Monday, March 03, 2014

From the notebooks of Ramblin' Ad Swiftiott

This is what happens when I take my notebook with me and drink coffee and write in the notebook and drink the coffee and write some more until I get to the point where I have stopped writing or the coffee is all gone, or both. It begins, it ends, in the middle is the past between the beginning and the end, and those parts tend to have little relation to each other. So consider this a warning.

Tom Petty was wrong. As much as the song rocks in the most TomPetty of ways, The Waiting is not the hardest part.

The hardest part is the doing. The moment when all the thoughts and schemes and plans in your (my, whatever, pick a pronoun you like better, I'll tend to fluctuate with this) head stop being the thoughts and plans and schemes in your (my, etc.) head while you are drinking a beer and hitting play for the next episode of Cheers on Netflix. Not that there isn't a value in being able to slow down and relax. The danger for me (me) has been that my intense belief in being able to slow down and be calm often devolves into something that looks and feels an awful lot like inertia. Because it is.

There are too many days where I spend too much time and energy figuring out how to do the least amount of anything possible.

Don't have to talk to anyone today? Great!

Can get my work done by lunchtime? Amazing!

Can use all that extra time from getting my work done to take another nap? It's not depression, it's a reward!

But still, I'm as happy as I can remember being in a very long time. I recognize and accept many of my shortcomings and don't let them define me. I may not always do enough to fix them, but there is always that first step.

Some days that first step is nothing more than walking out the door carrying a book, and on especially good days I've packed up a notebook and a couple of pens and I take them to a place where there are other people. I may not interact with those other people, but it is good to know there is a world with sunlight and conversations and general weirdness outside my basement bunker. And while I'm all-in-all pretty comfortable being alone, my favorite way to be alone is when I'm someplace busy. It's the feeling of walking alone in the city and feeding off the energy of the crowd. (This feeling does extend to shopping at a Market Basket on a Saturday, but everyone must recognize that is a whole other ballgame that jumps the line from busy to pure insanity.)

It also helps that I try to surround myself with good, kind people and I try to feed off their positive energy and be there for them when they need a lift. I think I've always (at least tried) to do that, but given my essentially laid back nature, it has been too easy at times for me to get tied into the negativity and suffering of others.

There have been too many times when I've gone along just to get along. When I've nodded my head when someone has said something about someone else that is hurtful, then I feel like an asshole for weeks afterward for falling into that trap again.

Which is not the same thing as never talking about people at all, the good and the bad of them. There is a big difference between negativity for the sake of negativity and trying to come to grips with the strengths and weaknesses of the people you let into your life. In these cases, I've always made the effort (sometimes successful, sometimes not) to not only focus on the negative but to give it the ol' proverbial walking a mile in the other person's shoes (or chanclas) and trying to understand why that person may be feeling or acting in a particular way.

I never really get too upset with the whole concept of "I hate it when people talk behind  my back." I accept that there are people out there discussing my failings and shortcomings and maybe even a positive trait or two. It is what people do. As long as these discussions are honest and not just an excuse to slander me or call me an asshole (without at least having a reason for it), it's fine with me. The only thing worse than being talked about is being ignored.

So, somewhere there may have been a thread in all of this that became unraveled, but I took the step. Or thread the needle. Or something.


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