Tag Archives: life

finding the shift key

The strangest thing about life is that people talk about it like it’s this thing that’s separate from themselves.  They envision their “Life” as being this thing that is out there somewhere, waiting to be lived.  You talk about it as if you’re outside of it and controlling it, but really you’re inside of it and it’s controlling you. And yet life is really the thing that you do every single day. 

The capital L Life, the one people talk about out loud, is climbing mountains, and quitting your job to go back to school to do what you’ve always wanted, and biking through Southeast Asia, and doing the Iron Man, and raising money for cancer research.  The little l life is the real one, the one that consists of waking up, going to work, cleaning the bathroom, cooking meals, walking the dog, getting a beer with a friend, going to Target to buy shampoo, fixing the leak in the ceiling, hanging up pictures on the walls, watching Mad Men, making the bed, doing laundry.  The thing I’m still trying to figure out is how to capitalize the l in my Life, because I’m stuck in lower case.

For the past eleven years of living in Philly, I’ve been living life without knowing it. I’ve always been biding my time, waiting for Life to kick in, as if it was something that would just happen without my help. I never thought that time was counting toward the total. But looking back I can see how much it adds up. And now here I am.

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and if you find a new way, you can do it today

Today was one of those days that puts things into perspective a bit. We went to Aunt Annie’s father’s memorial service today, which while a little long and dragged out, was inspirational nonetheless. Her father Bill sounded like quite an amazing man. He was an all around Renaissance man – a philosopher, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a spiritualist. Everyone seemed very taken with him.

The last person who gave a eulogy – a friend and colleague – said something that really hit me: he said, “Bill was a complete person.” Meaning his life’s path was completed, with no strings left untied, despite having passed somewhat suddenly. And I thought, that’s what I want. I want to be a complete person. Right now I feel like I’m about 25% complete.

I lead a small life. I have very few friends and spend 90% of my non-work time with only Greg, I feel no fulfillment from my job, I don’t have a career path, I am completely wrapped up in my own stress and idiosyncrasies, and if I died tomorrow there wouldn’t be much to say about me. I want to be bigger than that. I want to have a big circle of loving friends, and to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just a small one. I want to inspire people and to be inspired by people. I want to love life and love my job and love everyone around me.

I’m only thirty one. That’s not very old. And you’re never too old to change yourself. There’s no reward in this life without risk – risk of business ventures, risk of reaching out to people, , risk of going new places, risk of putting yourself out there in every way, always, regardless of what you get back. But really, if I put love out into the world, what would I get back but love in return?

So I’m going to do it. I’m going to be a complete person. Starting now.

P.S. I really wish transcendental meditation courses weren’t so expensive.