Getting Through It
Over the past 18 months I have put together a framework of Stoic thought that has pointed to some fairly sophisticated looks at the world. I think it’s fair to say that has been fun but maybe overly dense. When I asked you to direct my topics, I gather that the consensus was that I keep it a bit simpler and a bit more personal. What sticks out in my mind is the popularity of the poem I wrote on the occasion of my sixty first birthday. With that in mind I’m going to complete my ‘What Manner of Black X’ series, publish a poem or two and move towards some practical matters. Practical peasant matters. Stoic practice. Day in and day out stuff. In other words, towards a bit more of an advice column. After all, I am a practical aesthete. I love things that just work. My life just works, and sometimes it just barely works. But I’ve been through it, and I want to share.
Getting through it became a call to action for me because it never worked for me to just get over it. Whenever I accepted that something was my problem, when I decided to take ownership of a challenge, I could almost never just do it the same way as other people. I had to do it my way. I had to put it in my own words. I had to walk into the situation looking like me. In other words, I had to bring my whole self into it.
My mother used to tell me that I would go from one extreme to another. I suppose it’s true. I would basically ignore something if it wasn’t top of mind or particularly helping me get somewhere. But if I was interested, I would totally geek out. That’s my personality. I am bursty. Seen from the outside, I’m like that metaphor for war. Long periods of mind-numbing boredom punctuated by moments of manic blood-curdling intensity. Or something like that. I just don’t care about anything until I do. I do what I do, consider it done, say been there done that and then monkey over to the next tree. I imagine it can be very annoying to people who are trying to get my consistent attention, but dammit I’m high maintenance, and I have to maintain myself.
In the book I’m writing, there is a character named Max Moreno. Max, by the way, is my Starbucks name, because there’s always a Mike in line. Anyway, Max is that extension of my personality, except he’s got tons of resources. Peasants like me have to be resourceful. Rulers like Max have seemingly infinite resources at hand. Interesting how that word ‘resourceful’ means its opposite. It means you have to McGyver your way through the shit sandwich of life, whereas the rich always have more than enough bread. So I’m heading down the tangent of getting through sandwiches with a higher than average shit-to-bread ratio.
I can’t know if this will be interesting to anyone, but I think it will be. The primary reason I do is because I think people are generally a bit more hot and bothered about things than I am, and I think they want to chill out. Except most of the ‘chill’ I see is more hot distraction. I think folks are leveraged in the wrong direction. Who knows? We’ll find out together. I’m already getting ready for the new year. It will be here before you know it.
Halloween is the beginning of the eating season. Pay attention. It’s just starting to get cold enough so that you have an excuse to lay in bed. The mornings are darker and more often wet. You can’t be jogging in shorts, so maybe you just don’t. It’s all sneaking up on you and right now you have a bunch of extra candy in your house.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Stoic Observations to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.