Our Thoughts

How close are we to one another, really? How much of the stock of our private thoughts do we maintain for ourselves alone, locked away never to be revealed even to those closest to us? Do we harbor thoughts that, were they to be revealed, would shock our friends or family? Those and many other questions have long bounced around in my brain. I’ve answered some of them for myself, but others are too intrusive even for me to ask of myself. Yet I maintain an intense curiosity about what goes on in the minds of people; I wonder what thoughts they choose to hold close, lest their secrets expose attributes or vulnerabilities or ideas that might change the way the world views them.


It is far too early for me to reach any definitive decisions about whether to sell my house, but I’m thinking about my options. While the house is too big, by far, for one person, I enjoy its view and the privacy it offers. Yesterday, after my shower, I walked naked to the guest room where I’ve been sleeping to (finally) strip the bed and take the sheets to the washing machine. My path took me in front of what amounts to a wall of glass overlooking the forest and the valley below my house. With the exception of dodging a spot where I could be seen from a high window in front of the house, I did not need to worry about being seen. I don’t know if I could find that privacy and the freedom it affords, nor that view, in a smaller house. On the other hand, a house ties a person down and it ties up his money. Moving into a smaller house would allow me to redistribute my “investments” from real estate to cash and it kin.

I suspect this mental wrangling will go on for some time to come. Decisions usually come relatively easy for me, but I always second guess myself. I sometimes weigh all the options well after they are no longer available. That tends to allow regret to take hold, often a useless and irreversible sense that can ruin one’s days or weeks or months or years.

In the meantime, I have plenty of projects that will make my house more enjoyable while I am here and easier to sell if I decide to move. The trick is to get myself in gear to do them. I need to repaint the laundry room and the studio behind the garage. I need to deal with window “issues.” I need to clean or replace the studio flooring. I need to replace the carpet on the screen porch. I need. I need. I need. Replace need with want and reality begins to set in.


Speaking of want, I want to change my appearance. I want to look thinner. That necessarily means weight loss. Changing the way I look would change the way I feel. I would feel better, physically, and feel better about myself, mentally. It’s not awfully hard to make the transition, in this case, from want to need. If I want to live a longer and healthier life, I need to do something about changing my appearance. That’s where sloth and degree of desire enter the picture. Can I overcome my slovenly ways and my tendency to treat emotional lows with food and drink? Time will tell.


I was reminded very recently that my wife and I committed to make a quite significant (for us) donation to our church before the end of June. When my wife was managing our finances, it seemed to me the commitment would be fairly easily met. And I suspect it will be, once I get a solid handle on where things stand. But now that I am attempting to make sense of a financial picture with reduced income, it is not quite as apparently easy. My wife’s willingness to devote time and energy to financial management allowed me to retain a significant part of my childhood for more than forty years. Adulthood involves disciplined financial management. Geezerhood does, too. I feel like I am making the unnatural transition from childhood to geezerhood.


This morning, my mind is attempting to unscramble. While that might seem like a simple process to some, I see it differently. I see a scrambled mind as a little like a scrambled egg. I try to imagine unscrambling a scrambled egg. It cannot be done. Is unscrambling my mind going to be any easier, or more achievable?


Speaking of scrambled eggs, I may see what I can do about breakfast, now.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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