Chasing Cars

Are we chasing cars like a tiny, dog?

I am driving with a friend the other day in this small town. It was one of those places where kids ride their bikes on the streets, so when you drive it’s like playing a video game only it’s real. Cars are parked randomly along the way. We watch for kids, but we aren’t ready for the sudden yap, yap, yap of a dog leaping toward us, chasing the darn car for way too long. All I am thinking is, what parasite has infested this dog?

I know people who continually date. They hop from one relationship to another, not pausing long enough to evaluate why the last one ended. Sometimes there are painful endings but other instances, nope. It’s a thing we do in life. Pursue our goals. Chart the course to Nirvana. Are you chasing cars? Do you have the parasite?

I wonder if I’m unhappy because my job is wrong or if I don’t understand happiness. There’s the song, Chasing Waterfalls, which talks about people who push through life too fast. Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers you know. Is it possible to have the perfect job or the ideal relationship? Would I know it? There’s no test I can take to tell me YOU ARE HERE, so I am the little creature chasing–something.

“Chasing waterfalls” song

The little dog when he’s chasing cars, is he scaring them away or trying to catch one? Slow down fido! Take a roll in the grass. And go find that chew toy you lost.

Ithaka poem

As you set out for Ithaka, hope your road is a long one. full of adventure, full of discovery…

(for absolutely no reason at all)

Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

(so many delights you forget why you came on your journey)

….And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(boys and men and relationships will not for chasing. Life will be a pleasure.)

BY C. P. CAVAFY. (parenthesis added for my delight)

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The Cost of Fish

Almost everyone has a fish story and it’s usually not about the fish that got away. No, the tale they bemoan is the about the fish they caught or the one they stayed with and they probably should have thrown back. Relationships, jobs, towns they stayed at because they were familiar and they’ve always lived there. These are my thoughts today. Should we follow a whim? Take a chance? And what if it doesn’t work out? And like me, have you forgotten how to have fun?

In most towns, there’s a carnival our kids drag us to. We spend a ton of money to gorge on fried snickers, cotton candy, funnel cakes, popcorn, and we often end up carrying around a couple of half dead goldfish in a clear plastic bag. Junior won them. Way to go little tyke! So here we are in line at the superstore, the cashier’s ringing up your purchases. The tank, food, gravel, and water purifier are all yours for a grand total of $50.00. Charlie, fish number one might live through the first day. You’ve got a decision to make. Buy another fish to replace Charlie or let the whole episode die of natural causes?

Whimsical

Most of us, including me, are not good at taking off on a whim. Quick changes. If I have a hankering for ice cream in the middle of the night, I’ll usually ignore it and go back to sleep. But there are some people I know that would go to the extreme, beyond even the ice cream in the middle of the night. I know a person who if they felt the urge to go skiing, and if there were ski slopes available, would drive across country, just on the whim. They could ski just one day, and be good to go back to work when they came home. And here I can barely get myself out of the house to take out the garbage.

I’m really not talking about goldfish. Life is expensive. Someone once told me, having a car costs. One way or another you’re going to pay for having the luxury of driving. Whether you repair it if it’s used or if you buy it new and pay for its newness. Truthfully all of life is that way. That $50.00 will be spent somewhere, whether you spend it on the goldfish or on pizza. The choice is where do you want to spend it.

My question is, what is this costing me? Every day that I sit and not act on an urge and every time that I suppress a desire to play and I choose to work instead, what is this costing me? Sometimes when you’re just putting up with stuff, you’re only taking the easy way out. If something is continually chafing you in a situation, it’s a good sign that it’s time to change. It might be time to cut our losses and get out.

How much does it cost?
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Memory
  • Friendships
  • Self esteem

Thanks to Christi for the goldfish inspiration – if you’re reading, you know who you are!

Like a New Pair of Glasses

I recently got new glasses. I’ve worn contacts for years, but my eyes itched from allergies, so I decided to update my glasses. As I was driving down a familiar ramp, onto a familiar street, it occurred to me to pay closer attention. Even though the road is familiar and the narrow ramp hasn’t changed, my eyesight had. The ramp sidewall looked closer and if I wasn’t paying attention, I could easily scrape my car on the side. 

If your life has changed

Imagine what it would be like if you made a major change in your lifestyle. I’m not referring to the color of your hair or even in the car you drive. Something more along the lines of a sex change or becoming suddenly rich or suddenly poor. How long would it take to adjust? It seems that becoming suddenly rich would be easy. Take off the brakes and let it rip! Right? It’s not always that easy, even though we’d like to try it. Take something as simple as a new car or borrowing a car of a friends. You’ve never driven this vehicle before. It’s hood is a lot longer. The car is a bit wider. It will make parking it in the normal spot at work or the grocery store more difficult. Maybe you’ll park it farther out in the parking lot. Which will mean walking more to get inside. You should probably leave for work 5 or 10 minutes earlier or else you might be late. If you have to park far away, your feet will hurt.

Dramatic changes, even good ones, can upset your balance. Imagine wearing tight shoes. It hurts to walk and we want to stop. So if your walk and your stamina changes by such a little thing as tight shoes, imagine what it would be like to dramatically change your life, such as a sex change. I realize that there’s probably no one reading this blog that’s thinking of changing their life that much, but if something that big happened to you, how long could you handle it before you would want to revert to your comfortable self?

Maybe the change is something you wanted. Or you had no choice at all as in losing a spouse to cancer. There’s no going back. The shoes that are too tight and that change your walk can come off at the end of the day. Being a widow or widower can’t.

So why am I mentioning this? Because changing your life even for your own health, is difficult. Like too tight shoes, you can easily toss most things to the wind. Why bother? It’s not worth this much effort. The meals the doctor want me to eat cost too much, or they take a long time to prepare. It’s easier to stop at a fast food place for a dollar burger. Am I right?

If we want to upgrade our life, we need to learn how to adapt. If we’re forced by fate to accept a new life, give ourselves some time to adapt. No new thing is comfortable. Discomfort is okay. Learn this new person. Because just like with a new pair of glasses or driving a different car, we have to become familiar with all the newness.

Be kind and forgiving. Sit down. Rest. Then get back up and start again. If you splurged on an extra cookie or two, don’t punish yourself. For the next meal carry on as usual. No punishing by making yourself skip the next dessert.

Most often we sabotage ourselves. People that divorce will remarry quickly and end up with the same situation as before. They didn’t allow themselves to readjust. Discomfort overwhelmed them and they wanted to fix their pain. If they could have given themselves more time to heal and process their emotions, instead of slapping on a quick bandage fix, they could have become a much stronger person. We cheat ourselves and sell ourselves short. We don’t think we are strong enough to make it through the emptiness. The dark cave scares all of us. It’s what we do when we are the most afraid that matters. Can we keep on walking through or do we panic and start slashing our imaginary demons?

Growth can only happen if we let ourselves be uncomfortable. Let ourselves feel the anxiety of a new situation. We avoid anxiety. I do at least, but I also know that if I let myself go through an unfamiliar situation I can transform it into a familiar situation. This new thing becomes an old familiar road once again and I have expanded my territory. Most people, as they get older, cling more and more to the familiar. We retire to a smaller home. Maybe sell all but one car. You have fewer friends since you’re not working. The ever-expanding life you once had is now shrinking. It just happens. Taking on challenges is what the young ones do. There’s not anything forcing us to dare or to try anymore, so we don’t.

I don’t want to become rigid as I grow older. I want to continue taking challenges. Since there’s no one around to force me to try new things, I must continually expose myself to new ideas. I want to keep growing. To not become stale. This will need self-discipline and steadiness on my part to stay with the unfamiliar until it becomes familiar to me.

Aha! Another level beaten! Where’s my prize?