Fictional Choices

I don’t choose my preferences, otherwise I’d just choose what I already have — why would I select something difficult to obtain? So when life provides me with an urge to fulfill a particular preference, perhaps life is preparing me for what’s coming. I certainly don’t control whether an outcome comes to fruition, life does what it wants.

I tend to be a decent problem solver, but life often gives me ambitions I find difficult to fulfill. And when these impulses do get fulfilled, it’s in a way I could not have predicted — it’s a miracle of sorts. For instance, the introduction of the Internet solved many of my problems, allowing me to fulfill a number of preferences — yet I could not have planned for that particular pathway.

It seems to me that life is a bit scripted — it’s as if I receive inclinations based on what life has already planned. And really, how can I predict major game-changers like the Internet? I can’t predict who I’ll meet, what new ideas I’ll be introduced to, or even where I’ll live in a decade. As is said: There but for the grace of God go I.

My point seems to be this: have patience. Why should a yearning exist so long before it’s allowed to materialize? Perhaps to build anticipation, ensuring appreciation, and ultimately yielding a sweet satisfaction. Oftentimes, the feeling of anticipation is the most pleasurable part of a present — so take time to savor the perfectly imagined outcome.

Christmas Miracle

When I think about what my life should be like, I tend to imagine the mundane. From watching lots of old black & white sitcoms while growing up in the suburbs, I simply see a more idealized version of that. A nice house with a decent yard, a friendly community, quaint local shops, raising kids, getting old, and that’s about it.

I didn’t particularly enjoy my childhood, but I think that was due to family issues more than a dislike of the lifestyle. Within a positive family environment, I have a feeling it could work out well. And after living in a single-wide mobile-home in a trailer-park, my longing for such a lifestyle has only grown.

Of course, having had the family I did, I very much appreciate the importance of creating a supportive atmosphere that facilitates smiles. Witnessing the effects of anger, abuse, and negativity forces me to adopt a different approach to life, encouraging me to maintain a positive attitude.

Lately, I can’t help but look through real estate listings of nice houses with decent yards in pleasant little communities. I even went so far as to attend an open-house. I’m not in a position to make such a purchase, nor do I see a logical path to that ability — so I turn to wishes.

Therefore, this Christmas, I wish for a nice house in the suburbs with all the trimmings. I know it seems self-indulgent, and I suppose it is, but there’s also those with whom I live that would appreciate the room to grow and the schools and the neighborhood and all it has to offer.

Thank you for your consideration,
Rich

Being Human

As humans therefore, we are to strive toward an ideal. And being here on Earth, we must integrate this pursuit with our surroundings. We cannot adopt savagery nor seek extreme efficiency. We must engage in the toil of existence while adhering to particular standards. All of this is challenging, yet we are to proceed with persistence.

The challenges include: defining an ideal and setting standards by which to live, reconciling our consciousness with physical existence, determining our capacity to influence the world, maintaining both our mental and material well-being, and persevering until our natural conclusion.

In the Middle

Are we to satiate, integrate, or strip away the beastly nature of man? In other words, is man an animal just seeking to quench his desires, is he a hybrid seeking to reconcile the physical with the metaphysical, or is he a spirit seeking to be free from corporeal influence? In other words, are we to seek the fulfillment of wants, seek continuous betterment while struggling toward an ideal, or do we seek to remove the limitations of the human animal?

Being that we abhor brutality, that we praise self-control, that we reject asceticism, it appears that we choose option 2, integration. Humanity therefore is not merely an animal, but something more, a hybrid of body and consciousness. Whether that self-awareness resides purely in the brain or within another realm is unknown — but it watches this world, and is therefore in no position to denigrate this experience.

We should not act as animals nor entirely abstain, but seek harmony between observer and the observed. An authentic and unified life cannot adopt every efficiency — if we are to watch life lived, we must engage in the toil of existence. But within this world we are to reject savagery — we are to discover and define perfection, and strive upon its path. An onslaught of challenge stands in opposition to this goal, yet we are to proceed with persistence.

Bullied by Life

In a relationship, it’s never beneficial to let the other person walk all over you. And being that you have a relationship with life, it’s not good to let life push you around, always dictating how your life will go. So you have to stand up for yourself — but how?

Life is a smooth operator, enticing you with sights and sounds, attempting to draw you in. Life whispers sweet nothings, then slaps you, then degrades you even further, then throws you a bone every now and again — and you’ll fall for it, crawling back for more.

But you have to ignore it, you must stop believing what life tells you. Life will do what it wants, but you’re no longer taking the bait — you refuse to be upset anymore. It’s mere illusion, even your body, it’s nothing. When life can no longer fool you, it runs out of options.

When life realizes your unwillingness to be sucked into the drama, it tries to smooth things over, treating you with respect, presenting what’s pleasant. After taking responsibility for your side of the relationship, you learn to appreciate life. And on more equal footing, the relationship works.

How To Christmas

In early December, in the late-afternoon or after supper, play Christmas music of the 1950s and 1960s, such as The Little Drummer Boy by The Harry Simeone Chorale and Marshmallow World by Dean Martin and It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Andy Williams.

Mail out Christmas-themed cards to various relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Mailing out early gives recipients a chance to reciprocate and provides them with an address if necessary. And of course, use Christmas-themed stamps.

Bring home a formerly living pine tree, typically of the Balsam Fir or Fraser Fir variety. Beginners should start with a 5 foot or under whereas an intermediate can go about 6 to 7 feet. It may be easier to secure the tree in its stand while still horizontal, before bringing it into the house.

Typically, a couple sets of string-lights will cover a small tree. Start at the top and wind it around and around, ending with the pronged-end at the very bottom of the tree. Place a lighted star on top of the tree and plug it into the beginning of the string-lights. Now plug the lights into an extension cord and insert into a wall outlet. Observe the wondrous magical lights as Christmas music plays in the background.

With lights lit and music playing, place shiny bulbs, various ornaments, ribbons, bows, or other garlands around the tree. Take your time and enjoy. When complete, pour water into the tree’s stand and place the tree-skirt around the base. Place any pre-existing presents under the tree. Further house decorating is optional — one might include artificially lit candles in the windows, a wreath on the front door, a manger scene, a Christmas village, hanging mistletoe, or toy-soldier nutcrackers.

By mid December, bake a batch of ginger molasses or sugar cookies — also consider baking holiday breads such as pumpkin or cranberry. Leave out a bowl of mixed nuts accompanied by metal nutcrackers and keep a supply of clementines in the fridge. Christmas-themed movies should be watched around this time as well — classics include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), A Christmas Story (1983), and Scrooged (1988).

Presents should be purchased and wrapped by this time. If young children are present, gifts from Santa should be hidden and wrapped differently from other presents and placed around the tree late Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, presents are opened.

In the late-afternoon, Christmas dinner is consumed — a roasted meat with gravy and root vegetables with a splash of corn or peas. For dessert, consider having apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream.

The tree and other decorations are removed sometime after New Years Day. And remember, throughout the season, at all times, be mindful of Christmas cheer and goodwill towards men. Wish others the best and give the gift of forgiveness and the present of patience. And have yourself a very merry Christmas time.

P.S. As every Christmas movie teaches, it’s never too late to save Christmas.

End Times

Since the dawn of recorded history, people have been saying that times are changing, that we’re teetering on the brink of a major precipice, that the end of the world is nigh. Yet, here we are, plodding along as always.

Those with such dire predictions have no precedent upon which to lay their claims. Existence has only ever revealed a controlled chaos, with creation outpacing destruction. We’re already aware of the inevitability of our individual demise, the exact time and manner of expiration is merely minutia.

Unnecessary worry about the unpredictable and unprovable is an unfruitful endeavor. Therefore, pursue what is provable: a smile brings comfort, soothing others establishes one’s own comfort, comfort is more desirable than discomfort.

Which should you contribute to this world, distress and fear or relief and merriment? As the end of our own path approaches, how do we walk it, right now, and in every moment? Should we not laugh as we lend our hand to others?