Unfinished business

Life is good.

Well, at least not terribly unpleasant or painful. It’s quietly humming along, filled with inconsequential, petty annoyances, lightly seasoned with contentment and a pinch of occasional laughter. And that’s something, I’m fully aware, to be immensely thankful for, because it could be so, so much worse.

Life is good until one day it’s not. And then, if I’ve still got some luck in reserve, it’ll get good again. And then one day yet again, it’s not so good anymore, and worsening, and it won’t ever get good again. I’m not saying any of this to be depressing or morose (who, me?), but because it’s a valuable thing for me to remember and I need to keep reminding myself. It puts things in perspective. This is not a ground breaking thought, just something that I need to say out loud, or some reasonable facsimile of “out loud”.

I spend too much time and energy thinking about things that are unimportant, too much time and energy doing things I don’t care about, and far too much time and energy being afraid by rote, seemingly trying to inoculate myself from unnamed future calamities by doing barely anything I know I want and need to, like some type of pre-emptive penance. Flying under the radar, cloaked in stealthy blandness and dullness, coasting along. And when life is “good”, I’ll coast for months, years, decades, on those calm winds. But I know what life is like when it’s not good, I remember. But I don’t remember enough; I don’t remember often enough nor deeply enough. Because I keep on thinking about these unimportant things and doing things I don’t care about, over and over and over again. For months, years, decades.

Recently I’ve been thinking about unfinished things. People and things in my life I’ve abandoned and who’ve abandoned me. Things I wanted but didn’t have the courage to get. Things I thought I didn’t want and didn’t have the wisdom and self-knowledge to realize I was losing something by discarding or neglecting them. And I’ve been thinking about habits. Habitual survival, habitual fear. Behaviours and thoughts I don’t generally notice or question because they’ve become so natural, but are obviously so counterproductive, so at odds to what I actually need and value. I learned them from other people. People who don’t value the things that I do and don’t despise the things I do. They interact with, and perceive, the world far differently than I do. I know I’m not the only one on auto pilot, but it gets tiresome not steering.

Unfinished business. The things I’d begun because I felt that they were worth doing, or because they were positive and natural to my nature, only to be abandoned because they were too difficult, or too scary, or too painful. And because I talked myself out of even believing they were worth doing, maybe partly as a way of avoiding dealing with these things that were difficult or scary or painful. But also, I’m thinking now, partly because I allowed other people’s perceptions of what is worthy to affect my own perceptions, without even realizing.

Anyway, I can’t change the past, only the future. We’re all going to leave some things unfinished, whether mundane or momentous. The question is: what exactly do I want to be doing in the days and weeks and months and years leading up to that moment when I’ll have no choice but to irrevocably leave things unfinished?

    • Ha ha. Well, I don’t know how much anyone ever figures out, but the figurin’ needs to begin far sooner than the deathbed, is all I’m sayin’.

  1. I have found that for the majority, in either large noticeable, obvious ways, or even in the imperceptible ways that we just subconsciously get acclimated to – the struggle of life is so, that when we do actually get those winds to coast on for awhile, that switching on autopilot is just so damn easy to do.

    Just to not, if only for awhile, either us knowing and recoginizing that it will probably only be short lived… or because, after so much struglle, we just willingly get accepting of life being easier, just let ourselves get sucked into the complacency of it, and just hop out of the driver’s seat, and let whatever take us wherever until whenever.

    For me, I have found it only natural for us to do so… and just another small part of the survival instinct in each of us. I think though the sad thing is, is just that a lot of people become so comfortable in that comfortability, that like, getting back on that horse of life and once more into the breach kind of attitude and vigor, gets pushed down and supressed, by us, in that perceived warm grip of just letting go and going along in the acceptance of everything “being good” right now… even though deep down, it really isn’t to us… but, hey, it’s close enough, or in the same region, planet of being so, and so that is close enough… as the alternative is losing even that illusional “life being/going good” to do that terrifying ‘c’ word! – change.

    For some of us though, there just comes a point and time, where we can’t continue to bullshit ourselves, to continue to believe in the lies of it all, and doing so, set about to really and truly find that which will make us happy, and life, for real, be good for us.

    As it sounds, and as you have said to me, you are at that precipice… and for me, to be able to take that leap into the dark, unknown abyss that lies beyond the edge there, just came to be as equally as bad as what lay behind, or where I was … well, shit! What lies ahead if I take this leap, can’t be any worse than where I am right now! Because, here and now, is sucking the very life out of me! Might as well go out on my terms, and not on some given up acceptance I fell into.

    It’s all a learning process and thing. Learn as you go. Learn as you do. While just trying to naviagte the rocky waters. It’s actually almost fun… when you’re not stressin’ like a mad man over things (which I have NEVER done personally, as you know! 😉)… but, it is… once you get your sea legs on, and out from shore, steering your own ship yourself by your own set of stars, current, winds, of your choosing… when freedom is all you know – there are few things as freeing, fulfilling, completing as knowing that all you see from horizon to horizon, is all your’s, and that you can do and go anywhere, in any direction, at any time, at your own choosing… the deep, soul deep, feeling of worth, control, power of being your own captain… those dark stormy skies off yonder starboard bough, you just smile, batten down the hatches, both hands on the wheel, you find you don’t even steer to avoid or go around it, but turn straight into it! Because, goddamnit, that is LIFE! And I am going to live it!

    Okay, I don’t know what the hell I just all said, or if it made any sense whatsoever… all I can say, Paul, is to not listen to me, or anybody else, only to yourself, honestly and truly listen, deep down to yourself, and that voice within you, and trust in that voice and in yourself, to do whatever it may be that you feel, think and say… for it will lead you to where it is you want to be, find, and go.

    That’s what I am doing… and accept for those brief couple of times where my melodramatic self went all bat shit crazy overboard in stress and worry, only to come out of it all, and for that sun to again pierce that horizon and light my day and world that I am every day creating for myself… it will for you too, in whatever YOU choose, decide to do. Just be patient… always atop that mast in that little lookout bucket, with your telescope to eye, scanning from horizon to horizon for that sliver of land to steer towards…

    Okay, enough of my stretching this shipping metaphor! 😄😏

    All the best to you, Paul. Just remember this – believe and trust in yourself, and don’t ever forget not to.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jeff, stretched metaphor and all. Yeah, I understood you completely, of course. While we aren’t quite doppelgangers, we’re on the same wavelength in these matters 🙂

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