This is not a sad article. This is about connections and weights, about people as we see them and people as they were.
It’s been almost 13 years since my father passed away. It’s been about 5 months since my mother passed away. There are many others that are significant – the number never goes down. Every time, every single person is significant to us for reasons that are sometimes easily explained despite how complicated the relationship is. To say that I have ever had a simple relationship is an understatement. Everything is complex, nuanced, and open for discussion.
Yet when a person hits that full stop of life, some things simplify as we get to know them beyond the frames we put them in. Other perspectives weigh in. The people typically grow in death as we learn more about them from other people, good and bad, right and wrong. An example: My father, who was proud of me joining the Navy, was once forbidden to join the Navy by his father. My mother left a trail of artists who were affected by her passing, and that was truly her audience for her writings – complex, passionate, and a trail of breadcrumbs through a life of difficult exploration in being human.
But we only know people in certain ways, as we know them and are allowed to know them – as they permit us, as we permit ourselves. Framing them, judging only by what is available, we form sometimes strong opinions about things much more nuanced, only shadows of who they were.
And the ghosts, in the end, tell us more.
This extends into our digital worlds as well.
It’s easy to simply stop, to ride things out, and stay at the level that you’re at. It’s the most common of mistakes and also one that so many embrace; it’s embraced because there is more to life than growth; there is more to life than growth otherwise we would be no more than cancer cells – and likely as damaging.
Yet, life requires growth.
Being unready and ill-equipped is what you have to expect in life. It is the universal predicament. It is your lot as a human being to lack what it takes. Circumstances are seldom right. You never have the capacities, the strength, the wisdom, the virtue you ought to have. You must always do with less than you need in a situation vastly different from what you would have chosen as appropriate for your special endowments. – Charlton Ogburn, The Maurauders (1959)
To stay alive, growth means moving forward. To be alive, one has to grow.
At any point in time, where we are is determined by who we have become.
Where we will be is determined by who we become.
Who we become is determined on by how willing to grow beyond where we are.
How bad do you want it?
One morning, you wake up – a previous life over, a new one begun with what you learned from the old one.
When things change so significantly, the only sane thing to do is to look at what has changed and what hasn’t – and begin to piece together what comes next.
What we fail to realize is that every morning is that one morning.