I imagine much of my posts reflect a person who's been around a few decades. I've worked and pursued one career, and then another, and another. Then I paused to ask the classic question, "Is that all there is?"
The question forces a search for new balance. I've come to terms with many things. I've decided what matters to me, and I've re-affirmed my principles and values.
I reflected on this today as I thought about meditation. The person I was who pursued TM is not the person typing today. It's a cliche, isn't it, exploited in movies, how often the young me and the old me would look at one another and wonder. That old me, just beginning their Air Force career, newly married, visting the rest of the world for the first time, considered food "fuel for the body". He shunned eating for the sake of eating. He never snacked.
But this guy that I am now, he loves snacking. Part of it is that as I aged, food changed its meaning, from fuel to becoming emotional crutches and a portion of socializing. Food and eating and discussing food and eating are bonds with my wife and my family. I laugh thinking about it. Eating and food are almost hobbies.
That young me didn't look for much validation outside himself. He didn't because he had no expectations. He was pleased to be employed. The people he worked for had expectations that he would do as he was told. Expectations developed as rewards, awards, praises and promotions were given. It changed the way he looked at the world, what he did and why he did it.
He became me. Now I found that I need to become him.
It's not easily done, undoing things that have been woven into my self. Validation was a large part of that. From high profile positions of trust and confidence, I've been reduced to my current employment, employment to be sure, and a blessing from many, many, many points of view, but often frustrating and dissatisfying, mostly to the person I had become, doing things for recognition.
Understanding these matters in myself has reinforced my approach to writing. I write for myself. That's who I must write for until it's done and finds publication. If it does not? I'll continue writing for myself.
The validation comes from reading what I wrote and enjoying it, along with the process of drawing the stories, settings and characters out. It also comes from self-examination and recognition of growth as a writer, a reeader, and a student of writing. Being a student of wrting has become more rewarding, more enriching, as I read others' works, think of how they use words in new, graceful, exciting ways, build places as real to me as this moment, or that invite me to think of new subjects or address old subjects in new ways.
That's so exciting, so stimulating, to look out and see that there is so much more to learn, so many ways to explore, so much to explore.
I dreamed as a boy of going into space. It was the quality of being new, different, and unknown that inspired me. I've since learned that space isn't the greatest unknown. I can find this in history, in human and animal behavior, in science and the earth and oceans, and in the books written about all that has been done and all that can be done, and imagine the many ways that we unfold from these moments in time to become more.
Writing. Thinking. Exploring. What can be better?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com