Sunday, July 8, 2012
This week marks 60 days of doing my life completely different and I can confess that I am pleased with the results and also a bit surprised at the things I have learned about myself in this time. I am a quiet person and am at peace. As the days passed by, I found myself turning to more solitary pursuits and enjoying simple things in my own company. While I am not entirely a non-social person, when left to myself, I observe that my best thinking and living comes from time spent entirely with myself.
This pattern is nothing new to me. I think that we all as humans have certain rhythms that mark our lives as the days pass us by. There are times when we are out and about, meeting new people, choosing to spend our time with others and the swirl and hubbub of activity. These seasons of extroversion can be fulfilling and cast our attention nets over large groups of people and events, but in the doing so, our focus on ourselves and true presence at each singular instance is lost in the diversity of it all. Other days come where we then step back from it all and focus inward. Sometimes these changing patterns can be induced by the weather, the cold, inclement days of winter for instance, or even these increasingly hot dog days of summer are a good example as well. For whatever reason, people come and go in our lives and we pick and choose where we place ourselves and for differing reasons.
Much of my adult life has been spent in the company of others, and I am sure that is the case for most, but as I intentionally live and consider where I most enjoy my investment of time and resources, I find myself more alone than some would be wont to admit. I relish reading. While it can be done in the quiet company of friends, as I often do at my coffee shop or lounging around the pool or in the breezy solace of a park, it is something that is best enjoyed alone. Non-reading people, whatever they might be called, never seem to think one is engaged in much while reading and tend to delight in constant interruption, as they feel that we are not "doing much at all". That is where they err. In reading, I am traveling, thinking and pondering, placing myself in and out of story, a quiet observer or active participant in whatever adventure or information the author has felt of import enough to share with us all, one at a time.
I enjoy music and also spend time listening to it. Over twenty years of my life have been devoted in part to learning to communicate with my piano and hands. I play for hours at a time, when so compelled, and in doing so am able to express and release some of the inner feelings and emotive experiences that so often fail my words. If one is always talking, one cannot truly listen, so while we all share the common experience of public music, we often do so in our own silence, as we absorb and move with the sound that engages us. I truly do not know what music is, but my life is all the richer for it.
Driving is another activity that I participate in, that for me is both entertainment and cathartic. It soothes me and take not only my mind but my body places while doing so. I have devoted a large part of my earned income in life to the machines I enjoy and while not a suitable or comparable replacement to sailing on open water, they share many similar qualities. I do not often place people in my car when I am driving. It is something I prefer to do alone. Every vehicle that I own and have owned over the years are convertibles and there is nothing in this world quite like the top down eating of miles I love in a machine that has been lovingly maintained and enhanced by skills and tools that I have been gifted with from my Dad. Cars and all things automobile are a passion and truly a part of the rich family life and history that make us who we are.
I need to enjoy these seasons that come and go. All too soon, my life will be full once again with the noise, activity and cacophony of shared life with friends and family. In treasuring this time that I have carved out for myself, I find myself. In knowing myself I am then able be present for those who need more than themselves. I will keep these quiet times close to me. The are my interior life and foundation that everything else seems to be built on. The time for sharing once again will soon be upon me.
I am growing. I can feel it.