Seems so obvious I can’t figure out how I didn’t see it before

I should probably just stop blogging and tell all of you to follow Redamancy Lit, since an awful lot of what I come up with I find there. I wish I’d read this, and believed it, on more than one occasion  in the past, starting, oh, I don’t know, at least 15 years ago. I will try to remember it now.

The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.

– Alysia Harris

In an interview with Bill Clinton on the Huffington Post, he answers the question “What is the best advice you ever got?”

I once asked Nelson Mandela whether, when he walked out of prison for the last time, he didn’t feel anger and hatred again for having all those years stolen. He said that, briefly, he did feel old demons rise up until he realized that if he held onto his hatred after his release, he would still be a prisoner: “I wanted to be free, and so I let it go.”

On another occasion, I asked him how he found the inner strength to do that. He said the long years of confinement had taken a terrible toll. He had been abused physically and emotionally. His marriage didn’t survive. He didn’t see his kids grow up. Then he said that one day “I realized they could take everything from me, except my mind and my heart. Those things I would have to give away. I decided not to give them away.” Then he looked at me, smiled, and said, “And neither should you.”

Mandela didn’t give someone else the permission to define his life, his worth, and his tomorrows. If you have lost a bunch of yesterdays, welcome to the human race. You still don’t have to give anybody your tomorrows. That’s advice we should all take to heart and try to follow. Even for Mandela it was sometimes easier to say than do, but with discipline and determination, he did it. So can the rest of us.


the difference a year makes

We mark our march through time,
with the return now and again
to those same places
Where we look, again,
within, and without
peering to see what is different,
what is the same.

We were here a year ago
my mother newly gone;
chronicling sunsets and the
endless sssslissssh of waves and wind;
that same picture of the sun
setting through the wine glass on
the white white table.

Now I find myself that much further
on my march toward nothingness;
middle-age showing around my middle;
in gray hairs and papery skin
on the backs of my hands;
and my neck,
oh, my neck.

But what does it matter, really?
I’m nearly 50, after all,
as you are wont to remind me.
What possible jealousies or
regrets about what I did or didn’t know
or do
can matter anymore?

We’ll shuffle off, then, from middle age unto,
what? Old age? Not yet,
not quite yet.

But I’ll hold your hand if you’ll hold mine.
And nights without you will feel
no less desolate than they
ever have. And what I would have done
at 20, if I could only have known, then,
what I know now, well, we’ll just keep that
between us,
shall we?

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Making heroic efforts to make things look easy

I changed and changed, and with more time I will change more. I’m not disappointed, just quiet. Not unthinking, just reckless. Not willfully unclear, just trying to say it as it wasn’t.  . . 

You spent a few minutes every day secretly regretting your laziness that didn’t exist.

I should have forgiven you for all that wasn’t your fault.

~Jonathan Safran Foer, “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly”