Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking forward

I often run across sayings, song lyrics, and other writings that say what I want to say, only so much better than I could. The poem below by Linda Ellis is one of those things. While it greatly simplifies the truth about life here on Earth, it still has some significant meaning. I am definitely a follower of the be here now philosophy. Be here in the moment. Be here with who you are with. The next moment may not come, and the previous moment(s) are no longer accessible. We can so easily spend our time lamenting or wistfully desiring our past, but they are memories and should stay that way. We can spend all of our time wishing for better things in the future, but that future may never come. Plus I feel that it is a matter of physics and a natural law of the Universe that there is no such thing as time, there is just this moment, no past, and the future is pure possibility that depends on you right now. Getting into quantum physics with quarks and such and how little things, even thought, can affect the world around us (er, post coming soon about science fact versus science fiction)....well there is so much more to discover there....but I am off track again...I guess the point really is that we are responsible for our own happiness, responsible for charting our own course regardless of how much we feel we are the victims of circumstance and others meddling. I'm not a person that says the new year will be different (I mean, I don't believe in time so how could I be??), but rather make the changes the moment you see they need to be made. Hey, I'm the worlds biggest procrastinator and I'm saying don't put off anything to tomorrow. Seriously, how ironic is that? :-)

So, we were in church yesterday and the service was about making sure we were ready for action, ready for anything. He brought up this poem. I've seen it before, and I am sure most everyone has, but here it is again. :-)

The Dash
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars....the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...
are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash midrange.")

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read
with your life's actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they
say about how you spend your dash?

On a very sad note, my brother and his wife are ending their marriage of 12 years. Really it is about 20 years of companionship as they met as teenagers, put themselves through college, moved to NC, completed their Masters degrees, and then got married. They have two children, four and a half and one and a half years old. Like every relationship, there was always some evident strain that made me really wonder, but both of them cover it all up so well when family is around. My brother just doesn't talk about anything personal anyway (another family trait from my father I am trying to break in myself). Just a personal thought in infidelity in relationships....I'm warning you so that if you feel strongly about this you may want to stop reading now....Ok, nevermind, not going to rant right now! :-)

However there is a book I'm interested in getting that was mentioned at Single Mom Seeking called Dating for Dads, The single fathers guide to dating well without parenting poorly. I've needed something like this for a long time. Dating and parenting are often diametrically opposed activities. It is so difficult to balance MY needs, my SON's needs, and my GIRLFRIEND's needs. In the past I have tended to lose myself in a relationship. That means I focus on that person and stop being who I really am. The book Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus does a pretty good job (I think) of explaining why each person needs a little of their own space and time to just focus on themselves. In this day and age we spend eight or more hours at work each day, then I have to come home and be a parent, then I have to be the head of household (bills, cleaning, repairs, etc), then spend time with my Girlfriend, and then try to eke some time out for me. It can be overwhelming at times, but with a little effort and less whining, a balance can be forged. Be in the role you need to be at that moment and don't put too much off if you can at all avoid it. No one can really tell you how to do it, you have to find that balance for yourself. Suppressing one area entirely will only lead to an eventual explosion and crash. Hmmmm, 'managing pressure' seems to be the right phrase that comes to mind. Each area builds up pressure and you have to let it out before a limit is reached. So, I hope Dating for Dads has some good wisdom and ideas that I can use to help me, and the people closest to me in my life. :-)

I hope you had a great New Years Eve with friends, family, strangers, or all of the above, may your 2008 be the best year yet.


  1. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  2. I look forward to hearing about how you find balance -- with yourself, your son, your girlfriend -- in 2008. I have no doubt that you'll have plenty of advice to dish! I look forward to hearing about it.

  3. Happy New Year to all!

    Single Mom Seeking,
    I was hoping to receive the advice I need in 2008 for the balance part! :-) I really feel like the dating and parenting poorly part of the Dating for Dads book says it all about me. We'll see. It is one thing to know what is the best thing to do, another entirely to actually do something about it.

    In the mean time I think it is time to visit the labyrinth down at the beach and get a little meditation time in.


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