Hi my pretties,
Though a country boy from the backwaters of the Texas panhandle, I certainly can appreciate the wisdom that comes with life experiences. As Lawlover observed, an appreciation for our life will add to it; wallowing in self pity or bitterness will detract from it. This, to me, seems to be the essential mathematics of human life.
Choices. Everything boils down to choices. Should I stay on the ranch or dare I branch out an explore other aspects of life? Do I read "The Poisonwood Bible" or do I read westerns? Should I study math or take agriculture classes? Should I treat women like my dad treated my mom? Should I withdraw or should I...
You get the point. Our lives are our choices. We live in and we become the games we play - and we all play games! It's part of growing up. We assume roles, only to discard them when we find a better or more meaningful role. Some people never give up their original garb of immaturity and shallow thought. Some blossom into beautiful women and wonderful men, paragons of what society should adopt as a way of living. There is, however, always that battle brewing in us, that horrible little demon that wants us to follow a path that seems so good but is full of empty promises. Should I stay or should I go? No matter what we choose, the darkness is always there, ready to pounce on the unguarded mind. This is part of the human condition, and it makes life so very interesting. Truthfully, if I had nothing inside of myself to fight, I would get bored. Life would be too easy.
Sure, I know what you're thinking: you want life to be stress-free and idyllic. I used to think that also, but I had an epiphany about 30 years ago that showed me a little more about the substance of a complete life. I had suffered a tragedy and thought that I would never be whole again, but life, that sneaky little imp, found a way to get me back among the living. The details are unimportant to anyone but me; however, the darkness showed me how to appreciate the sweetness of the light, the substance of light.
I sometimes think that I cannot live well with the darkness inside of me, and sometimes I think that I cannot live well without that very darkness, but I always live fully because of it. The dichotomy and symbiosis startles me almost to paralysis at times, and I will over analyze even the smallest detail of life. And then...
And then I realize that it is a natural part of a full life. The darkness and the light, the good and the bad, it all makes up the warp and woof of life, it gives life its texture and resilience and beauty. Life becomes an unadorned masterpiece by an artist that hardly anyone believes in anymore (I guess because it's not cool anymore), a sizzling lightning bolt at the wrong times, but a lightning bolt that moves us in another direction. Is it the right direction? How the hell do I know? It's your choice - and mine. Those lightning bolts will come, but your choice is your choice.
I'm not a big believer in the Ayn Rand school of philosophy, but there is a lot to be said for self-determination. When those lightning bolts come and release the darkness, we have to make a determination as to how to act, how to survive, where to place our faith. It's different for everyone. Lightning bolts are like snowflakes: they are all different, and they are chilly harbingers of darkness.
Yes, too many metaphors and similes, not mention that I tend to beat them to death when on a rant. But life has no real simile, has no metaphoric equal. It is so unique that our vague sensory perceptions can only relate to parts of it at any given time; life is that huge and panoramic and mysterious and complex. But mine is mine, and I made most of it by my choices. Sure, I'm the son of a west Texas rancher, but I didn't choose to chew straws of hay and say "aw shucks" every three minutes. I could have become distant and intolerant like my dad. I could believe that all women were compliant and uncomplaining like my mom. Simply put, I could have totally succumbed to my environment and lived a good if somewhat limited life. Those choices, though, got to me. I just had to see what was out there.
Would I do it all over again? Yes, most of it. Like everyone else, I have regrets. That wisdom that comes with age seems to always come just a little too late. Still, I would hate to have a perfect life, for what would be left to strive for? I like my full and incomplete life; it affords me the opportunity to dream, to strive for something better, to continue to make mistakes so that I may continue to learn a little more about myself and my life.
Yes, there's always more. That's what makes it all so fun!