When I was younger I had a friend confess to me that he had taken the old song “Kisses sweeter than wine” literally, and thought people had flavors to them. That when people kissed there was a taste that was sweet, and that people were all different varieties.
He was quite disappointed to discover it was not at all like that.
Life does that a lot. We think that some desired thing…a trip, a promotion a life-long love…will be this one way. And we don’t know at all what we are thinking of.
Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s spends her life wanting a certain thing. It’s captured perfectly when she lets her cat go. She’d always told herself that she and the cat meant nothing to each other, they just happened to be together. Then she kicks the cat out because she has to get out of town, and realizes that she really DID have a connection. Only after she lost it was it clear to her.
The reverse is true all the time. I spend time protecting and caring for things that really are not at all what I imagine them to be. All these things that I attributed value to? Not. In fact, the opposite of value sometimes.
Did they fill a need once, and then that need got filled from a different direction, but I still have the first vestigial thing?
Did I think this thing had potential, and envision something? Over time, that potential was not realized and still is this thing.
Things, habits, goals, relationships and beliefs can outlive their usefulness.
The New Year, clean slate and I want to reassess. I think shedding feels right.
The thing is I wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of time thinking about the nature of the outgrown stuff. I want to look at new things, think of an ideal and a possibility that will delight.
Some things are light, to begin each day convinced of its promise.
Other things are harder, like learning a new habit of accepting that annoying co-worker instead of being (JUSTIFIABLY!) irritated. Nope, that takes persistence and determination.
Then there are heavy things, beliefs and truths that are waiting to be understood and require big life course changes.
Those heavy things are often what keep me from starting at all. Fear of the heavy thing, to be more precise. I CAN’T examine what might need changing because it could be EVERYTHING!
When it comes to what I don’t know, I have learned to take this advice. I was talking to a computer engineer, back when I was still learning what I do, and all the things I don’t know terrified me. He seemed to know everything, and I figured I better know everything as soon as possible. I asked him question after question.
He told me this, “Start with the low hanging fruit. Do the first thing that you know how to do. Start with that, and that might fix it. Then do the next thing that you can see needs to be done, and keep going until it’s fixed or done. ”
So as I look over all the things I’d like this year to have, and things I’d like this year not to have, I have to start with the stuff that’s within reach. Then I have to keep reaching.