Sunday, December 26, 2021

#360 / So Happy Just To Be Alive...


... Underneath the sky of blue!
I am quoting Bob Dylan on my seventy-eighth birthday, and that's no big surprise. I have been quoting Bob Dylan extensively throughout the entire twelve years I have been doing these daily blog postings (and for a long time before that, truth be told). I am not through mentioning Bob Dylan, either.
Dylan's song, "New Morning," does pretty well summarize my feelings today, a day on which I am thinking back over all those other birthdays I have had. And... Well, I have had such a great number of birthdays!

I am pretty big on "gratitude" as the correct response to being alive. I think that gratitude is almost always the right reaction to both past events and present circumstances. And... as regular readers of this blog know, it is the "present" that I think should be our main preoccupation. Really, this present day is the only thing we've got for certain
As for gratitude, if there is one reliable place to start counting up my blessings, and documenting my seventy-eight year-old list of things to be grateful for, "family and friends" is the subject that first comes to mind. And... since gratitude and forgiveness are definite first cousins - or there might even be a closer connection - here is something to think about from Kelly Corrigan, who wrote an engaging column in The New York Times on Sunday, November 28, 2021. 
Corrigan's column was titled, "Please Pass The Forgiveness," and was intended, I believe, as a kind of Thanksgiving Day meditation. I like it as a kind of "birthday forgiveness review," too:
We forgive our parents for not understanding when we’re joking, for worrying about the wrong things, for looking at us that way they do. For pretending they don’t know their mask has slipped below their nose. For asking what “TokTik” is and rolling their eyes when we mention health care or climate change or organic tofu. For bringing mortality into every room.
We forgive our siblings for staining the sweater, losing the sleeping bag, stealing the girl. For not seeing us as the adults we’ve become, for holding us hostage over that one time we said that one thing. For being smarter or more athletic or happier than we are, for having children who are smarter or more athletic or happier than ours.
We forgive our spouses for losing their phones so often, for using our toothbrush, for coming home from work late for the last 10 years. For being overly solicitous of the pretty but mean neighbor lady, for going on and on and never asking about our big meeting. For witnessing our every trifling and gross failure, for being better than we are at cooking, spreadsheets and password management in front of our kids. For being only part of what we need.
We forgive our children for getting out of the car without carrying in any of the bags, for not trying hard enough to know what we’re saying when we’re frazzled, for leaving towels on the floor at Nana’s house, for scaring us with their age-appropriate-but-still-shuddersome risk taking. For calling only when they’re in a bad mood or need money. For growing up.
We forgive ourselves — especially ourselves — for being tired, angry, absent or critical. For caring about what people think and commenting on our kids’ appearance too much. For mouthing off about corrupt politicians and then doing barely anything to make change. For abandoning the parental pledge of transcendence and going human on our children.
Every functional family, defined here as people willing to be in relationships without end, relies on forgiveness at some level, and surprisingly often that forgiveness is routine, spontaneous and possibly beyond merit. Not that it’s easy. But the alternative is even harder.
I hope you liked that. It rang a few bells for me. 
On my seventy-eighth birthday, I am not looking forward very much, and (to quote Bob Dylan once again, as promised) I am not inclined "to look back on any mistake."
I am thinking about today, and about where I am right here and now. And... I already gave you my read on that: 

So happy just to be alive underneath the sky of blue!
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1 comment:

  1. So happy you're here, out of all the possible places, and continuing to inspire.


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