Sunday, August 9, 2015

Philosophy Unleashed

As I was walking the dog yesterday morning, I got to thinking about my life. Frequently my walks with Toby are when I deal with the anxieties of daily life. I work things out, think things through and sometimes kick ideas around. Getting outdoors always helps me broaden my outlook and put things in perspective.

So yesterday, I thought about how rich my life is and how lucky and blessed I am. And as cliche' as that may sound, it wasn't all roses. This is the way my inner-critic tainted head works.

I thought of my house and how much I love being in it. It's a poor man's castle, built in 1922, and needs a zillion things fixed - chimney tuckpointing, a noisy furnace, and front steps with a good lean to them. But I also realize it has more living space and convenience than 85% of what the rest world has, so I'm not complaining. It's mostly good.

And I thought about my teenage kids, and how it drives me crazy that they sleep until noon in the summer and that the car and their rooms are filled with cans, wrappers and dirty dishes. And that the car sometimes shows up in my driveway running on fumes or with a new scratch or dent. But they are great kids. They stay out of trouble, know right from wrong, have good jobs and are both hard workers. And I need to remember these things and be grateful. I am incredibly blessed by their presence in my life. My kids are mostly good.

Then I thought about my wife and how I had just shared coffee and this week's agenda with her; a weekly event that we've built into our lives. I realized that I know of so many people that envy that or wish their spouse would do that. And while she sometimes drives me crazy (and I, her, I'm no innocent here) I know that at the end of the day, she loves me to my core (and I, her.) Our marriage is mostly good.

As Toby and I rounded the corner, I thought about my writing. I thought of all the things that my books is not or had not become. Never a Top 100 seller on Amazon, no great notable mentions in the newspaper. The same goes for my poetry and short stories - how they never get into the "big publications." Then my mind is quickly reminded of all the joy and goodness and satisfaction that my writing has brought me, including all the beautiful, talented writers I've come to know. Oh, and then there's the two books, two anthologies and multiple magazines I've been able to be a part of. And I think, what are you, nuts? And after further review, I realize my writing life is mostly good.

As Toby sniff's his twenty third tree on our walk, I think about my extended family and all of their peronality tics, emotional warts and behavioral shortcomings, including myself among them, of course. Last weekend I had the chance to spend some quality time with most of them. When I was riding home however, the things that kept running through my brain were how much fun we had, rather than all the ways we don't measure up to one another's expectations. We laughed like we were sitting around the dinner table in 1973. And I realized that my family is mostly good.

And, finally, I thought about my dog and how he needs professional grooming and how his need to
sniff every shrub, tree and hydrant we pass is really annoying. But all of this is overshadowed by his undying devotion to me and my wife and kids and that he is a committed companion that loves me unconditionally. Yep, my dog is mostly good.

And my walk brought me to the realization that maybe "mostly good" is the best we can ever hope for. We spend so much of our lives pushing for "perfect" or "better," and it seems that every time we do that, the best we can achieve is "mostly good."

So that's my new frame of reference. I'm going to look for the good in everything and examine it and appreciate it hard enough until it outweighs the bad.

Because mostly good is the best anyone can hope for.

Blogging off...

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