What do I care most about in the world?
Very good question. I think I’ve answered it in part, over the years, but it’s always good to revisit it. These are prioritized, mostly, from most- to least-important to me. This is a writing exercise I found in a book, but I figured I’d post it just for spoops and niggles.
I spend the vast majority of my duties thinking about my family: my actions, my job, my income, most of my thoughts are dedicated (at least in part) to them. They are a source of deep joy and contentment in my life. They provide a place to go when I’ve spent too much time doing the things I don’t care most about in the world. I’d wander aimlessly without them.
This includes both online and “real” friends (for lack of a better term). I’ve got a small selection of both. Some are crossovers–friends years ago, and now we’ve re-introduced ourselves, and found commonalities that we didn’t know existed. It’s pleasant to have them. What you can’t tell your family, you can often share with friends, and vice versa.
It’s almost an obsession. I’m not comfortable without enriching my mind. I’ve cluttered it with useless junk-knowledge for years. I enjoy theories more than facts. I like seeing how pieces fit together into greater wholes. I liked math class in high school. And science. I was geeky like that. I studied Hebrew language for fun. I taught myself (and subsequently forgot most of) the Greek language. Religion fascinates me more as a bed of ideas than as a set of moral codes (although they generally address both). I go in cycles with this, but can easily become a news junkie–I used to watch CNN Headline News for hours at a time. I like to think an active mind won’t deteriorate quite as quickly. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. What was I writing about, again?
Ah. Writing. There’s hardly any feeling I can compare to writing a well-constructed sentence, or paragraph. I’m trying to work up to the stuff sounding great *beyond* mere paragraphs. This has stymied me for years. I think I’m finally figuring out the missing pieces. We’ll see. I won’t bore you with much more of this particular facet of my life–I’ve blogged enough about it in the past–just wanted to say, I like the “chemical high” I get when I write. It means a lot to me. Clean and healthy high, it is.
It’s decided: I hate being cold. February has bottomed out my mood every year since I’ve moved to Virginia. I don’t know if it’s winter blues. I never believed I was a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder, because I never minded the winter months in Oregon and California. That said, II much prefer being indoors to being outside, and relaxing in the warmth of a house with heat (and no leaky roofs). I like walking into the kitchen and getting coffee, puttering around, reading a book and browsing the Internet. I’d have been a great 19th century British aristocrat, if they’d had Snuggies back then..
I had to think this one over. I don’t know if I value fairness so much as I despise unfairness. I hate seeing injustice, suffering, and contention. Usually these things come from inequity (either social or economic or religious… whatever), and it makes me sick and sad. An author I was recently reading defined power as having access to more options in life. I guess that’s really true: more money, more options for making a decision. What bothers me is the people stuck at the bottom of the heap, with no options whatsoever (for example, lack of educational options to the impoverished). It’s unfair. I don’t like unfair.
It’s the main reason I’m writing. I’d be silly to say that, after I’m dead, I don’t want to be remembered. Of course I do. I look back at my great grandparents:I knew 4 of them. I remember another great-grandfather, but I don’t remember much of him other than his trembling jaw and slow, shaky walk. Of the others, I know nothing. They’re a gap in my knowledge. I vaguely know names, and that they died before I was born. The fact I have nothing that tells me who my ancestors are makes me very sad. I decided a couple years ago that it wouldn’t happen to my sons (or my grand nieces/nephews, if the boys never have kids). I’d leave them with something to remember me when I’m nothing more than dust and memories.
My free time
I enjoy doing nothing. I’m really good at it too. Just sitting there and staring at the wall while listening to classic rock. Sitting on a bench and reading. Crochet. No responsibilities but to stir my own mind with my own pleasures. Some people would find team sports, or social clubs invigorating. These things don’t hold my attention for long. I like browsing in a bookstore or electronics store (usually without buying anything). I like to do this with family. I enjoy a good trip to the mall. I like watching come and go through their lives (talking of Michelangelo?) I enjoy chatting with my friends. Writing. Sleep. Long walks in the woods. A good swim on a hot day. You know: that stuff.
All the stuff I said above? You’ll notice most of it is non-participatory for outsiders. I enjoy being alone. Many people can’t say that. I dance through the empty house in my underwear, make a cup of tea, maybe galavant a little, have a nap, put in an audio book, do some laundry or dishes. I could go like this (and have) for 5 days at a time. After that, it gets a bit tedious and I need to interact with humans. It’s all good. I’m not saying I despise human contact. It helps me recharge when I’m by myself for even a few hours, though.
I have to stir my thoughts like an alchemist: mix them, and see what comes up. Toss them around like the Swedish Chef. Shoot a few holes in them. Then I like to e-examine the now-holey, -tossed, -stirred, and -mixed thoughts and see what, if anything I’ve discovered. Maybe that’s why writing makes sense to me. I get to do that on paper (or on computer) without ever breaking something. Nothing I say is a waste of time, because the mere process of putting it someplace requires thought. I like thought. Makes me happy. I try on other peoples’ thoughts for size, and see if they fit me. Sometimes they do. Many times they don’t. Never hurts to try. When I was 4 or 5 years old, I tried on one of my sister’s tiny red dresses. I got stuck and my mom found me sobbing in my bedroom, trapped in a toddler’s dress. I learned that if you try something on for size, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
I am referring to Oregon. Southern Oregon, Curry County, Pistol River, to be exact. I’ve blogged about this a few times so I won’t belabor it. Let’s just say that it occupies a large part of my mind every day of my life: the good parts as well as the bad things.
Let me take the opposite tack, just for a moment, and itemize several things that I don’t care about that much (or actively dislike). Money. Personal belongings. Arguing. My job. Participating in sports. Snow. Hypocrisy. The Desert. Extremes. Humorlessness.
That about covers it. If I thought about it for a few more minutes I could probably come up with a few more items. I’ve just made the executive decision that this blog has gone on far too long now. Y’all enjoy your day-after-St. Patrick’s Day. Have a green beer or something.