The Lucky Ones

Where we could have been

Behavioral economists tell us that if we perceive ourselves living somehow better than we thought we would, we are happier than if we think we should have ended up better.

She wonders what value to the results it would be to have started out with no expectations at all other than to do what one loves starting right from the beginning — no matter what rewards other than what one derives from the doing.

She was lucky enough to have a mother that finally realized she couldn’t eat her peas and couldn’t work a civil service job either — and bought her all the stuff she needed to practice, because all she ever wanted was to be an artist.

Starving artist.
Food, clothing and shelter.

There are the three essentials and it is possible that doing what one loves might not be able to accomplish even those let alone the others that Maslow believed we need.

  1. physiological
  2. safety
  3. love and belonging
  4. esteem
  5. self-actualization

There are always cardboard boxes to live in for free and clothes can be had for fifty cents a piece — sometimes even less. The salvation army used to let you stuff a big bag, with whatever you wanted for one single dollar. Food is a little bit more tricky, but it can also be grown in someone else’s yard, if you let them have a little bit of the harvest. A cardboard box isn’t good in the rain, but there are always tunnels or houses of sticks and mud — though there isn’t much esteem in living like that —

— Both of the cats are sleeping on chairs — they like her enough to want to be near her. She likes that they want to be in her tribe. It’s raining outside and cool inside, she got all her chores done and feels actualized. She has plenty of supplies to sew up into fashions but that isn’t what she really wants to do at the present. She might if she had a store but she doesn’t and has somewhat ceased thinking that she still wants one.

Since all she ever wanted to be was an artist and even though she hasn’t quite gotten there yet — a big fancy house or an SUV, would never suffice to set her free. She did have a big house a long time ago, but it was only intended for planning that future. She was pretty good at believing ahead.

The great thing about it, was that all along, everything she did was getting her closer and what ever she did, it was creative. Even her job as a manager, had her designing systems to make thing run smoother — her artistic muscles were always at work.

It does seem that choosing is the greatest matter. If one has no choice, they seem to have little voice either and it looks a lot like a prison they are living in. It does seem that more people would have more choices if other people choosing more would instead choose less. It is probably the ones that are choosing so much that might be the ones that think they should have ended up better.

Most of the time, she thinks she has it all — probably one of the lucky ones who thinks she is living, better than she ever planned for or thought she would.

 

The Lucky Ones

 

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Where To Go

The thing to do it seemed was to start packing things up in boxes exactly the way it would be done for moving, starting with things that should definitely travel to the next place – only the utter essentials. That would start the paring. Those boxes could take the spaces where they would be the closest to any of the exits.

Looking to the left the cupboards were loaded and yes, they were handsome for looking at and the shelves had finally been finished in the best rendition of coloring after going through several gyrations – two shades of what interpreted as more turquoise than Moody Blue as it was named. It might be that turquoise could be moody and in fact it did have a way of setting a mood and one that no longer needed any further tweaking.

All the items stacked on the shelves to look at — and they were mostly just for that as seldom were any of them actually used — were colorful and placed such that they would photograph well for an article that might be written for Thoughts of Home in an issue of House Beautiful — another of the things that had long ago been a good intention — and even a main reason for why any writing had been taken up in the first place.

There had been fabulous stories in Thoughts of Home that were still available to re-read in the mile-high stack of magazines that might now be better burning — if they wouldn’t be too sorely missed.

Most of the items intrinsically of value if by sentiment or having aged well were not among the utterly essential category and though they might be sorely missed, could remain safe in boxes that could stay for the time being as well as possibly any of the Thoughts of Home.

Any of a number of complexities for trying to sell the things was outweighed easily by thinking of the joy their absence by burning or leaving might be to ease moving or thinking about them again later or dusting sometime in the future. It might be that after a succession of the events of new living, they would find themselves forgotten or devalued for their ability to distract because a better thing had taken the space that they’d been holding. That was the hope. And that was becoming known of what their value had ever really been, distractions, a thing to dote upon or move around for dealing with neurotic episodes. What a waste of valuable time and no more was available for that kind of wasting if it ever had been. Seemed that true healing was finally beginning.

This had all been done another time when it was thought that a new living arrangement was on the horizon. And though that failed to manifest – old souls deciding that if they hadn’t been ready before they likely would not be ready ever to live together as one – the boxes did well to sit for quite a spell until a collection of animal vases looked interesting to paw through and it all went mad again from there. All of the boxes flung open and their contents spilled out to congregate on shelves where they needed attending to by looking at again or dusting.

What had suddenly become so troubling had more to do with how to realize the full measure of life’s meaning in a way that didn’t require any consideration of dusting or mopping because dusting and mopping kept interrupting far too many other good scenarios of imagination or actual doing, so it was becoming ever more clear — as if it hadn’t always been — that they were not things good time should be spent on.

There was something of a story that still needed full expression – one that included living near a stream or some body of water where there may be a woods and meadow and wild things living and maybe even better weather that could fill the spaces boxed up goods were no good at filling nor any of their contents.

The things that needed to be put in the boxes left for losing had stories that were old and most of the characters in them had aged out and gone to ethereal places where they didn’t need any of the caring they or any of their things had called upon at one time. Touching or seeing any of those things again was an unnecessary repetition and seemed to be doing more harm than any good now. They could remain in boxes until the full measure of their missing could be known — but in the meanwhile, some going must be done and it would only be possible to do, it seemed, if the things were burned or left behind.

It’s so easy to see once the putting of things in boxes starts that the city had gotten too small and there were no meadows and not much evidence of wild things — that the weather was poor and even though congestion was not anywhere like a real city, it was nonetheless congestion — other unhappy people milling around behaving in neurotic episodes not finding any real measure of full meaning — most all of them eating pizza and forgetting about the birds and bees instead.

The only charm the little burg had ever had was a person and some other people that had come and gone by now. And no one else seemed worthy of mentioning so it was starting to seem that rivers or lakes or meadows or mountains might be more satisfying — that story that still needed its full expression. There had been dreams.

There is a man that has a lot of anger and it’s hard not to imagine that people stay together because complaining is easy enough to remedy for a minute or two by cheating — but finding a way to keep happy and moving along in life without a partner leaves an opportunity to not excuse a lack of accomplishment on something someone else held back or replaced in a lesser way. There is no substitute for one’s own full knowing where less anger already exists.

There are people who when coupled are greater than the sum of their parts — people who living whole lives together benefit more than if they had remained alone — a beautiful thing when and if two can do.

Maybe just knowing that nothing but and every utter essential was corralled in boxes ready to exit would be all that was needed to clear the path for leaving. The house could be looked at like it had been at the beginning, but this time not as a place for starting over but a place to leave someone else for starting over. And even though lots of love had been put into it, that also had been done before elsewhere and it had been possible to yank any of those roots to leave with all those boxes.

Grieving is a process but it was starting to seem like the grieving needed to be carried in one of the essential boxes or maybe split up into several of the lesser ones because it was becoming more and more evident that it was likely the only thing keeping her from really leaving — that and where to go.

 

 

where to go