If not now, when?

It must be something in the water, but I’m feeling that things are going to be better in 2015.а “Say what?” you ask. I know. Such optimism seems unwarranted in the face of all the crap (sewage, pardon my expression) raining down on us.а Just think of all the insanity running rampant out there with terrorists of all types and stripes, foreign and domestic, ideological and just plain nasty. I must be kidding, right?а And as a balanced liberal (I just made that up), shouldn’t the idea of a Republican-dominated Congress send chills down my spine?а Somehow I can’t get excited or exercised by it. I truly don’t care. Really. Instead, I’m working on finding equanimity in the midst of all the craziness, political and otherwise. Also, you know the saying that crap flows downhill? I’m heading for higher ground.

There are different ways of finding higher ground. Here’s a good example. For those of us who have been suffering silently through the indignities and bashings POTUS has been subjected to (I have to admit, sometimes I wondered if he could survive it), in recent months, we’ve begun to feel vindicated simply by his calm dignity and refusal to play the hate game. Instead, he set his own rules and standard of conduct and also seemingly grew a pair, if you know what I mean. Now, it’s no more Mister Nice Guy. аHe seems to have found his own high ground and his way of cutting through the crap. аIt’s as if he said to himself, “If not now, when?”

Don’t you like how I worked in that question? It’s really meant for all of us. If not now, when? To set the stage, let me grind out a metaphor? We’re so busy shooting the rapids of our day-to-day lives (all the stuff happening to us) that the rapids become our lives. It’s a fight just to keep our heads above water. All the while, we’re being swept along, not knowing where we’re headed. Then one fine day, when we hit calm waters and make our way to shore, wondering where we are and how the hell we ended up here, we ask ourselves the more unsettling question: “Who did I mean to be?” More to the point, “Who am I anyway?”

For many of us, it’s a tough place to be after a lifetime of keeping your eyes on some nebulous prize, working hard to get there, while every now and then cautiously squinting at the horizon to see how much further you have to go. Then the time comes in some unnervingly quiet moment when you wonder what it was all for. аIf you’re like me (I’m coming up on my 75th year), you’re probably trying to make sense of your life as you’ve lived it so far. But even more unnerving -- now that you’re no longer riding the rapids (as I said, I’m heading for higher ground), where does that leave you?

For starters, the game is different. With advancing age, you find that many of the trivialities that dominated your life are so much less compelling or important. What a relief! There’s also the loss of youthfulness as it dissolves into wrinkles, aching joints and sagging flesh. I remember spotting that first hint of a jowl in the mirror, which sent me into a tailspin for days.а Ah, vanity. But probably more disturbing is our ability to multi-task being replaced by those moments when you find yourself in the kitchen (or the bedroom or the bathroom) and you wonder how you got there and why the heck you were there in the first place.а

Well, if I’ve learned anything in my rather long life, it’s that it ain’t over till it’s over.а So many of the constraints of life as I knew it are now fading away. And while I may be forgetful once in a while (What’s her name again? Where did I put those keys?), I can still think and create, which is why you’re reading this blog. And as long as I’m still breathing (No time to waste. Chop, chop!), it’s time to figure out “Who am I anyway?”

Let me apologize for raising all these uncomfortable questions without offering answers, in case you were expecting the Finding Out Who You Are Instructions for Dummies. аHmmm. Now there’s a thought.

Perhaps we should start with our childlike beginner’s mind, which is so naturally intuitive and clear seeing before we are conditioned to think and act in certain ways. It’s getting in touch with that part of ourselves that knows without thinking what makes us genuinely happy. A child certainly knows.а

Happy Blake

OK. I admit this was a perfect excuse to slip in a photo of my happy grandson, Blake. But I think it makes my point.

Anyway, no matter your age or where you are in your life, I hope you will give some thought to who you really are and how you can live a more self-directed, happy life. Then dare to ask yourself the question: “If not now, when?”

As the Jewish leader Hillel the Elder said:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am 'I'? And if not now, when?"

а

Never too late to

Find out who you really are.

And if not now, when?

ай Maya Leland 2014