I Believe

  • Social niceties make life more palatable. Please be reasonably polite to me even if you don’t care for me, and I will do the same.
  • Boundaries are good.
  • Giving a vague answer is an acceptable way to not answer a question, and if a person does that, the correct response is a vague acquiescence, not “Oh, so you don’t want to tell me, is that it?”
  • Cheese, French bread, and wine make a perfectly good dinner.
  • Work is not the purpose of life. There are various purposes of life, one of which may be one’s professional vocation. In general, work supports one’s various purposes, and that’s its purpose, along with whatever useful good or service is produced by it.
  • Most American TV sucks.
  • The dark and quiet of late night is fantastic, and I just don’t get equating “darkness” with “evil.”
  • Showering at night enables one to go to bed clean and allows for more sleeping in, and is therefore a good thing.
  • People are not algorithms, and some of life’s decisions should not be made on the basis of mathematical logic.
  • There are some things too big to rely on the whims of private charity, and the state (or the State) should take it on.
  • Liiiiike universal health care.
  • Not everybody should have children.
  • Thank-you notes are required. Always.
  • You do not wear white to other people’s weddings. (Yes, it happened to me.)
  • Sunday night is the worst time of the week.
  • Best time: Friday at 5. No matter how much I like whatever I’m doing during the week.
  • Going to Mass, cooking dinner, reading and knitting comprise a perfectly good Saturday night.
  • You don’t have to answer your phone.

Just some random thoughts.

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Brief Mental Vacation

I have found recently that when I am stressed and anxious, a memory from childhood keeps popping into my head. For a few moments — not even a minute, I don’t think — I spontaneously meditate on this one day from about 1975, and I feel a total loosening of my tense diaphragm and a marked lessening of anxiety.

I’m not even sure it’s one day, and I’m not sure it’s 1975. I recall my grade school library, on a rainy, gloomy afternoon. It was on the second floor then, over the front doors where we had our class pictures taken. There was a small room off the big main one; it just had an archway into it. There were big floor pillows (the 70s, remember) for kids to sit and read. (The other end of the library had a huge cardboard “house” with pillows in it for the same thing.) I remember being in that smaller room, and feeling safe and happy amongst the books.

It’s probably an amalgamation of many afternoons from, say, first through fifth grade, but whether it’s one day or a combination, it soothes me. I’m still the same person, 35 years later; that building is still there; books still exist. No matter what thing is freaking me out, it can’t change that. And, too, for a few moments I actually return there, to a time when I wasn’t exactly happy — having had depression since around that time, and having the various and sundry difficulties of an awkward black sheep kid — but I was not scared, and I didn’t have to fend for myself, and I still felt hopeful about a future I thought would be great.

It’s a lovely vacation from the stress of adulthood and my own particular brand of anxiety. I sometimes worry it will lose its power, but so far, so good.