A Career of Reflective Thought

Twenty-five hours after completing yesterday’s blog post, I started this one. Oh, I’ve interrupted myself a few times, but here it is. The cat’s been fed, I’ve weighed myself, taken a mouthful of medications, washed some dishes, measured my blood glucose, taken my blood pressure, and done a smidgeon of research to learn that one of the medications prescribed for me to take for two days post-chemotherapy is the culprit for consecutive sharp increases in my level of blood sugar yesterday and this morning. What a mouthful of words about my healthcare; it seems that topic commands all my attention in recent weeks. Though it bores me almost beyond tolerance, I myself drawn to explore just what is or may be happening to my physical self. Age and abuse individually take their toll; combined, they ramp up their ability to extract revenge for the passage of time and a steadfast attitude of invincibility. I would like to be able to take my mind off this dull stuff for a day or two, at least.


The comments and wished-for desires notwithstanding…I had hoped I could return to my oncologist’s office yesterday to receive a required injection, but that was not to be. The medication is not kept on hand in the cancer center (must be ordered from the pharmacy) and cannot be allowed to “sit” for long; it will be ordered to arrive Monday afternoon. So, even though yesterday’s road conditions (bad, but not horrible, on many streets in the Village) were said to be better than what can be expected Monday, I will have to make my way back to the cancer center late Monday for the shot. I was afraid of that. So it is. Cancer treatment interrupts one’s day-to-day experiences. And it demands confronting undesirable situations—like attempting to drive over black ice on hilly terrain. Poor, poor, pitiful me. I must try harder not to whine; I realize the circumstances facing me are far, far, far less grueling and onerous than those confronting many, many, many other cancer patients. Patience and humility are the watchwords of the day.


Brilliance does not necessarily correspond with perfection. Flaws—even deep, damaging ones—are found in some of the most brilliant minds. I believe the reason that is possible is because brilliance is not all-encompassing. It may be broad (though usually is not), but normalcy or even sub-normalcy often share the same brain with it. For example, Frank Lloyd Wright exhibited brilliance in architecture, but even in his profession he was imperfect. My understanding is that many of his flat-roofed buildings leaked, but he insisted on maintaining the designs that allowed that to happen. A Wright quotation might provide an explanation for that insistence: “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.” A brilliant man with an over-abundance of self-confidence. Critical open-mindedness may be the best defense against indefensible self-confidence. By that I mean a willingness to entertain concepts or ideas counter to one’s own and to give them a fair, unbiased assessment before deciding for or against their legitimacy.


Out of the blue, during the last few weeks, I have daydreamed about career paths I could have pursued during my working life. During these reveries, I found myself enamored with medicine, law, industrial engineering, farming, forestry, psychology, sociology, and on and one. Every one of those pursuits has high potential for any practitioner to make significant contributions to humankind, which I suppose contributes quite a lot to my fantasies about what paths I might have taken. Simply having such visions is probably the height of arrogance; they assume I have the capacity to achieve such stations in life. Several of those career paths could position one to make contributions worthy of a Nobel Prize. I “chose” (fell into, actually) association management, instead. Rather than a Nobel Prize recipient, an association executive is more likely to be compared to be Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association. I suppose these fantasies are based largely on ego, though I with I could say with certainty they are based more on a desire to make contributions to humankind. Could I honestly say, if I was notified that I was to be a recipient, I would anonymously suggest the Nobel Prize be give to someone else, someone more deserving? Impossible to say, as I’ve never been in that position. But I have made a career of reflective thought.


Food for thought:

Affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue, where patience, honor, sweet humility, and calm fortitude, take root and strongly flourish.

~ David Mallet ~

About John Swinburn

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