For the past year or two I’ve been a malcontent. What I had wasn’t enough or wasn’t right. I was focusing on what was wrong — with me, where we are, what’s going on in the world. I just wasn’t able to be happy, consistently. I was constantly in search of the blue prints for the time machine — “If I had just bought Apple at $9, if I hadn’t blown so much money, if I’d have done this app, I should have flossed more”, etc.
Even though I’ve been a fighter and an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, most days my thoughts were about me being too old (I’m 57). I thought my time had come and gone, I was preparing myself to live the rest of my life indiscriminately. “I’ll get a job” I would tell myself, blinded by the fact that I’m not qualified to do anything else but what I know – starting businesses.
But then there were plenty of other days where I’d tell myself, “Get your ass up, quit feeling sorry for yourself, make something happen. You’ve done it before, you’ll do it again. Yes, you’re older now. But you’re still sharp and you can still bring it. You know what it takes, do it”.
We just got back from a trip to Southern California. We stayed in Topanga Canyon. We hung around Malibu, went to Disneyland. That lifestyle is great for some, not us. All I could think about while we were there was what we had at home. Being there I kept telling myself that I hoped the Universe would forgive me for all the bitching I’ve done, for the bad vibe I’ve been emanating. Justin had fun in Disneyland and that was outta sight. But Renee and I couldn’t wait to get back home.
Yesterday and today I’ve had a new perspective. Instead of giving in, I’m thinking about what’s next. I have a big idea, I think I’m going to do it. This piece in today’s New York Times jumped out at me
In particular, this
I’m not sure where Eric Hites is today. From what I can tell, he’s suspended his ride. But man, just the fact that he tried this blows my mind. And when I read his story it blows my mind. If I could hug and kiss him I would. Eric, you get back on your bike. If I could help you I would. But know that I’m here in the Universe sending you the vibe. You’re my hero man, thanks so much for your story.
“Life is suffering – and yet.”
I always imagine people in Manhattan having perfect lives. They get up to have coffee looking over Central Park. They go to really cool outdoor cafe’s for lunch. Then they go over to friend’s apartments later for stimulating conversation. I never imagine them having problems.
Then I read this piece by Ada Calhoun
What Ada writes about marriage is so right on. Renee and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. I’m fucked without her, she truly does make me want to be a better man. But there’s been plenty of days when I’ve wanted to strangle her, including recently. Renee has surely imagined life without me. In fact years ago we even filed for divorce.
Some of what Ada wrote jumped off the page at me. Like this
In Zen Buddhism, meditation helps practitioners detach from the cycle of desire and suffering. In my brief stint as a religious studies major, I preferred Pure Land Buddhism, an alternate path to enlightenment for people who (as one professor told us) may find it difficult to abandon worldly pain and passion because those things can also yield such beauty and comfort. He summed it up as: “Life is suffering — and yet.”
I think about that all the time: “And yet.” Such hedging, to me, is good religion and also the key to a successful marriage. In the course of being together forever, you come across so many “and yets,” only some of them involving domestic air travel.
“I love this person, and yet she’s such a mess. And yet when I’m sick, he’s not very nurturing. And yet we don’t want the same number of children. And yet I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be single again.
The longer you are with someone, the more big and little “and yets” rack up. You love this person. Of course you plan to be with him or her forever. And yet forever can begin to seem like a long time. Breaking up and starting fresh, which everyone around you seems to be doing, can begin to look like a wonderful and altogether logical proposition.
But “and yet” works the other way, too. Even during the darkest moments of my own marriage, I have had these nagging exceptions. And yet, we still make each other laugh. And yet, he is still my person. And yet, I still love him.
And so you don’t break up, and you outlast some more of your friends’ marriages.
“The way to stay married,” my mother says, “is not to get divorced.”
Epic failure is part of being human, and it’s definitely part of being married.
Life is suffering — and yet. This is a beautiful sentence for me right now. Yes, things so far haven’t gone exactly as planned. I’ve bitched and moaned. But yet here I am today. I’ve got my family, I’m alive. We’re all healthy. Most people don’t make it through what we have. And yet here I am, making plans. Yep, I’m older. But I got plenty of gas in the tank. I wouldn’t bet against me.
Ada wrote, “Epic failure is part of being human”. It’s right on. I forgot that failure is part of being alive. Instead, I framed failure as some sort of prison sentence. I was walking around with my head hung low. Instead of looking ahead I kept trying to build the time machine. I forgot that failure is temporary. And, I forgot the beauty of failure.
My first title to this post was “begin the dream again”. That doesn’t feel right. That feels like the first dream was wrong. Instead, it’s keep on truckin’. I’m not going to think about getting it right this time. Nothing was or is wrong. Everything, is exactly the way it should be. I need to burn those plans for the time machine.
and life is beautiful.