Today I come clean.
I finally accept that The World and My (so-called) Life will forever undergo change. I also accept that I’m stuck smack dab in the middle of that universal cement mixer and there’s not one thing I can do about it. Good and bad, revolution happens. Oh, I can observe, analyze, compute, project, plan, set objectives and goals, all wonderful gyrations that I can go through to convince myself I’m on staying on top of things. But those changes just keep on coming and they’re going to keep on coming and keep me forever high-stepping through the morass. The best I can really do is get better boots!
The way I now see it, I may not ever become that “Phil” I thought I always would be someday when I grow up. Heck, I’m on the downhill side of my mid-fifties, which should mean I’m already grown-up, but I’ve had to continue to grow and I don’t mean just horizontally. The problem is I thought I had it all figured out many, many years ago, forty-one years ago in fact, at the ripe old age of fifteen. But, needing to address constant variations of being, I’ve had to go back to the Drawing Board of My Life again and again. Transformation ad nauseum!
Things that were so important twenty or thirty years ago have become absolutely meaningless as I’ve hit my forties and fifties. And, vice-versa, things so insignificant when I was much younger have grown exceedingly crucial now that I’m staring at sixty. Throw in kids, education, mortgages, tuitions, jobs, family, entertainment, technology, savings, retirement plans, my city my state my country, global warming, recycling rules, let alone the Fate of the World - I could go on and on and on and on. And I have to; go on and on, I mean. But for some reason, these new points of focus want to invade my thoughts in the middle of the night, right around 3:17 a.m., the wee hours, slapping me around, prodding me to solve the issues, create some plans, provide some answers, shouting, “Hey, wake up and deal with us!” when all I want to do is fall back asleep.
I read in Sports Illustrated that Erik Spoelstra, the forty-two year old head coach of the Miami Heat, gathered the reigning and remaining championship team before the first day of training camp after losing The King, Superstar Lebron James, in the offseason. He addressed the players. “How many times have you reinvented yourself to become somebody new, somebody better? But in order to do that you have to be uncomfortable. You can’t stay who you are….Things change and you have to be able to adapt.”
So to me, that’s the new KEY idea I’ve learned: those changes to the World and to My Life are going to continue and they’re going to continue FOREVER. Really. Forever. And I will feel uncomfortable but I have to keep up. I can pretend I don’t need to, tell myself I won’t, play it cool, act as if I’ve already got everything all figured out. But that would just be bull-hockey. Sort of like being on a moving treadmill – you can stand still if you want, but you’ll get whisked along anyway and eventually you’ll get dumped off the edge and maybe even get injured. And you can’t look too cool getting dumped off a treadmill.
It’s cliché, I know, but what I’ve learned over and over, time and time again, through examples from friends and strangers, through music, through books, through movies, through Facebook for God’s sake, through LIFE: I have got to focus on the Good Stuff. The Good Stuff brings really good energy, happiness. That’s easy to deal with, fun and fulfilling. And much of the Good Stuff is earned through hard work and I shouldn’t discount that. The Bad is where I get beat up. Worry comes and worry goes, stress grows and stress goes. But I must dig, sometimes dig deep, and I will always find something there to rejoice about, find joy, to fill me with wonder.
How fitting that this Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, time to count our blessings, time to give thanks. That should be all the time, every day. If things change, that is.