Saturday, April 28, 2012

Forty Days and Nights

Forty days ago, my previous employment ended.  My way of living ended.  Rather than pick and move on, I initiated full necrosis of that person and have been itching to pick at the skin as this new one heals up.  This form is not complete, but it’s getting along nicely.

I began writing as a personal initiative.  Can’t write if you aren’t writing, and the quality of what I had written in terms of my fiction was all over the place.  So I embarked on a personal objective: 80 days of writing, 500 words a day.  Those were the only two standards.  I could select freeform subjects, requiring me to talk less during the day, and listen more.  Coming from retail, this was a challenge.

I chose 80 days, as I would like to have 80,000 words written at some point.  500 a day is my safety net – a bare minimum.  So far, I have 52,000.  I will not be including this entry in that total.

This is a status update.  I am not nearly as stressful, aggressive, or irritating as I was forty days ago.  I have gotten to know more about my wife, and what her life actually entails.  I’ve been able to spend more time at the shelter, tending to all of the wonderful animals I’d only seen an hour or two each Thursday for four or five hours a week.  I’ve been able to pick through memories I gave up as gone.  I am starting to reconnect all the pieces of myself that I wanted to lose over time – pieces that make up who I am, but I thought I didn’t need.

Every piece of a person is what makes them who they are.  I’ve gone for ages, silently sad and disappointed at the misadventures of my maligned youth.  Now, I can wear those scars with a silent dignity.  Hopefully, by the completion of this project, I will wear those burdens with a telling grace.  I will use the strength of my past to light my future.

I have a great job with amazing coworkers.  The longer I am there, the more my brain clicks off what I don’t need, and picks up what I do.  This job is also teaching me how to ask better questions.  This is good, because my brain turns these phrasings against me, and I find myself providing better answers.

Most importantly, my worldview is finally coming into focus.  What I want in life isn’t a fantastic creation of a sixteen year old kid anymore.  It’s focused, achievable, yet necessarily dynamic.  Life is full of too many wonderful variables to be static.  Not to mention, you miss so much by letting it stand still while you pass it by.

That’s the big one that I’ve been waking up to: passing life by.  The notion is that we sit down and watch the world pass us by.  The case is quite the opposite – life happens to us when we let it.  Someone else may be running in the rain screaming with laughter.  We’ll put our warm hands against the glass, watching as the heat dissipates and smudges the view.  We wonder if that’s fun; if that feels as wonderful as they make it sound.  We hesitate; the person passes, and so does our reason to go out and join them. 

The moment’s on the table waiting for us.  The question is whether or not you’re willing to seize it.  I had an opportunity present itself, and I could have just gone back to retail, playing a video game, or something else.  Instead, I put my foot down - and into a goal.  It was specific enough for results; vague enough for personalization and flexibility.  I found that while I am a singular entity, there are still a great number of people that influence me.  My life is, literally, “Not Just Cletus.”

The next time life calls, don’t get so hung up on yourself that you can’t answer.  Go dance in the rain, laughing.  If you haven’t answered any of life’s other calls, you could probably use the shower.

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