Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

The Voice Of The Ghost

There’s some comfort in finally recognizing one of the voices that’s been whispering in your brain all these years, dimly heard back in the quiet folds of grey matter where you would like comfort and satisfaction to lodge and take root but instead find only an itch that can’t be scratched.

The question then becomes whether you’re being haunted or guided. Again, a distinct matter of perception.

Is there a demon who’s haunting you with reminders of failure and disappointment, eternally dangling in front of you a bright and shiny future that you’ll never be able to touch?

Or is it a guardian angel, patiently reminding you of dreams and aspirations you once had, gently nagging across time and space to urge you to try once again to reach for what’s beyond your grasp?

Two sides of the coin. Every day it gets flipped in the air again, it seems.

Heads or tails today?

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Giving Thanks

Perspective. Balance. Proportion.

Things can always get worse. Look at how bad [insert Group A herd] has it!

Things can be so much better! Look at how great it would be if [Event B] happened!

Things suck right now! Did you see where [Person C] went and [Event D]??!!

The world’s an amazing place right now! Compared to [Number between 100 and 300] years ago we can now [Routine Event E]! Compared to even [Number between 5 and 20] years ago we now don’t even think twice about [Routine Event F]!

All of the above are correct and valid statements.

“Reality” is somewhere in between.

This Thanksgiving Day (in the United States, but the rest of you are invited to play along) I hope we can all recognize how amazing our world is and take comfort and hope in how much better it gets every day in some ways, even if we’re focused elsewhere. Keep working to stop the backsliding and regression that’s taking place in many areas. It’s a complex, multi-dimensional puzzle, with accomplishments like bright stars in the matrix, offset by the occasional dark cancerous stains of the evils we still face.

We can have multiple thoughts in our heads at once. We can take hope from those bright stars while recognizing and fighting those stains, working to repair the damage they’re doing to our society.

Celebrate the victories. Keep the faith. Keep fighting to stop and destroy the cancers in the body societal.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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That Moment, November 18th Version

…when you find that your current existence has been captured in a stranger’s tweet:

I’ve heard it said that identifying and naming the problem is half the problem.

Good! We’re halfway there?

Pity I’m so short on ideas about how to work on the second half.

But after that this week, and that other thing last week, and THAT the week before that, and all those other things in October, if I can just make it through Monday and Tuesday to the five-day weekend…

It’s not clear if going from “if I can just make it through this week” to “if I can just make it through two days” is progress or regression.

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Breaking Strain

Once more into the breach…

(As the M3.6 earthquake rolls through and reminds us all what a rush adrenaline is…)

Okay, so that’s not Kipling. I seem to be mixing up my classic English authors and poets, as well as my centuries.

But before I had the crap scared out of me, I was thinking a lot about stress and workload and work/life balances. Which in turn reminded me of Kipling’s “Hymn of Breaking Strain.”

(It’s probably public domain which means I could re-print it here, but that isn’t the way I roll, folks. Take a few seconds and go read it. I’ll wait.)

Now go read it again. Think about what he’s saying. Feel what he’s trying to remind us of. Understand what he’s trying to teach us.

There will be days (like today, perhaps, or tomorrow) when all you want to do is lie down and take a nap. Remember when you wanted that pillow fort under your desk?

There will be days (see above) when you screw up and screw up bad and fail and you want to cry and punch something and run away and never come back.

We don’t just fail…

Abide the twin damnation- 
To fail and know we fail.

…we KNOW we fail! And yet…

In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

…and yet we try again.

Today might suck. Tomorrow might suck worse. But unless it kills us, we’ll get up and try again the day after that.

Kipling couldn’t say it in so many words, but it said it so much better in his words.

We’re badasses! Even when we don’t think we are.

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Advice

In a random Twitter thing tonight someone I don’t follow and never heard of asked people to tell her things that they wish they had known or been told when they were 24 years old. (She’s turning 24 tomorrow.) Someone I do know and follow on Twitter had answered, I liked some of the other answers that were popping up in my feed, so I thought for a minute and answered. That answer in turn has been liked and retweeted a few time, which in turn got me to thinking.

I think there’s a huge perspective issue at play here. She’s looking forward, asking for pearls of wisdom from those who have been there, which is great. Advice is always easier to get than to actually put into play, but good for her for making the effort and asking an interesting question.

But my answer, given in the context of “what do I wish that I had known when I was 24,” implies that I know it now. But is that necessarily true?

Somewhere along the line I had the realization that while I might “know” what I was advising this internet stranger, it wasn’t necessarily something that I was doing yet myself. Or, at the very least, while it might be “wisdom” that I had earned, I couldn’t be sure that I had changed my actions to implement the lesson learned.

Could I look back in five years (ten years? two years?) and wish that right now I was keeping that advice in mind instead of waiting another two years (five? ten?) before acting?

Could be.

Perhaps this old dog should not just learn that particular trick, but practice it every once in a while.

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Where Can I Find A Six-Pack Of This?

I love the sentiment – couldn’t find this at either Costco or at the Liquor Barn, although it might be under a slightly different label at the latter.

Either way, it occurs to me that it’s not just “they” that are trying to do this. Even when we don’t have people in power like we currently have “people” in power, the tiny little things in the day can add up, from the ridiculous to the sublime. (Or vice versa.)

The secret is to find that aforementioned magical elixir.

We must be doing it, most of us at least. We still get up tomorrow and somehow get out the door and try again.

But it would be nice if every now and then it was a little bit easier than the day before. That proverbial “one step forward” after what feels like so many steps back and sideways.

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That Moment, September 5th Version

…when you realize that the primary reason you don’t just start primal screaming in the middle of your day (aside from the way it tends to freak out your office mates) is that you’re not sure you’ll be capable of stopping.

I know that it’s good that I’m not in Houston, still be underwater.

I know that it’s good that I’m not in Oregon, burning and choking on smoke.

I know that it’s good that I’m not in South Florida, looking down the barrel at the biggest, baddest hurricane in recorded history in the Atlantic.

I know that it’s good that I’m not in Bangladesh, where 41,000,000 (not a typo) have been affected by their worst flooding in history.

But some things still suck and make me want to build a pillow fort under my desk with a big bag of Oreos and M&Ms and a good book and hide there until it gets better.

Adults don’t get to do that.

Or so I’m told.

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