Follow me on Twitter

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WHY IT'S MY PARTY! (crying optional)

Guess who just had a birthday????  Woop-woop!  Now say it with me:  “YAY!!!  I’m OLD!!!”  Ha.  Actually I can’t believe how freaking old I am these days…I feel like I just got here in so many ways, how is it possible that it is more than halfway over?  I really had a wonderful, if slightly sinister childhood (see:  WHY MY LIFE IS HORRIFYING for more on this) that seemed to last forever, but once puberty hit, it all became somewhat of a blur, at least time wise.  I graduated from college 25 years ago???  I’ve been married 16 years???  My son is how old???  Where did it all go and why is it all in such a damned hurry?  In the years before I turned 11, the month of July stretched out endlessly in anticipation of my birthday…it felt INFINITE.  Then time started passing without me having a minute to catch my breath and quite suddenly, it seems, I am deep in middle aged territory.   And now that I am here I feel like I have finally arrived in life.  Welcome to planet earth, Kara!  You are present and accounted for!

I guess the best way I can explain my arrival is to invite you to a kind of birthday party.  But this is a party that is always going on, 24/7, 365.  My eternal party is by invitation only for you, but inescapable for me, because it is going on inside my head.  Truly, it is ALWAYS a party in here.  I have ALL of my favorite people with me, all of my favorite songs, movies, books, places, foods ALL the time!  This is why I am generally a happy person; also a person you might suspect is perpetually inebriated (see:  WHY YOU THINK I MIGHT BE DRUNK).  I am so madly in love with all of the goodness I have encountered that not only do I replay the highlights on a continual loop (sort of like my own Sports Center, with happily very little sports) but I also imagine future encounters with all of my favorite people, places and things and conjure up pleasing and amusing little scenarios involving them.   Who needs technology when you have an amazing computer full of such delights right inside your skull?  How could I ever be bored with this marvelous tool at my disposal?
I have said to my son a time or two (or three), “There is no such thing as being bored, only being boring”.  I believe this wholeheartedly to be true.  If you have a functioning brain, boredom is literally impossible.  Even in a droning lecture, even when confronted with humorless companions, even in a darkened, sound proofed room, BOREDOM is an impossible state.  Because you have that brain loaded with ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS!   How could I ever get sick of contemplating them, especially when I add something new EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Researchers at Stanford University have determined that most people’s brains can’t distinguish between real and virtual experience; so in other words, the party I am in constant attendance at is in many ways as good as an actual party…without the calories!  It may look like I am driving the car, or weeding, or vacuuming or doing any number of other tedious chores, but I am actually conversing with a good friend, or reliving a favorite moment from a beloved book, or travelling to a place I have only read about…for FREE! 

My capacity to enjoy this party does have a downside, however…it is such a pleasant place to retreat to, that sometimes I spend more time IN THERE than OUT HERE, especially when I am going through a rough patch in my life.  When that happens, I risk the possibility of missing out on something OUT HERE that would enrich my life and add flavor to the already endlessly delicious IN THERE.    The trick to balance is to make “matches”…that is, fully identify the people, places and things OUT HERE that best complement the IN THERE.  And this is something we all do to some degree or another—we “recognize” ourselves in the world and attach.  When you love something, whether it is another person, an animal, a movie, a vacation spot or just a good book, it is because it “matches” the world you would best like to live in, your own personal party, as it were.  Joseph Campbell expounds on this brilliantly in The Power of the Myth: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality...”

So when I say I have finally “arrived”, I mean two things…1) my life experiences and my “innermost being” are more in sync now than at any time in my life, and 2) I am more able than ever before to share my “innermost being” with not only the people I love but the world in general.  To put it plainly, the party IN THERE is coming out to mingle with the party OUT HERE and they are getting along famously.  It’s my party, and I am more and more able to invite the positive and exclude (or just recover quickly from) the “bad”.  So it’s a damned good time.  This is middle age!!!  Not too shabby, as my dad used to say.  When they asked Michelangelo how he made his statue of David he is reported to have answered, "It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn't look like David." That is also how it is with us…as the years pass, we learn to chip away the things that don’t resonate with our true self, and the “David” in us emerges.  My outer edges might still be a bit rough, but inside I am that masterpiece, waiting to be fully revealed.  And looking forward to remaining a party animal for as many years as I have left. 


No comments:

Post a Comment