Because all experiences are valuable.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post Mortem

August is wise enough to lie down and wait,
like a dog panting watchfully for its master
until the grass grows up around his paws.
This year the master will not return- he sickened and died
over the course of a short sweet summer,
from complications of a broken heart and too many lies and sugar.

Watching the lost dog is akin to feeling an old wound
when the barometer is low, an ache in the feet or the hands,
that brings memories- heat lightning and trellises made for climbing.
She will watch the stars come out and the stars rise high,
and she will watch the dog turn and go,
and August will pass by kindly, awaiting its turn.

One Percent

I am a strong advocate of never staying the same. No status quo. No year passes without doing, trying, being something new. Give up things that aren't working anymore...or find ways to do them differently now.

I just watched the Next Food Network Star episode where the three finalists make their pitch pilot shows for the TV execs and for America. All three of the pilots focused in some way on taking something you are already doing and making it new, from dating to making pies. Guy and I were talking at the driving range, as we do a lot lately, about genetics. Specifically, he asked me if I thought most of what we do is predestined. I won't say what got him on this line of thought for that day, because that is personal to him- and he had some interesting thoughts. But here is what I answered, well, as best as I can remember.

I believe our lives are far more predetermined than we believe they are, but not by fate or by God, just by simple genetics. I think most "scientists" of any kind (even the science minded person) accept this, whereas most non-scientists don't like to dwell too long on how little control they have given the ancestors they were gifted with. We are made of simple things...some basic elements...some simple molecules. Those things come together into protein chains and enzymes and chemical messengers, and the only way to build a person is with a blueprint. The only blueprint anyone has is their DNA. DNA is a direct reflection of your parents, and their parents, and so on. The instructions for "you" are so far out of your own control that it can be sort of distressing if you aren't one of the few genetically blessed to match the set of standards that for a variety of mathematical and aesthetic reasons we all deem to be most perfect.

Others can take reality too far and decide that laying the blame at the feet of genetics for any and all shortcomings is a license to commit all sins unadulterated, or to let physical decline have its way with one like an overladen minecart down Pike's Peak.

MJL and I talk about this, too. Fighting gravity and staving off weakness and infirmity. He bikes. There is this huge hill which is his current nemesis. The other day one part of his 35-40 mile round trip was washed out from all this ridiculous rain. I texted, hey, you can just do the hill twice. I didn't think he really would. Later he texted...I made that hill my bitch, twice.

There is it right there.  The second part of my answer to Guy about predetermination was that while people underestimate how much they are controlled by their genetics from the very start, they underestimate even more the power they have within themselves at all times, much like Dorothy and her wish upon the red shoes, to affect literally everything about their lives. It's like you only have control of 5% of your own life...but that 5% is all of the things that really matter. Your attitude. Your effort. Your beliefs. Your willingness to work and keep working, to try and keep trying. Your ability to learn to be kind to yourself and to others, to be generous of spirit and to stop judging what is inside others. I don't advocate, as you may have read here previously, taking a non-discerning attitude about one's associates. Discern one's companions carefully, but don't judge what value a person may have inside that might be a wonderful asset to someone else.

The media tells us about the richest people being only 1%, or 3%, or .01% of the populace. Whichever...a very small percentage. Here, watch this famous Youtube video...you have to get to at least the five minute mark before quitting the video..

This can be applied to the whole genetics versus self-determination problem.You may only control 5% of what you are given to work with in this world. Maybe less. Maybe only 1%.
But- that 1% accounts for an overwhelming percentage of what happens in this life. That 1% is everything.

This is your life. It's a lot like a hill. When you think you are on the top, or you're on the backside- go around and do it again. That doesn't mean you can't ever "make it," or rest and relax. Just know that the brain and the body were not designed to need retirement. The strongest and the most healthy of the elderly never quit going, never quit working at whatever they loved, and never stopped learning something new.

Most fear is pointless. Most of your life there is no one watching you to see if you "fail." Failing is learning, anyway. Look back at what it took to learn the most important things that you know. We value most the lessons learned with the most effort. Now look back at how much time and effort you have wasted on fear of failure. We regret most the things we failed to master out of fear or laziness.

You are your own 1%. Life is out there. Make it your bitch.