Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Give, Give, Give


When I first started writing these essays, nearly a year ago, I felt as though I had a lot to say, that I was on the beginning of a journey and that a record of that journey was in order. Along the way, I wrote some things that spoke to me. I found things through the writing that hadn't been there before I had started to say them. More often than not, or so it seems in retrospect, I finished the 750 words feeling as though I was on to something and excited to see what tomorrow would bring.

I just walked outside for a moment and saw a man out for a walk. He was heavy but with small legs. His white t-shirt hung off him in extra-extra-large fashion, half covering his black shorts. He carried an umbrella and he swayed as he walked. I was coming in from my car. I had just grabbed my running clothes out of it so that I can suit up for a run after work. Looking at the man who was, it seemed obvious to me, out walking to find some way to get in shape, I wondered what had become of my mind and the journey I was on.

It's a cliche to say that it's easy to forget about living when I feel overwhelmed in the tasks of daily life, but being cliche doesn't diminish the truth of the matter. I have been overlooking a great deal of life because I feel overwhelmed with living it. This is part of why my therapy sessions have been less useful than ever, why I'm not writing much of anything, and why I'm having trouble with my weight and my ambition to be healthy. I have simply forgotten about living because I have this, that, that, and this other thing to get done today.

It's not an unusual story.

Looking back on what I've written, almost nothing has been unusual. I didn't set out to write things that no one had ever thought or said before. Instead, I wanted to be present in my life, to notice things that were happening, and (again, this is cliche) to fall in love with my life. For a while it worked and I was truly in love with this life I lead, but then, I don't know when exactly, I let the life lead me and fell into a rut from which loving life is not possible.

Still, all that writing, that long journey have not gone for naught. A year ago when I was struggling with some of these same feelings, I couldn't put a name to them and I was fighting the feelings themselves. I was sure that there was no way forward, not for me anyway. It was all too much. One year and a couple hundred essays later, I know better. It's actually easy to heal myself. All I have to do is open my eyes, breathe, and move.

Right now I'm smiling.

I don't have any great plans to announce here. I don't guarantee that I'll write every day of the coming year, the rest of this month, or even the remainder of this week. I don't know that I'll really go out for a run this afternoon. I know only that I am typing this right now, that I have good music on, that light through the window is muted but still delicious, and that I am warm, fed, and happy. That feels like enough.

Earlier today I finished a book called _The Moment_, a collection of short essays from _Smith Magazine_ about a moment that changed the writer's life. Right after that I picked up Mitch Albom's _Tuesdays With Morrie_ and the combination of those two are enough to get me writing and thinking about life.

I also got to thinking about how wrapped up my wife and I both are in the crazy schedules we lead taking care of our kids and our own lives. I found myself wishing that she would take time out and shower me with attention. Then, just seconds into that self-pitying feeling, I realized that asking for attention isn't a way to get to an answer. Instead, showering her with attention is the way to go. "Give and give and give," I said out loud to myself.

And just saying it felt good. I had my eyes open. I was breathing. I was moving forward, accepting the world and my place in it. It's the sort of thought that makes me want to write on.