jusummerhayes

Why so serious?

"We are becoming a ghost cult. Ghosts because anything of weight tends to be consciously unwitnessed, or, if even suspected, resolutely shunned. We decide to un-witness. When we don't have thirty pairs of curious eyes on us it creates a suspicion we need thirty million. And that something is deeply wrong with us when we don't get it. And so a protracted annihilation of substance and character begins, a kind of long-winded, low-key suicide attempt." — Dr Martin Shaw, in the Foreword to Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson

I'm a serious kind of guy. 

Perhaps it goes with the territory — being a lawyer that is — but, these days, I'm not sure it's a trait that's in high demand.

Actually, I think I've reigned it in or it's been corralled by my failure to engage with people. 

"Why are you so angry?"

I'm not but I am troubled (too often for my own good) out loud. 

Why?

Well here I am with 40 years of work experience and I still can't make sense of things — my life, my relationships and the world.

Of course, that's my issue and mine alone but as I let go of all those once red hot dreams, I'm left to wonder what it — i.e. life — is all about?

And I realise it's a serious, serious business. Perhaps more serious than I ever imagined.

Sure, I can try to dazzle you with lots of fancy words, lots of theories and masterful exploration of psycho-spiritual writings but the truth is we still have to do something with our days. Something eminently serious.

What did I expect to be doing aged 53? I don't honestly know. Actually, that's not true. I never gave it a moment's thought. Even now, as I look back over the decades, all I've got with which to make sense of this unease is the memories of what others of similar age actually did. There isn't much to report save that the majority thought about how quickly they could get out the game and retire. No one, and I mean no one, was talking about working on until they were 70, less still sorting out some of the unsolved issues of the day. I suppose that's why I'm drawn so inexorably to do something outside working hours with such dedication, even if at times it's quite haphazard. 

And then there's the writing. It's definitely driving me on right now. I can feel it. I'm inclined this time to make fewer prognostications about my expectations but all I'll say is that when I apply myself to any endeavour, I'm all in and the kitchen sink. It doesn't feel like that right now but I've this overwhelming sense, influenced by Brian's recent death, that I need to fill the space between the brittle, unsatisfying day job and everything else my lifeforce could otherwise create. And without being too hyperbolic, that feels exciting — at least mildly so.

I do wonder if I'm depressed? Could that explain my apparent lack of willpower and energy? Possibly, but I'd prefer to think of it as the gods telling me to slow down, to breathe and be grateful for my remaining lifeforce. So what if I'm not climbing the greasy pole or knocking it out the park with my extracurricular activities. Who cares! Who really cares?

If there's a takeaway to this post, it's to pay attention and understand that life is now, even if it's not living up to your expectations. And that means, at least to my way of seeing the world, taking it very seriously — even the rubbish parts. Why? Because one day you won't be here to fret over things. And if that doesn't bring you up short, then there's not much I can otherwise say. Sorry dear readers if that last part feels a bit peremptory but what else is there?

Blessings, and much love ❤️.

Ju.


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