To Be Continued

In spite of the drab, grey morning and despite the fact that the deck was wet (not sure whether it was just heavy dew or rain from last night), something about the morning’s atmosphere captured my interest and appreciation. Maybe it was the refreshing coolness that did it. Or an almost fictile sky that beckoned me to take it in my hands and shape it into a comforting embrace. Or a little of each. Whatever it was—and is—I like the way this day began and the way it is progressing thus far. Today has potential. I can feel some energy that belies the sullenness of an overcast morning. Some mornings seem perfectly suited to action; but action that’s gentle and slow and purposive. This day is unfolding as a graceful introduction to late May.


And now, for some thought-provocation:

The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~


Lately, I wake in the wee hours almost every night. Sometimes, I am able to get back to sleep pretty quickly; others, my mind simply won’t stop racing in ways that make sleep impossible. Whether it’s just a brief interruption of my sleep or its complete abandonment, I often “feel” there’s a hint of something on my mind that causes me to awaken. I think at least part of that “something” has to do with an aspect of my psyche that either troubles me or excites me. Maybe I’ve uncovered some of what it is through a conversation with a friend.

Last night, I drove with a friend from my church to participate in an NAACP peace rally in Hot Springs. During the drive to and from Hot Springs, we talked about all sorts of things including my thoughts about possibly leaving my newfound friends if I move away. I told her one of the reasons prompting me to consider moving was to give me the opportunity to essentially “start over;” to become a person I could like better than the person I am. A little later, in response to my comments, she explained how she had changed. When she and her husband moved to the Village, she morphed from a conservative, reserved woman who had worn the formal greys and browns of the legal profession (the environment of both her work and her social life) to a progressive, adventurous risk-taker whose wardrobe and lifestyle are awash in color and excitement. Hearing her speak about that transformation—and knowing her as a beautiful, energetic, kind, loving, and enlightened person—the idea of reinventing myself is beginning to take shape as more than just a fantasy.

I don’t want to leave the impression that my plan is to start with a blank slate. Despite significant misgivings about myself, I have no intent to discard aspects of myself that I value. I will continue to be progressive in my thinking. I will continue to try to do my best to be compassionate, empathetic, and kind; I’ll just try to enhance those attributes and reduce the instances in which I exhibit their opposites. I will hold on tightly to valuing and embracing diversity and I will continue to be an ally to people whose sexual and gender orientations differ from mine. Those, and a few other core elements of who I am, will not change. What I hope will change will be the negative aspects of my lifestyle and my personality. More energetic; less judgmental of those whose views conflict with mine; more conscious of my physical appearance and state of health. Those sorts of things. And of course I recognize I don’t need to move to make those things happen. A change in my physical environment, though, might remove elements that support staying as I am. I hope a “shock to my system” might trigger what I need to become someone more likeable, more loveable, more appealing to the kind of people to whom I want to be appealing, including myself. Good, decent, caring people. People who, I hope, are like the person I will be. And, yes, I know how this whole thing sounds; like a fantasy sparked by trauma. While I cannot explain how and why I know that is not true, I just know it. It’s a bit late to do it, too, but that’s not going to stop me. Whether I decide to move away or not, I will become a different me.


My Echo Dot reminds me to take my pills, to weigh myself, to bring in the hummingbird feeders, and various other things. Occasionally, I feel like I’m ceding responsibility for memory to an electronic device that can hear me and that speaks to me. There’s good reason for that; I feel that way because I’m doing it. I’m absolving myself of the responsibility to train my brain to behave the way a brain should behave. Is it really wise to ask “Alexa” to recall and remind me of obligations and responsibilities? Is such a dependence on a magical electronic device healthy for one’s brain? I suspect not. I suspect relying on Alexa may allow parts of my brain to atrophy.


There is so much more on my mind, but I’ll stop for a while. My sister-in-law is on her way over for coffee. I may write more later…

…to be continued…

About John Swinburn

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