Monday, 23 May 2016
I like aphorisms, which are, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, a short phrase that expresses a true or wise idea. This includes things like “laziness looks attractive, but work gives satisfaction,” “efficiency is intelligent laziness,” “make hay while the sun shines,” and so on.
What is this all about? It is about using one’s life, one’s time on this planet, in a way which after all is said and done, can be looked upon with satisfaction, not a series of “I should have” . . .
This past weekend was a big family birthday party to celebrate our sister-in-law’s mother’s 85th birthday. When I first met this family, I felt as if I had come home . . . there was, and still is, an openess to bring anyone into the family, whether or not related by blood, but simply related by friendship. In the years I have known this family, it has become my own. There is acceptance, warmth, and love. My own immediate family did not have this, so at first I could not believe this was real, but after years of seeing this, I know it is real, and it is what I hope to leave behind myself.
All of this requires a bit of work. Not hard work in the sense of blood, sweat and tears, but work in the making of an effort to keep connections alive. We, in our own family, do not tend to do this that well. We tend to be wary, not sure if we are wanted, not sure if we are imposing, and so on. What causes this? Can it be changed?
Right now, I don’t care whether I know what caused it or not, but what I do want to do is to change how we live. I want to bring into our own small family more community, more of the village that raises children and family and provides glue at a level which is psychological and emotional. More and more in our society we see this fragmenting, see it disappearing in preference for computers and devices and the virtual world because its escapism is addicting and so much easier to face than the challenges of daily life.
As I approach retirement, I know I will lose the community represented by my job. I am not especially close to any of my colleagues, but I could develop social connections heretofore avoided. I can revisit friendships I have let slide because of a nasty work schedule. Within my own family, this village can be rebuilt and nurtured, regardless as to the past . . . but it will take work and a conscious and conscientious change of habits, just as rethinking of finances and spending does. Rumi said, “Whatever you seek is seeking you,” is perhaps an easy way to sum it up, as is “Seek and ye shall find.” What this means is look, focus.
I have been pondering this question for the past several weeks, and realized within myself I have a longstanding sense of dissatisfaction because I have a difficult time staying focused on one thing. I am scattered into myriad interests, and the result is I can do many things, but perhaps not do anything especially well. I want to be more focussed. I want to master some things more than others, but I do not want to wait until I am retired. My work-life balance is not satisfactory . . . and while we do have financial goals, the personal goals have been falling more and more to the wayside. With The Student graduated, our own inner circles as a family can become a new village . . .