Tuesday, March 28, 2006


It's past due for the end of the day and it's time for me to collect my thoughts. Should I be depressed? Not really. Things have been getting by a little evenly in the past few days after some hectic weeks.

I haven't been reading as much as I wanted. Time was when I thought of this Middle East sojourn as a creative impetus - I could take a break to think and then some. Alas, I signed up or got signed up to so many commitments I'm having difficulty balancing all of them. Was it the desire to fill the empty spaces of my life, or was it elemental rudderlessness as usual?

I'd actually pick the first - it's not that my life lacks direction, it's just that sometimes I let go of the helm once in a while or mayhap whiffle in the face of something new and unexpected. That has been my thing for four years (broken only by my committing to work here). I lost my job, I disappointed tons of friends, I threw away two opportunities (umm, make that three) for a lifetime commitment with otherwise eligible women. Along the way, of course, I had finally grasped the identity which seemed to have eluded me for years (and finally decided I was in between being a total a**hole and a total wuss).

Which brings me back again to the first question. Is there so much empty space in my life that I'm searching for things to fill them? Just recently I wrote that I didn't need a special someone to make my life relevant. Or something to that effect.

Hannah Arendt once said, "The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil." Is this what troubles me -- that I really haven't made up my mind on an objective good, or am I caught in so many shades of goodness I don't know which one to choose. Maybe the latter.

It's not as if I'm caught in a quandary all the time; I just believe that the condition I'm in is not the condition to which I am best suited. Maybe I should have been an academic, or perhaps should have blazed my way into one degree after another (after all, my brain is attuned to such pursuits). Maybe I should have been a priest, ministering to a flock of people who need me. God knows that once was an option. It still remains one.

Maybe I should have been a healer. Maybe I should have let my idealism take me to the mountains.

(Count the "maybes" and the number should be distressing. It's my favorite word today.)

Or, just as I have reached this stage of amazing possibility (more so than any other time except when I entered college), I have not yet learned the true value of temperance.

I still want everything yet refuse to yield nothing. It's not that I have so little to lose; it's just that when I have finally learned to appreciate the things that have come and gone, I must learn to make new choices. It's as if I'm caught between intimacy/isolation and generativity/self-absorption, still incomplete in either way and now vying to be the boss of me.

Temperance means learning the true art of restraint - learning when to stretch forth your hand or when to pull it back. I can only be giving if I am selfish in some things - for I cannot give what I do not have. Still, too, I must take whatever is freely given to me, but not take too much lest I exhaust the bounty given to me.

My life has been simple enough. Maybe I should simplify it further.

However, another thought that comes to me, from Hannah Arendt herself (again) is this:

The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the ''easy life of the gods'' would be a lifeless life.

See now, this is more than reason enough to choose which battles can be best won. I can't choose them all.

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