Without realizing it …

Redamancy Lit

Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t.

And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend in us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know.

You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.

– Robert Fulghum

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wait for the happy ending

“The difference between a happy ending and an unhappy ending is simply the place you decide to stop telling your story.”

~Stephen Elliott, “Sometimes I Think About Suicide”, The Sun, November 2016, Issue 491

(If you’re still here, it’s not over.)

Not-really-the-new-year resolutions

Only Daughter loves traveling, moving, fresh starts.

I enjoy fresh starts while realizing that I’m probably just going to be bringing most of the same problems with me, but still.

You may or may not know, but we are departing next week for four months in Brazil, where I will be teaching at the University of Brasilia on a Fulbright while Only Daughter does online school, Husband works on book projects, and we hopefully embark on many exciting adventures. You can follow along, if you’d like, at my travel blog here.

Meanwhile, we have been dealing with an extremely disappointing if not outright disturbing political landscape and the revelation of the uglier side of many, and considering different career options for me, while I try to deal with the reality of unfulfilled dreams and seek new challenges.

So, a fresh start, in many ways, and I intend to maximize on it.

Had a lovely conversation with a dear friend over lunch today, as we discussed the need to preserve our own mental health while not abandoning the needs of our society and planet, and the balancing of dreams vs. realities, acknowledging/mourning disappointments while embarking on new dreams, the need to balance our work and families while taking care of ourselves. Many of these a quest for many of us and each could fuel a blog all its own.

But I am embarking on this journey with some vows of my own, inspired by AGV:

  1. to take and enjoy each day as it comes,
  2. to focus on the opportunity rather than the obligation each situation presents,
  3. to stop spending time on regrets of the past and look ahead to the future, and, finally
  4. not to fret.

Wish me luck!!!

Holding on to happiness

Seems like this is the hardest thing for me.

It seems to be a shape-shifter;

Once I know what it looks like,

Smells like,

Sounds like.

It’s there and then it’s 

Gone.

I can give up sugar and meat

Exercise more

Or less

Sleep more

Or less

Read a book knit a sweater watch three episodes of Call the Midwife

Sleep on your left shoulder

Or curled up around my pillows

Swear off bourbon

Stop smoking

Clean all of the bathrooms and organize every drawer.

It’s still there.

And then it’s gone.

No, they’re not

“Everything I want from a mother is entrail-exhausting, rage-flooded, shocked-alive, and structured like a shriek. All I have the courage to ask for is this convenience. We wipe down the counter. We hang up towel and sponge. When I was little I understood the world to be made of paper, and that everyone should step carefully or go through the paper. I wanted a notation for that, for the going-through. I thought, I still think, this notation is stored somewhere, above us in a sort of mist or secret layer. I never realized that Verna had been carrying the ghost of Mildred at the front of her mind for fifty years, like impossible antlers. The judgments we bring to bear on one another are not very sound, are they?”

Ann Carson, “Back the Way You Went,” New Yorker, October 31, 2016

A different kind of marriage vow

And maybe one of the loveliest I’ve ever heard:

“In sickness and in sickness. That is what I wish for you. Don’t seek or expect miracles. There are no miracles. Not anymore. And there are no cures for the hurt that hurts most. There is only the medicine of believing each other’s pain, and being present for it.”

 From: Jonathan Safran Foer. “Here I Am.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux. iBooks.