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Late Fragment - Raymond Carver

And did you get what
You wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
Beloved on the earth.


I don't own a TV. It's not really a topic of discussion until a caught-off-guard houseguest visit and realizes they have committed to spending 48 hours without a television to watch. Maybe that's why I don't have many houseguests. There are many valid reasons why I don't own a TV. Cable is too expensive - therefore I'm cheap. I work too much - therefore I'm never home. Television bores me - therefore I'm pretentious. But owning a television doesn't mean enough to me. If it did, I would own one. In spite of all the aforementioned excuses, I would buy a TV. But it means more to my houseguests than it does to me. So therefore, I have no intention of buying one.

Going home. That also didn't mean enough to me. So that's why, barring the coincidental recruiting trip to Michigan, I never went home to spend time with family. Once again I have valid reasons (excuses) why I didn't. Flights are costly; my work schedule doesn't allow many opportunities to go home; Flint, MI depresses (& slightly scares) me; all my friends have moved away....blah blah blah. The truth is, however, going home just didn't mean enough to me...until it did. Until an uncle and cousin both died within 2 months of one another. Until my mom was diagnosed with Ataxia Cerebellum in March. Until my aunt suddenly passed away in May. Or the day I finally went home and half of my extended family came to see me because no one could believe I was actually there. Or when I told my cousin he looked old and he reminded me we were the same age (I'm actually a year older) but he looks old to me because I hadn't been home in years. Maybe when my cousins introduced me to their kids and I didn't even know my cousins had kids. "Wait, you have kids?" And my cousin's kids didn't know they had a cousin who lived in Nebraska. "Wait, where is Nebraska?!?"

Something changed during my last visit home. And what I realized in my desire to be aloof and selfish, was that I was the one that was missing out. Flint, MI was going on without me and memories were being made that I would never be a part of. And I had the power to change that. And all it required on my part was effort, a small amount of time, and cashing out some frequent flyer miles. Being an active part of my family's lives and being able to appreciate them in life more than death means more to me than any reason (excuse) I've ever made. So I will go home more regularly. And I will make time to work out. And I will be disciplined enough to make healthier eating choices. And I will sleep more and work unnecessarily less. And I will strive to be present in everything I do. (But I'm still not buying a TV.)

If it means enough to you then you will do whatever it is that you claim you don't have time, energy, or money to do, like finishing the degree you're always talking about. If you want to write a book, Google "How to write a book" and start typing. If you want to get in better shape, make a concerted effort to make positive changes in your lifestyle. If you're 350 lbs. and you want to be a world class ballerina, that's not going to happen so be realistic.

"If we stay where we are, where we're stuck, comfortable & safe, we die there. If you only want to know what you already know, you're dying. New is scary & new can be disappointing. New is life.  Help, Thanks, Wow - Anne LaMott

We all have reasons (excuses) why we can't work out or why we don't eat right or why we don't make time for the people we should make time for. Don't come up with reasons (excuses) to support your apathy and lack of care. Take ownership of it and proudly admit that it just doesn't mean enough to you. Because if it did, you would.

So why don't you? 

 


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