Accept that you are alive
When I was 32, and finishing up at university, my best friend was 89 years old. She was a naughty, vital, very intelligent old lady whose doctor still tried to tell me was ditzy after she died, although if you had been on the receiving end of as many phone calls at 1am as I was, you would have known, as I did, that she was entirely lucid.
She had a twisted, sick and extremely sharp sense of humour, and used to like telling care providers that she planned to end her life with a sharp knife in the shower. She used to do this out of boredom, as towards the end she was bored with humans, bored with manners and bored with social convention.
Sometimes accepting that you are alive is a lot harder than accepting that you are dying, hence my previous post.
My mother, in particular, has benefitted enormously from my friendship with Elizabeth. My annoying Tory neighbour might have benefitted (agggh, how do I get rid of an American spellchecker?) also, but he too is choosing death over life.
What do I mean by accepting that you are alive? As long as you are alive, there is always more to learn, more to experience and more to do. One of my more annoying exs once asked me what scared me the most. I replied that having nothing to do was the most frightening thing in the world, but since this is coming from someone who wrote a book at the age of ten because I was confined to bed for ten months, you can see that I am pretty flexible about finding things to do. His reply was having nowhere to go. This is less flexible, and although this particular ex was younger than me, he is now a snobbish, inflexible old man who cannot form relationships effectively.
The Candy Crush Saga fans are avoiding being alive. If you claim that you are addicted to facebook, you are avoiding being alive by looking at other people, and probably falling short. If you like celebrity culture, your avoidance of being alive involves investing heavily in information about other people. Celebrity culture, in a political economy, is immensely important, because it keeps you unhappy, unsatisfied and it keeps you shopping and voting a certain way. Breaking out of this paradigm is going to become harder and harder the more entrenched you allow yourself and your children to become, especially now that the internet, via ever developing gadgets, follows us everywhere.
So, today’s thought for today is to rid yourself of influence. Stop caring what other people are doing. Look inwards and find yourself. Accept that you are alive, and rid yourself of distractions. Life is short, on one hand, but it is also long and very boring, especially towards the end. The only solution is to find something that you can do sitting down, that absorbs you and removes you from the limited world of other humans. People get boring, once you are in your dotage. The trick to longevity, therefore, involves ensuring that you have something less worldly to interest you, alongside your comparatively superficial connections to others to keep your visitor and contact count up.
As I have said before, to avoid the stiffness and inflexibility that goes with age, it is important to keep learning, to keep growing, and to keep finding new things to widen your outlook. I have now lost count of the number of middle aged exs that come here and talk about immigration and their fears based upon social change. Social change is something that is out of your control, unless you plan to start a civil war. We have to exert pressure to apply the rules fairly, rather than take recourse in barbaric and negative approaches to change. I do not speak from the standpoint of a multiculturalist, I speak from the standpoint of someone from a country which has developed from centuries of infiltration.
Once you have accepted that you are alive, things like making a fool of yourself are meaningless, since you will seek to attain your goals at the pace you set. You will lose your willingness to conform to other’s ideas of you, and you will truly master the art of making your own path. One step closer to true freedom.
So, before you too get suckered into a resentful state of incapacitated rage at the things you cannot control, think about yourself. Have you accepted that you are alive, and that there is a finite amount of time to complete the tasks you have set yourself? Have you even managed to set them? If the answer is no, get on with it, because time is always shorter than you think, and you have to do it before you get bored, because once you are bored, you are accepting your death.