Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Thankfulness And Thankless Tasks

We had a mixed holiday yesterday. On one hand, we had a wonderful dinner at our friends' houses, including a meal at one place and dessert at another. On the other hand, our house flooded for the second time this year and a ton of our stuff was ruined. So, after a morning spent worrying and being really upset, the afternoon with friends was much needed. Today, we're cleaning and trying to figure out what we can save and what we must trash. Jaime is doing most of the deciding.

On the plus side, today is a nice day, and we're not as upset as we could be. It's all a matter of perspective. In the grand scheme of things, some ruined things are not the end of the world. The real problem now is trying to sort through the stuff and figure out where it goes and what to do next. Jaime is a natural hoarder, and there is a lot of stuff to organize. We did have the nice meal and a night's sleep to energize us though, so we'll get it done.

All of this has a huge silver lining for me: it really highlights my search for what I want to do next. I feel young, in a way I haven't felt for years.

It's odd. I am young, at 33. But for a few years, with kids and money and poor habits and all of that, I have been feeling overextended and worn out. Suddenly, in the past few months, that has gone away. Even yesterday, with the frustration and sadness of dealing with the house, I felt excited and filled with purpose. Jaime says it's change; and there is no doubt I am a junkie for change. But I thing it's also the energy of being reminded that I'm young, I have a wonderful family, I'm healthy, and there are always options out there for people who want to excel.

I no longer define success by the narrow terms that used to limit me. I spent my twenties trying to be true to myself. I wanted an ideological victory. In a sense I achieved that victory, by learning the shallowness of ideology. In my thirties, I want to excel at being who I am, as a person. My kids are growing, and I'm trying to provide for them, socially and spiritually as well as materially. That process of learning what really matters to me as a person has given me strength that the ideological quest never could. I no longer have a standard to aspire to on paper, I have a person to be. I used to write about abstractions that made up a person without understanding the limitations of those abstractions. The next decade is my concrete dedication to growth, for me and my family. That means materially, spiritually, and socially. Most important, it does not mean abstractly or ideologically.

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