I've been thinking a lot about the past recently, which is very much not like me. Usually I dwell on past events just long enough to learn what I can for them, then move on.
But before I get to that...
To all my Muslim friends, peace and prosperity be unto you during the holy month of Ramadan!
Ramadan is a time for reflection and rejuvenating ones soul, which is kind of where I'm at right now.
Because slipping into the past has given me a sense of being grounded at a time where I am feeling anything but grounded. I look through old photos and it's all chocolate pudding and good times. And the further back I go, the more comforting life seems...
It's hard not to be grounded in Hawaii — Maui, 1992
The ultimate place to get grounded — Phang Nga, Thailand 1998
Mona knows something about being grounded — Paris, 1999
In the past, friends and family I love who have now died are still alive.
In the past, I took things less seriously and knew how to have fun.
In the past, the world made sense and life was easier to understand.
In the past, the universe was at my feet and nothing seemed impossible.
In the past, I had overreaching goals and my path was clear.
Now? Not so much.
And yet... when I stop and really think about it, nothing has changed.
My friends and family who have passed on are still with me. I can set things aside and have fun while still being serious. Things don't have to always make sense for me to find my way. Something is only impossible if I lack the imagination to achieve it. Realistic goals can still show me the path I need to follow.
It's always been this way, I just need to remember.
Because we so rarely take photos of the bad times, hindsight is 20/20, and its all too easy to view the past with rose-colored glasses.
Which means that one day I will look back on this moment and see that life was actually pretty amazing.
At least I sure hope so.
I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
Thank you Dave.
Getting through today has been a huge struggle for me thus far, and I have been reflecting on the past — where those who are no longer here today continue to live on through good memories. This was comforting for me to read.
Isn’t it crazy that they let you take pictures in the Louvre? I was very surprised when I saw people snapping away when we went!
Knowing everything’s temporary can be disconcerting and comforting at the same time. I wasted a good bit of my 20s wishing I was still a child for some reason. Luckily, I’ve stayed away from spending my 30s wishing I were in my 20s. When I do find myself in a state of discouragement for more than a day or two (which happened a few months ago, actually), I’ll try to spend more time outside and with old friends. Or, if commitments allow it, fly somewhere out of town (my favorite)!
Ah, see, that’s why I blog during or shortly after this dark moments, so I can always remember…
A little self reflection and dwelling in the past is good. For me, it keeps me humble, I think. I’ve been SUCH a jackass.
Thank you very much indeed David for such a comforting post. Ramadan Mubarak to you too~!
Whatever you need to hang on to guide you through rough times is a good thing. Maybe that’s why we have memory and why we tend to remember the good stuff. It gives me hope when I’m going through the bad stuff.
I could’ve written these exact same words…
At the risk of sounding OLD, it seemed everything was so much simpler when I was 25, or even 35. Now it seems the world is going off the rails.
A few years ago I used to read your blog pretty regularly because you apparently live a really enviable life, you’re smart, fun, funny and’ve got hordes of similar sycophants.
Ultimately I had to stop reading you. Why? Because you don’t seem to appreciate how wonderful your life truly is. Not in your bones.
It took me awhile to figure out that this whole crabby, angry, people-piss-me-off thing you do isn’t just a shtick (like characters in a rated-for-adults sitcom) but it’s like who you are in your bones. I live in New York City where I constantly encounter the doppelgangers of the folks you do, only mine are like yours on psychotropic steroids.
You remind me a lot of me — minus the sycophants and the web talents — except my curmudgeonly expressions are mostly just the sitcom-derived posturings of a dysthymiac.
You seem to grasp how amazing your life is without really, truly appreciating it– in your bones. (Which I’ve always thought was hysterically ironic since you describe yourself as part Buddhist.) I used to have that problem. And then one day, in a momentary and quite unexpected eureka, I flipped a mental switch and was suddenly able to short circuit much (but not all) of my bona fide surliness. Without the help of transcendentalism (Zen, yoga, Buddha, pharmaceuticals).
I still get despondent from time to time, but I can flick that switch almost at will to illuminate my share of this void I seem to share with you.
Maybe, you’ll argue, it’s a completely different void and has nothing to do with your surliness, but the way you’ve been describing it, it sounds the same.
I really do love* you and your blog– which is why after all these years I still check in once in a while. But I can’t hang out too long because it reminds me too much of when I didn’t know how to flip my switch.
My unsolicited advice: Don’t just grasp your amazingness, figure out how to appreciate it.
Love the site, thanks for keeping it up.
* Not like, or appreciate, or find inter
First of all… thank you for the well-thought-out and wholly awesome comment!
I don’t really have any “rules” for my blog, per se, but I do have one call for context for reading it in my “about” section which goes like this…
“Probably the most important thing I should tell you… really the only thing you need to know… is that this blog is not my life. It is just a reflection of a very small part of it. My real life is what is happening in-between the entries you’ll find here. So, while you might come to know an aspect of me, this blog cannot really give you the whole picture of who I am. Let’s face it, I am just not that talented of a writer.”
Which is my way of basically saying that you can’t truly know me if all you’ve done is read my blog. The vast, vast majority of my life never ends up here.
What does end up here is just the crap it occurs to me to write at the end of the day. A lot of times this ends up being “surliness” because Blogography is a great place to vent about the things that bother me throughout the day that I really can’t take anywhere else. But it’s important to remember that a rant over something which occupied five minutes of my day is probably not indicative of the other 1435. Mostly because, in general, Im a fairly happy and easy-going person. The reason I’m a fairly happy and easy-going person is because I unload my frustrations on my blog instead of letting them consume my “real life.” So, in most every way, it’s exactly the opposite of how you describe yourself. I have to turn the switch on so I can blog about it.
As for appreciating how amazing my life is… that’s a little more complex. Mostly because there are so few moments I’m not appreciating how amazing my life is.
I get to travel, so I’ve seen first-hand a glimpse of the abject poverty which plagues so many on this earth. I have an amazing life.
I try to stay well-informed, so I know of the violence and other horrors that so many must endure on this planet. I have an amazing life.
I have friends and family who have suffered through unimaginable hardships… in everything from health and finances to unemployment and tragic losses. I have an amazing life.
I live in a country that allows me to live (relatively) free and safe from harm. I have an amazing life.
And it goes on and on.
Believe me. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate how amazing my life is. That knowledge is not superficial either. On the contrary, because of my beliefs, it is integral to everything I am as a human being.
And yet, despite it all, I am a far from perfect human being.
With that in mind, it’s unrealistic to saddle me with the expectation that I have the serene presence of a person such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Mahatma Gandhi where I do nothing but wax poetic about the wonders of life. That, unfortunately, is not who I am. To present myself otherwise would be the real “shtick.”
So, while I really do appreciate your observations, all I can say in my defense is that you’re reading this blog all wrong by assuming facts not in evidence, so your observations are superficial. Yes, people piss me off… but, as should be obvious from what I write in-between the rants, that’s not all of who I am. I hope you keep reading to give me the chance to prove it.
Dave, you’ve completely mixed my point.
First, you’ve already “proven” yourself to me — otherwise, I’d’ve stopped returning long ago.
Second, I am indeed familiar with the clause you cite and know (and believe) that this blog represents only a fragment of your life: writing is ever thus. Plus, on the rare occasions I’ve commented in the past about this topic you never fail to point it out. Indeed, I was explaining that very thing to a colleague of mine as I dug through the last month’s archive to show him your account of the your Lion upgrade.
But I’m not concerned about your self-knowledge that you are special/amazing/etc.– I know you know you are special, because you’re sycophants have been telling you that for nearly a decade– to say nothing of family, friends, real-life acquaintances. My concern is the (bone deep) appreciation of the _feeling_ of your specialness. Saying “I know I’m x” is not the same thing as feeling it.
Philosophically, it’s the distinction between epistemology (the theories of what we know) and ontology (the theories of what we are).
Maybe, as you seem to be suggesting, you only experience this void when you’re blog-venting. Well, to be fair, I only know what (or is it who?) you show here you, so that’s who I’m referring to. However, reading the lines themselves (but also what’s in between) it seems to be following you in from your real world and leaving with you when you go. Indeed, you must admit that these thousands of fragments do add up.
For the record, I don’t think being more serene would make you perfecter, like most folks here I think your surliness is endearing. Otherwise the Dalai Lama would probably be perfect, and he’s the first person to tell you perfection is a myth.
It’s the void I’m concerned about. Often enough what you express in your surliness seems to be a biofeedback symptom/cause of that void. Frankly, I don’t think the world is causing it because it’s a fact that in our lifetime (I’m a year or two older than you) the world has always more or less sucked as bad as it does now.
I only commented about it because lately you seem to be having a problem flipping the switch. This concerns me, so I spoke up. You flip that switch and the void goes away. For a time.
I suppose I could have said all this nicer and more succinctly, but then I’d probably be somebody else. Nuff said.
Actually, I can’t “admit” that all these fragments add up to what you’re saying because of what these fragments contain. Or, more to the point, what they don’t contain. You’re constructing a total picture of who I am based on superficial entries on my blog that you run through your personal filter? Granted, that’s all you have to go on, but really?
Well, there’s nothing I can do about that. If you can’t take my word that my being introspective from time to time isn’t an indication that there’s this gaping void in my life because I usually just vent here… I guess I get that. It’s my fault because that’s all I offer up. Well, not my “fault” really… apparently I’m just incapable of communicating my bone-deep appreciation of how awesome I think I am. But that’s genetic, and totally not my fault at all. So, yeah, I understand that.
What I don’t understand is how you can dismiss people as “sycophants” simply because they agree with me or write nice comments. You know even less about them than you do about me! Sometimes like-minded people just like to hang, yo.
In any event, your taking the time to express your concern like this is totally what makes this blog worthwhile, so thanks!*
*Not that I’m saying my entire self-worth is tied to my blog comments… but, yeah, a big part of my self-worth is totally tied to my blog comments.**
**Except the hate-mail, of course. If I tied myself to THOSE comments, I’d have a lot more than faulty wiring on my void-switch to worry about.***
***Seriously, you should see the things people say.
You’ve been to some really spectacular places! I envy your travels and the marvels you’ve seen with your own eyes.
I’ve traveled down the past lately too trying to make sense of what is now and what is then and hopefully find some peace with it all.
I’ve been struggling too, even before my dad passed away. There is just a lot going on under my surface too right now and maintaining a positive outlook has been difficult. I’m sorry you are going through a similar time, but I thank you for sharing it.
Reflection in many ways. Love the photos of you from past adventures.