Thursday, September 09, 2010

Random Thoughts Volume I

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance".
-H. Jackson Brown

If at first you don't succeed, keep trying. There's a lot to be said for perseverance and consistent effort. You don't have to use a machete to get ahead in life. One of my former bosses once told me that "80% of success is showing up". So, persevere, keep trying, show up, and you will be successful. Now you have to ask yourself, "What is success"?

"A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest".
-A basic law of physics

I have noticed that on weekends when I have nothing to do I often feel like I am 90 years old. I sleep a few extra hours and when I get up I move in slow motion. I feel like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz before Dorothy found his oil can. On the other hand, if I am going on vacation I will spring out of bed at 5:00 AM and drive 200 miles before having breakfast. Maybe it's as simple as me needing a new mattress or the obvious thought that going on vacation is more fun than going to work. However, it's a little more basic than that. Action generates energy. Have you ever done chores late at night and then experienced a "second wind" that makes you want to stay up half the night? On weekends does it take you forever to get out of bed or off the couch? It's very difficult to do sometimes...because it is a mind game....but I know that if I am feeling lethargic the best thing to do is get off my ass and do something. Unfortunately, my ass usually wants to stay at rest. In the end it is mind over body.

"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter"
-Satchel Paige

Everyone suffers. For some it is an obvious physical ailment. Not so obvious is emotional and mental suffering. Buddha says that suffering is all in your head and that we are the cause of most of our own suffering. I know I have sometimes thought my mind was my biggest enemy. I am constantly playing head games with myself. I have read that if you don't intentionally think positive thoughts your mind is hard wired to think negative ones. Reality, like age, is a matter of perception. Some people think my office is a great place to work. A few think it is a concentration camp. Both views are a reaction to the same place. Why do they differ? The difference is perception and attitude. My mind thinks I am 25 years old. So why do I have to take a vacation day after every rock concert? Well, my body apparently perceives age differently than my mind.

I've come to the conclusion that life is like the four seasons. If you are lucky enough to live 80 years, you get approximately 20 years per season. Childhood and youth are spring. Young adulthood is summer. Middle age is fall. Old age is winter. I will soon be sixty so I am near the end of the autumn of my life. Winter is coming soon. Here's my question to you. Is there anyone else out there at my stage of life who feels like I do? How do I feel? In some ways I am at my intellectual and emotional peak. At the same time I feel like I don't know anything. I am also not sure how I feel about most things. Everything I thought I knew and everything I thought I felt seems to have left me. The irony of this is that I generally feel peaceful and content. This is not the same thing as being happy. I am also not sure what happy is. There are moments of joy but also many moments of emptiness and longing. How I need to be filled or what I long for is a mystery. I have one more season to figure it out...maybe. The seasons are not guaranteed.

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