Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Musing on the Bigger Questions Again

When I was young, I was very philosophical, even more so than now! And I used to think that the goal of life was "happiness" although I would have found that difficult to define. If one is to define happiness as "a general pleasant outlook on life and a satisfaction with the state of one's circumstances in life" then I would argue that you probably can control the first part - your attitude (at least somewhat) but if you're waiting for the circumstances to all fall in line, you may never be truly happy, because I no longer think that is an achievable state, or at least not for long. Circumstances are often in flux and out of one's control. There are a lot of unplesant things to deal with, and many of the problems are more complex than your minister or rabbi, your President, or your favorite self-help guru will mislead you to believe.

At the stage in life I'm at now, middle age, I'm much more cynical and frayed. At times, I chide myself for being so negative, but honestly, I'm less inclined now to give up than ever before. Why? Not sure, but I'm savoring the islands of peace and CONTENTMENT in each day. When youg, I viewed being "content" as boring and quiet. But the older I get, the more I seek out the small islands in each day - the routines, the rituals. Things like not rushing through brushing my teeth - things like writing a journal entry, no matter how short, savoring a small bit of a book with just the right words to touch my thirsty soul, knitting a single row of lace.

Yesterday I took great pleasure in laughing out loud while listening to a Dorothy Parker essay in my car. During a particularly difficult time in her life, the phone rang. She turned to her companion and asked, "What fresh hell is this?"
Being able to laugh at circumstances somehow makes them more bearable and rich.

Most of all, as I gain more life experience, I realize that whatever problem I or my loved ones are facing, however complex, it really will work itself out somehow in the end. Maybe not the way I envisioned the solution - but it really will be okay. There will be lessons learned, bonds deepened, relationships grown more precious, and character strengthened. Most of all, each day has value - no matter what it brings.

Now go have a day - and experience it the way that you will, but within that day, find an oasis of peace that you can fully appreciate and soak in what you've experienced.

1 comment:

Elysbeth said...

I agree. TAO and I are glad when things are not "exciting". Exciting usually means something has gone wrong/broken/fallen in the fire/disaster has occurred. I still want to see what's over the horizon, but I'll pack for the trip and take a car that runs well, rather than just dashing off.

As my Grandmother used to say "enjoy the little things, the big things usually disappoint you."

Hope you have lots of small quiet moments.