sure, you can't theoretically control someone else but if you are running their life it is decidely more difficult to do if you aren't also controlling what they do... and thus why marriage is so difficult!

It is so easy to be empassioned with something new; new love, new school, new baby, new job. And doesn't society and talk show hosts tell us all the time that we should recapture our 'inner child' - that enthusiasm, that discovery, that passion for life. But doing something for the first time or having something new is always easy and exciting. I'm a little sick of this whole idea of 'finding your passion' because, frankly, it is not the way the world or a life works. It is great when someone is enthusiastic about something new, you love to hear about it. And we run to our loved one's side when they are feeling down or in need. But all the mediocre stuff in between is where life really lies. Why is it not ok to just be ok with how things are going? Why does every morning have to have the sparkle of potential? Isn't not expecting something to happen, i.e. expecting a regular day, and it turning out spectacular just the best? But if you are every day living your passion, grabbing, eating life, consumming with passion... when the hell do you rest? Besides unrealistic it sounds just tiring to me. I am happy with making methodical progress forward and not knowing when the spectacular may happen. Besides, isn't all this 'passion stuff' just starting to smack plasticy?

We are heading up to the mountains for a few days tomorrow. Our first family vacation that is not also a visit friends and family vacation. As much as I love my friends and family it's just not the same. I realize that we are lucky. Many do not ever get a family vacation and as much as I am compelled to complain that this is essentially the first since having our children, that thought keeps popping into my head. Many get outrageous vacations where they don't life a finger, except maybe to purchase expensive gifts for themselves or to haul themselves on to the massage table, and get to have an exceptional relaxing time. We fall somewhere on the lower end of that scale just into the priveledged enough to get a vacation at all section. For that I am grateful. But it will not be totally relaxing because there are still responsibilities that will follow me up the mountain - diapering, bathing, clothing, feeding, cooking, organizing... but maybe if I am really nice to him (wink wink) S.O. will allow me to sleep a couple times.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Moment

There are moments when the exiquisite beauty and pain of being a parent appears before you. It flies away before you can grasp it completely. Maybe if you really knew what it meant to have the honor of being the mother of these little perfect people it would just be too much... too much to handle... too much to comprehend... to much to be able to move forward with... Maybe that is what love is....