Late Fragment - Raymond Carver
And did you get what
You wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
Beloved on the earth.
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,
So why don't you?