Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another day older and deeper in debt

By Carl

It really does feel like toting sixteen tons, this past year.

My thanks to Katrina for noting that, indeed, today is my birthday. I got the greatest birthday present I could have imagined... well, almost but it was very close... precisely a month ago:

So thank you all for that.

It's been an odd year, to put it very mildly: skin cancer, plastic surgery, a crazed mother, MRSA, an economic collapse, an election, and 2009 has already thrown down its marker to try to top this past year.

It's not going to be pretty, not for all of us, not for the world, and not for me personally. That's not to say all news is bad, of course. We did elect Barack Obama, which tells me people across the country are waking up after the Bush years and realizing we just threw a party we could neither afford nor could keep away from the punch bowl. Now comes the hangover, but in hangovers can come some good, like making a note not to do that again.

And we won't. For a while. I hope the next time we do something this stupid, I will have shuffled off the mortal coil. It seems pretty certain that will be the case. I recall growing up with stories of the Depression, so the generation after mine probably skipped those stories and now they'll have their own to tell their children and grandchildren. Figure at least a half century before we allow human avarice to overcome our sense of mortality.

Most news, good or bad, is an illusion. As the saying goes, it's never as good or bad as it seems. In all good news, there are the seeds of its own demise, likewise in bad news the seeds of new hope. All births result in death. All deaths, in births.

Forgive me. I'm a bit melancholy at the moment, but as I face a few facts -- I have more days behind me than in front, we have for the first time elected a president who is younger than me -- I'm struck by how lingering and looming my mortality is, and how little I truly have accomplished.

I've not finished writing a book yet...started a dozen or so and even have one outlined to completion, but never finished one. I've not run for public office to truly try to help people who need it. I could, but I won't because I have too many skeletons.

I feel underappreciated.

Not by you guys, no way. Not even by the trolls who fester and pop up every so often here and in other places online. My "family" here is wonderful, and I love you all for that.

I feel underappreciated by myself. At my very core is this interior monologue that's saying to me "you can do better, so why won't you?"

Indeed, why not? To quote RFK: "Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?"

I dream the dream. I ask the question. Yet I find myself lacking the strength to carry out the answer.

Funny thing about it is, I'm a hypercompetitive person. I was the kid on the other team you never wanted to play against, because I would find a way to beat you for my team's sake. I was the goalie who could lose his mask and glove and risk breaking his wrist to catch a puck, or the quarterback who limped out on a bad knee or broken toe, all of which I've done and all of which I'm paying the price for now. So why not for me?

Enough introspection. Where's my fucking cake???

(Cross-posted at Simply Left Behind.)

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • carl honey- you sound like me on any given day :) how about you and i share a nice big piece of chocolate cake with gooey icing? :) i know what you mean- i am struggling each day not to meltdown. i am further away from youth and closer to middle age than i had ever thought about before and i find myself traveling back in time some days to find a modicum of peace. you are right when you say everything is impermanent and life will change- and part of me resents that and i must admit i am a little bitter. i grew up poor and i finally made it to middle class- and well, the world sucks. i look at things and i see that the world would be a better place if people got their heads out of their asses and realized that we are all the same underneath and to stop it already with the greed and hording. and we can see by human history that history is simply repeating itself in the technological age.

    anyhoo- that isn't really helping is it? :) i am currently facing my parents mortality and reality of lifelong alcoholism in their marriage- and all of the old crap always comes back when you ignore it- or even if you don't. sigh. mortality and loss seem to be all around me these days- and it all seems to happen at the same time. put on top of that unexpected outgo of lots and lots of money for repairs to our property- and it sucks the big one.

    i don't know how to calm myself and i don't know quite what i can do to help resolve my feelings of being overwhelmed by life-- other than simply continuing to get out of bed in the morning and put one foot in front of the other and keep going. and remember that everything is of our own making from our own mind- and we can change it. i am studying buddhism right now because damnit! i need me some inner peace and they seem to have it. namaste.

    By Blogger billie, at 5:56 PM  

  • Carl, if I were not so tune deaf, I would sing Happy Birthday to you. And I would send you a piece of my favorite German Chocolate Cake.
    I did my first piece of "mortality work" 40 years ago when I became afraid I would die and leave our four young children motherless. And my 30th year was awful; I had dreams that my teeth were falling out.
    As you know, as a fellow cancer survivor, we are both again doing mortality work as this momentous year comes to an end.
    And like betmo, my own mom is very likely not to have her 94th birthday next November.
    As for your sense of lack of accomplishment, I would say that the body of work you have are contributing here at The Reaction must count for something. Every week I have the difficult choice of picking the best one or two of your several outstanding posts for the round-up.
    We have no idea of the size of our readership. But, if you think about it, if you were a professor, you could not teach nearly as many people about the economic situation, even if you taught five "monster classes" in the auditorium of NYU, as you do with your posts. And that is just one of several subjects about which you write so brilliantly and so very authentically.
    We all love having you here in our little community of writers.
    Peace to you, Carl.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 7:35 AM  

  • Hey Carl. A belated happy birthday. Don't so be hard on yourself. You do more good in this world than you realize.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 10:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home