Yesterday, I did commit to writing every day, so let’s find out what’s on my mind today.
Today, my grandfather would have been 76. He did when I was 8. 25 years ago. If there’s one event that changed (or shaped, if you believe that sort of thing) the course of my life, it was that night. I wrote about it recently, before I switched from paper journaling to electronic. It was so powerful that I literally walked away from the work more than a few times. I never finished, but I must have gotten what I needed from the experience.
Anyway, I used to go to the cemetery every year on his birthday, but I don’t see a need to do that anymore. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
Maybe it’s because I feel like the essence of him isn’t there; maybe I feel like he’s always with me. I wear a cross around my neck that connected him and my grandmother from the early days of their relationship. It always stays on me.
Maybe I’m reminded of the guilt. The night that he died, I went to bed angry with him over something silly. I was so young, and I had just discovered the power that came with getting angry with an adult. So I exercised it, and I he apologized. But still I went to bed angry, because it felt powerful. And I never got to accept his apology, or apologize myself for overreacting.
That experience shaped a lot of my life too. Because of that night, and that event, I made it a sacred vow of mine never to go to bed angry with someone I love, and to do everything I can to make sure no one I care about goes to bed angry with me.
Whatever the reason, I don’t feel like my grandfather’s essence, the spirit of who he was and what he meant to me, exists in a physical place. I believe that it’s always with me. (Maybe I’m not as Agnostic as I claim to be…)
I need to start making more intentional decisions about how I spend my time. I’m never going to be able to watch all the shows, see all the movies, and read all the books. I need to practice decision-making on trivial things, so that when it comes to things that really matter, my decision-making muscle will be strong enough to handle the pressure. It’s scary to make choices, because whenever I do, I’m struck by the realization that I’m simultaneously NOT choosing everything else.
But that struggle can be overcome with the practice of mindfulness. Rather than dread the present, beat myself up for the past and look forward to the future, I need to practice experiencing life literally as it’s happening. In some situations, I’m able to do that. But looking forward and backward is a bad habit I’m still trying to break. It happens less often now than it used to, but it does still happen.
Anyway, I spend so much time wishing I could read all the books I have, or see all the shows and movies I want to, that sometimes I get paralyzed by it and don’t finish (or start) anything. That’s one of the reasons I’m trying to write stream-of-consciousness-style right now (and hopefully every day). Because if I sit and stare at the cursor, waiting and wanting to write the perfect story, I’ll never get anything on the page. My choices of books, activities, friends, and everything in life need to be less impulsive than this writing exercise, but just as decisive.
Simply put: if I want to experience life, I need to actively choose to. Every single day. I need to overcome my depression, lonely and sad days, and my laziness. I need to create some structure for myself, and live it out. I have goals, interests, friends, and commitments. It’s way past time to live up to my own standards for myself. And if I start to think I’m already doing that, it’s time to raise those standards. I’m capable of much more than I think I am. Time to push myself to achieve, and to make the difference in the world that I keep saying I want to.
Perhaps in an effort to motivate myself, I should document my decisions and any progress I make on them. However, I need to be careful not to get bogged down in that documentation, because I can (and have) used that as a distraction and avoidance technique in the past. So whatever it is, it needs to be simple, quick, and easy to access. If it’s not, I won’t do it, because actually living and EXPERIENCING the experience is apparently more important than being able to prove I had that experience at a later date.
At least that’s what my therapist says.