Friday, January 25, 2019

Just Chillin'

It was a dazzling day today but cold - around 54℉ with a wind from the north. I began my bicycle ride this morning with only a light hoodie over my Polo shirt. I felt under-dressed but toughed it out, hoping the sunshine and the sea grape hedges along Gulf of Mexico Drive would insulate me. It was wishful thinking for the most part.  When I reached Bayfront Park the wind was cutting full blast across Sarasota Bay so I wasn't long in heading back home - at least with the wind at my back.

Contemplating - as is my wont - the many choices in life, it occurred to me once again that with my time running out there is no room for anything other than what pleases me. Though it smacks of pure selfishness, the conviction is nonetheless replete with good sense and a measure of logic.  What convinces me is the inutility of doing otherwise.  Gone are the days when it may have mattered what I do or don't do. At this stage the only one who will rise or fall on that decision is myself. It is utterly preposterous to imagine that my conduct will influence anyone other than myself. To be perfectly blunt no one gives a damn! Nor should they.

I do of course harbour sufficient vanity to cultivate at least the appearance of propriety and worthiness however unmarketable my demeanour may be. No matter how I look at it, from whatever angle, the prescription is always the same - do what I can to enjoy life. Though it certainly isn't a novel recipe it is comical how many reasons one manufactures to delay or deaden the blueprint. If one were to ask, Why not? - I suspect the answer would be difficult to fathom. The point is, we seldom ask the question much less answer it.  Instead we unthinkingly pursue our accustomed habits which swivel around the evaluation of everything but what is immediate to our consolation.

Before proceeding I must interject. There is an important corollary to this recommendation for personal assessment. Giving oneself the licence and direction to do what one wants is by definition a good thing.  At the same time we mustn't ignore the privilege of others to do likewise. Assuming it is an accurate observation that self-improvement is for the benefit of society in general then we similarly owe it to others to appreciate their particular ambitions. We frequently recoil when the result of such intellectual liberty is that others do not do what we want or expect of them. Perhaps the reason for our reluctance is that we misinterpret their behaviour as not merely personal to them but contradictory to us. This naturally contaminates the legitimacy and entitlement of others to behave as they wish; and it may at the same time create an entirely false understanding of the nature of our relationship with that person. I add that assessment - or extrapolation - because the health of relationship with others is often as important as the health of relationship with oneself. The complication can arise on occasion where some distance is temporarily required to permit these private ventures to materialize and transpire.  This may entail cutting off association for a time.

Meanwhile the pursuit of our own well-being persists.  And we haven't the time to interrupt of our agenda for witless reflection. It is a common declension of aging that one more frequently ponders the spiritual rather than the material values of life. Though Longboat Key has at times the appearance of a retirement residence for the elderly there nonetheless exists a sufficient number of people who are unalterably moored to the historic mirages of the sublunary world. The most common exemplifications are real estate and automobiles. Aside from the variations of homes and condominiums there are people who have stables of antique and late-model cars, everything from Rolls Royce to Ferrari and Maybach.

It isn't a vernacular for the pusillanimous.  Our immediate neighbour above is currently in the throes of trying to unload his apartment.  It is easy to follow his exploits on the internet.  The price has dropped drastically (7%) over the past 87 days and he is now being touted as "motivated" which I think speaks volumes. At over half a million dollars US it still isn't a give-away but I know from having spoken with the owner on several occasions he is anxious.  Of course I haven't any insight into the circumstances surrounding the sale nor the extent of his actual margin.  What I do know however is that I can happily bear the deprivation of similar undertakings. I am frequently reminded of my late father's adage, "You can't have money and things".  After a certain point in life the accumulation of things wanes in significance. Unless one has endless resources this is a fortuitous evolution. While it is possible to make a compelling argument that ownership competes favourably with amortization of one description or another, this does not however address the dietary distinction which comes with age. In plain terms my appetite for ownership has diminished. As I have noted in reference to my neighbour here, the associated obligations of ownership are demanding.  What I failed to mention as well is that my neighbour has already expended considerable capital upon the improvement and renovation of the property, all of which has at this stage at least the dissolving appearance of uselessness. He at least has the advantage of being still young, potentially mobile and open to alteration.  These however are credentials which don't of necessity suit everyone if for no other reason than that they require an element of energy.

I hate to say it but Nature eventually teaches us how to die. This uninspiring bit of wisdom is certainly hardcore but I prefer to derive from it the sustenance of at least some knowledge. It does for example hasten one's disregard for things generally, at least new things.  I am thankfully still not at the point where I have completely abandoned the enjoyment of what I have even though I may have curtailed the lust for more.

It is quite wry how elemental become one's needs.  It is no accident that old people disintegrate so steadily into clinical simplicity.  This isn't to say there is a desertion of quality, in fact I rather pride myself on having preserved the qualitative items over the less valuable ones (among which I remorselessly include the extrication of impractical things that don't survive in the dishwasher - like sterling silver). For a hopeless materialist such as I, this relative modesty affords me the paradoxical privilege of enhanced enjoyment.  It may even be illustrative of the depth of advancement of which I speak. The road to pleasure translates from the vulgar variety of things to the appreciation of them, a perfect metaphor for the change we should in any event promote.

Eventually there is only so much one can consume on any level - socks, shoes, smalls, pants, belts, shirts, sweaters, jackets, hats and jewellery. After seven decades one's household provisions are pretty much settled. I have even adjusted to acceptance of my partially broken mantle clock (the chime no longer works properly but the time-keeping is perfect). The allure to buy a replacement clock slackens the instant I recall that I am merely replacing one evaporation with another. This by the way isn't the same as applying duct-tape.  The clock has an exceedingly complicated chime mechanism which I have been told by a clock maker is irreparable. Otherwise the device has the appearance of exactitude and I have decided I will endure the blemish accordingly - more wilful accommodation of life's inescapable impertinence! It matters too that the grandfather clock makes sufficient noise for any household.

In the result - after the insinuation of these forceful ingredients - I spent a relaxed few hours on the beach this afternoon nestled in my cardigan absorbing the afternoon rays and blissfully listening to the crashing waves and rolling surf. What I failed to mention was that early this morning - around 4:00 am - I galvanized my energy to attack the technical refinement of much of my blogs. Admittedly  doubtlessly there remains certain disparities but the overall transition has been effected. There is no immediate requirement for further correction.  A tolerable imperfection remains.

No comments:

Post a Comment