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Shore Window Closing
Personal entry follows.
For this particular trip, I will have been here at the shore for over a week. I'm convinced of, and maintain the opinion that, being away from everyone is wonderful for me. May not be that way for other people of course, but there's no common person, only masses of people forced into submission. I'm very grateful that I've been able to live my life and do things I want to do as much as I have. Not everyone can afford to take vacations like this, for one (though apart from the room I suppose, this has been very affordable).
Much of this, I also assume now, is due to the fact that I am alone. After visiting my relatives, I've seen what it takes to feed, clothe, and keep a roof over the heads of seven people in the same place. What a challenge! All their lives are impacted by their decision to create a family of that size. The reality is that it is very expensive to provide for three young children and two elders. I understand why my brother and sister-in-law's lives are so radically different from mine. They couldn't provide for their kids the same way they do now if they attempted things I do in my life. On the flip-side, me attempting to do the work they do, live in the same size of house they do, eating the food and driving the same vehicles they do isn't just unattractive to me. Were I to change up my life to fit into that mold, it would make no sense.
It also happens that it's not possible to shift our lives in such a way, would we even want to. Earlier in life, there's more opportunity to select different options, still select from a wide variety of responsible choices. However, once certain significant choices are made - to make children, for example - then if one wants to behave as a responsible person then that wide variety of options becomes much, much smaller. Again, on the flip-side, I've made choices in my own life that have also shrunken my available options. However, these are mostly cut out from a different, discrete section of those options.
Making kids, living in the suburbs, driving an SUV, corporate grinder jobs... These are things that are taken for granted by my relatives, guided by their choices and somewhat by their circumstance. Were I to try those things, it would definitely be wasteful and pretty silly. Likewise, were they to choose to abandon their jobs, to -not- own their own house, and so on as I have, they'd be rightly-perceived as terrible parents.
As I wise man once said, "I'm not a parent. I'm not even obvious!" Actually I think I stole that line from a stand-up comic I had seen back in my club-hopping days. But anyway, I thought it was hilarious, and I use it all the time, particularly when trainees and clients at the day job ask me about my family life.
Writing these thoughts down was sparked by an emotional moment I had this morning. So I've been snapping photos of the sunrise - if you can call it that, as nearly every morning has been overcast and sometimes rainy. To do so, I wake up at about 6:30 in the morning, regardless of when I go to sleep (though I'm typically an, "early to bed, early to rise" fellow anyway and I think the latest has only been a few nights here when I stayed up until a bit after midnight). I then make a pot of coffee, set up my digital camera and tripod, then walk out to the beach.
I prepared my potatoes - fried at a leisurely pace - this morning, then sat on the patio just outside my room to eat. The rain had since picked up, and while the beach was lovely and the waves were lively, the dunes and pathways were devoid of people. I started playing some old '60s rock, like Joe Cocker live at Woodstock, early Steve Miller Band, even the MC5, plus some underground garage rock compilations of the time.
For whatever reason, I was listening to this music, watching the rain and the swaying dune grasses, the massive, misty clouds passing overhead, and became all misty-eyed and weepy myself. As a rule, it seems pretty easy for music to move me emotionally, and I suppose this morning was no exception. Joe Cocker and his singers talking about, "getting by with a little help from my friends," sent me down that path today.
"Are you sad because you're on your own?" On your own, indeed.
Just this morning, I received message from my old friend up in Vermont with a "gratitude message of the day." It's a mailing list that she's on, and she forwards those messages to me on occasion, sharing her own thoughts and generally catching-up as she can. Today's quote was one of the most inspiring I'd seen in a while. It's from someone named Ann Voskamp:
"No amount of regret changes the past.
No amount of anxiety changes the future.
Any amount of gratitude changes the present."
That's a wonderful one, and I will stick with it for a while.