This whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency.

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Roger Cohen, NY Times: Mow The Law:

[…] I am less interested in the inspirational hero than I am in the myriad doers of everyday good who would shun the description heroic; less interested in the exhortation to “live your dream” than in the obligation to make a living wage.

In Camus’ book, “The Plague,” the doctor at the center of the novel, Bernard Rieux, battles pestilence day after day. It is a Sisyphean task. At one point he says, “I have to tell you this: This whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.”

Asked what decency is, he responds: “In general, I can’t say, but in my case I know that it consists of doing my job.” Later, he adds, “I don’t think I have any taste for heroism and sainthood. What interests me is to be a man.”

In the everyday task at hand, for woman or man, happiness lurks.

Don’t miss entire op-ed column by Roger Cohen, Mow The Law

Riding Metro-North. Pre-Game.

city-lights-dreamy

3:45 am, Tuesday morning.
I’m up.
Should be tired.
Not tired.
Body is saying “Go!”
Zeke stirs at my feet, and leans in.

Mental flotsam. But there it is again.

I jump in the shower.
I close my eyes, and linger in the sauna.

How do you know it isn’t?

I walk down the hall.
Behind door 1, Eric sleeps after a night out with friends.
Behind door 2, Rachel is wrapped under two comforters. She’s well into the final act of her dream.
Children.

You could be squarely in the middle of it, right now.

[Read more…]

Sunday Morning

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~ Georges Perec, Things: A Story of the Sixties; A Man Asleep


Source: Invisible Stories

 

I like the list because it contains the seeds of its own undoing

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My favorite passage in the book is a reprinting of Johnny Cash’s to-do list: “Not smoke. Kiss June. Not kiss anyone else. Cough. Pee. Eat. Not eat too much. ­Worry. Go see Mama. Practice piano.” I like the list because it contains the seeds of its own undoing. Habits have an eternal appeal because they remove the element of choice. They hold out the promise that in the future we can improve ourselves almost automatically just by moving through our days, like the evolved operating system in the Spike Jonze movie “Her.” But Johnny Cash understands that temptation is not a virus we can remove. His list isn’t linear, it’s circular. He will never turn into June. He will always be Johnny, and every day he will cough, pee and eat. Just as every day he will have to resist the urge to kiss someone else.

~ Hanna Rosin, Book Review of Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before”


When My Time Comes Around…

Running. With Flaubert.

clock-fitness-workout-weight

Let’s frame up the mood this morning.

I step on and off the scale. It could be worse. What’s of greater concern is the lack of disgust. Why not just paint a large white flag on the belly and add in large font: “Yes, I quit.” Middle aged man on the down side.

It’s 8:00 am. Zeke and I are laying in bed and I’m scanning the morning papers. It wasn’t so long ago that I would have run 10 miles by 8:30 am and be done with breakfast.  Now, I’m just thinking about breakfast.

The ladies of the house are off to Yoga. Men don’t do Yoga. This man anyway. Too many sweaty bodies in close proximity. Lululemon pants exposing things I don’t need to see. Rubber mats. Rubber room. Claustrophobia. Get me out of here.

Earlier in the week, Rachel pointed out that I’m wearing a track suit (expandable waist) with increasing frequency.  I brush her off but the hit is direct, the wound lingers.

Yes, I’ve become  Abigail Thomas‘ large and growing Inaction Figure: Torpor. Languor. Stupor. [Read more…]

Is like the man who comes to a clearing in the forest, and sees the light spikes

sunlight,sun,light

Someone who knows how little he knows
Is like the man who comes to a clearing in the forest,
and sees the light spikes,
And suddenly senses how happy his life has been.

~ Charles Wright, closing lines of “Morning Occurrence at Xanadu,” Scar Tissue: Poems


Credits: Image – Candlepowerforums. Poem: Memory’s Landscape

 

Truth

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Source: ldraghic

 

They bust you by being grateful for the day

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The worst possible thing you can do when you’re down in the dumps, tweaking, vaporous with victimized self-righteousness, or bored, is to take a walk with dying friends. They will ruin everything for you.

First of all, friends like this may not even think of themselves as dying, although they clearly are, according to recent scans and gentle doctors’ reports. But no, they see themselves as fully alive. They are living and doing as much as they can, as well as they can, for as long as they can.

They ruin your multitasking high, the bath of agitation, rumination, and judgment you wallow in, without the decency to come out and just say anything. They bust you by being grateful for the day, while you are obsessed with how thin your lashes have become and how wide your bottom.

~ Anne Lamott, “Prelude: Victory Lap“, Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace


Notes: Quote Source – Brainpickings. Portrait: Kamil Zacharski by Opaqueglitter


 

Gray Hair and Silver Linings

long grey hair, woman

70 is the new 60.
60 is the new 50.
50 is the new 40.

Right.

These two NY Times Op-Ed pieces are beautifully written where ever you land with your math. I’ve chosen 2 excerpts. Be sure to click through to the full stories.

Frank Bruni turns 50 and writes Gray Hair and Silver Linings:

[…] There’s a point at which you have to accept that certain hopes and dreams won’t be realized, and 50 sure feels like it. I mean the lost margin for error. When you’re in your 20s and even your 30s, you can waste months, squander love, say yes to all the wrong things and no to all the right ones. And you can still recover, because there are many more months and loves and crossroads to come. The mistakes of youth are an education. The mistakes later on are just a shame. And I mean the lost people most of all: the ones from whom you’re separated by unmovable circumstances; the ones who’ve died. By 50 you start to see the pace of these disappearances accelerating. It’s haunting, and even harrowing. But there’s something else that you start to notice, something that muffles all of that, a muscle that grows stronger, not weaker. More than before, you’re able to find the good in the bad. You start to master perspective, realizing that with a shift in it — an adjustment of attitude, a reorientation of expectations — what’s bothersome can evaporate and what only seems to be urgent really isn’t…

Emily Fox Gordon, 66, with The Meaning of Fulfillment:

AT 66, I find myself feeling fulfilled. I didn’t expect this, and don’t know quite what to make of it…Fulfillment is a dubious gift because you receive it only when you’re approaching the end. You can’t consider your life fulfilled until you’re fairly sure of its temporal shape, and you can’t get a view of that until you’re well past its midpoint  […]  At any rate, by now I’ve racked up enough achievements that I feel I can stop trying. Paradoxically, of course, I find I don’t want to stop. Now that not much is at stake, I’m more ambitious than ever, or at least more conscious of my ambition. Liberated from an anxiety I’ve struggled to suppress, I feel a new energy. What is fulfillment made of? Mostly relief…


Image Source: imgarcade