There was a great mix of music, dance, and storytelling at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Lancing this weekend. The Spirit of the Mountain Pow Wow living history event honored Native Americans and our nation’s veterans. While at the event I overheard somebody resond to a casual greeting with the phrase, “I’m on this side of the grass.” Events like the Spirit of the Mountain Pow Wow remind us that we should embrace every day and the goodwill of others.
The search was on yesterday at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds in Crossville. Whether it was Bigfoot tshirts, Bigfoot themed fair food, or Bigfoot literature you were going to find it. As I strolled through the crowd of believers, doubters, hucksters, and families looking for Bigfoot photos ops I got to thinking about searchs as both the literal and the metaphor. Aren’t most all of us searching for something? In a world where most everything is discovered, documented, and Googled wouldn’t it be great to make a personal discovery or two?
I’ve never been adverse to working hard and getting dirty. My Pops taught me to run to first base if the pitcher walked me. He used to say, “Always run, run off the field and run on the field.” There is a great scene in the movie Bull Durham about lollygaggers that always makes me think of my Pops. My point (before I wander too far off) is I’m not opposed to the hustle, the grind, or whatever term one uses to describe the drive and determination to see things through to the end.
What bothers me, what I take umbrage with, is the commercialization of the hustle and profiteering off the hard work of others. Think about those coffee shops with their catch phrases and business models that encourage the hustle. Think about those coffee shops and their culture of the third place, the public office space, and the ideal place to study. These coffee shops are there to help you with your hustle, as long as you buy a extra-large with a double shot of your hard earned cash.
I’m all for the hustlers, the grinders, and the go getters out there working toward their goals. I admire and identify with those who are always running, but there are businesses out there who seek to profit off our hard work. Beware of the businesses that ‘encourage’ the hustle simply to make a buck off us in a sideways fashion.
This is an odd time of year, a time of leavings and arrivals. It’s a no man’s land of waiting. The love of Saint Valentine is in the past and the drink of Saint Patrick is in the offing. Winter is casting it’s last shadow and spring is still several sunrises away. Mornings are sweatshirts and evenings are layers.
This is the in between time, done with this but not ready for that. We are finished here but not yet prepared to go there. It is a moment between moments, between love and drink.
Sometimes home is a good meal, and the best meal of the day is breakfast. Breakfast is the one meal that is generally accepted as appropriate at any time of day or night. Waffle House not only cooks up a solid breakfast, but it is also open twenty four hours a day to serve it.
The damn near never closed doors (look up the Waffle House Index on Grandpa Google to see what I mean) welcome the casual diner, the tourist, the end of shift, the slightly inebriated, and anybody else looking for a bit of home away from home. The coffee may not be a fancy blend and the breakfasts aren’t classy but that is partly why Waffle House feels like home, no pretense. Likewise, the people of Waffle House, staff and diners, are not there to pose, posture, or post on the Twit, Book, or Insta (granted there are a few but like most families there is usually one weirdo who shows up at the house).
Waffle House has many features that are attributed to a home (at least the idea of it). It has good food, good people, and there is always a pot of coffee at the ready. It is a place to go to get away from the worries of the outside world. It’s not just a House, it’s a home.
The new year usually brings resolutions, both the standard and the exotic. I think we should continually develop our habits, our views, and our lives, but I’m not as keen on the idea of new year resolutions as I used to be. It’s the word ‘resolution’ that bothers me. A resolution can be viewed as a commitment to a thing and/or as the conclusion to a thing but it doesn’t really convey the action of a thing. Resolutions feel passive. Maybe that’s why so many people (myself included before I changed my viewpoint) give up on them. Where resolutions are passive, taking a chance is active.
Instead of having resolutions let’s take more chances. Taking a chance raises the stakes and adds a sense of adventure. A chance is the beginning of a thing not just a commitment to a thing. Taking a chance requires both a decision and an action. If we follow through on the action it should lead to a conclusion. Resolutions are easy to give up because we don’t have to invest much to make them. When we take a chance we are putting ourselves out there, we are investing time, effort, resources, or something else that we value. Whether you desire the standard or the exotic don’t resolve to obtain it, take a chance and go for it.
Life can be difficult, and sometimes we need a moment or few to ourselves. Sometimes a bit of peace and quiet away from the general difficulties of life can be a respite, a relief, and a requirement if we want to establish some balance and order during these not so normal times. A walk alone can be beneficial in many ways and it is not the same as being lonely (unfortunately some do have difficulty with the distinction between the two).
A walk alone can distance us from the difficult people we often find ourselves dealing with on the daily. A walk alone can make our daily difficulties a little less so. A walk alone can offer perspective and possible solutions. A walk alone is a decision made with care and deliberation. Don’t be afraid to walk alone (we choose to walk alone). It is not the same as being lonely (loneliness chooses us).
I started feeling a strong sense of déjà vu when I began tapping out the title of this post. After a quick look at some of my previous posts, I realized I started this month in much the same vein as I ended November of last year (and now I’m thinking of a William Faulkner quote about how the past is never really past). Before I lose the thread and wander off topic let’s get back to the title and purpose of this post (even if it’s an old topic).
I’ve written about the topics of being alone, loneliness, and solitary confinement at some length in previous posts. This time of year has me thinking about those topics and posts, and I want to send out a friendly message to remind ourselves that this is a difficult time for many of us. The holiday season is difficult enough but combine that with winter weather and all the long term problems associated with the pandemic and there is the possibility of a perfect storms of sorts. The holidays along with the weather and the pandemic can create a solitary confinement (actual and/or psychological) that can be a challenge for the strongest individuals. During this season lets keep an eye, ear, and heart open for each other and make certain that the pressures of this time of year don’t push those we care about too far.
We spend our time at various jobs to make money in order to spend our time somewhere else. We spend time doing one thing so that we can spend time doing something else. Time is one of, if not the, most valuable commodity that we own. It is vital to think about how we earn it and how we spend it.
Individuals and institutions scheme and scramble for our time. They plot and present a wide variety of distractions designed to develop a desire for the novel and a need to conform. The more time we spend on things we don’t want at places we don’t want to be leaves us with less time to bank and more time individuals and institutions have to hold over us. Guard your time. Invest it wisely. Spend your time on what your heart truly desires not on what others try so hard to con you into believing you desire and/or need.
Unfortunately it’s not as cool as that. Time has been on my mind lately and I find myself in the mood to tap out a few lines concerning the people and things that eat up our time like a vampires sucking away our life blood.
More than a fair share of us have whiled away our time on various endeavors and inactions, but if it was time enjoyed then it was not time wasted (I’ve covered this topic in a couple of posts). Choosing how we spend our time is not the same as losing our time to time vampires. Time vampires are those individuals, institutions, and ideologies whose implicit purpose is to drain time from us, to weaken us by taking something we can’t get back, time. Time vampires are those individuals who value their time but show no respect for ours. They are the institutions that demand our time but don’t adequately compensate us for it. Time vampires are all those ideologies we dedicate ourselves to, spend so much time following, only to realize our time was conned away from us like money invested in some well structured pyramid scheme.
Time vampires often appear in the guise of friends, organizations, and causes worthy of our time. These vampires are alluring, but beware of how and who you spend or give your time. Time vampires exist to drain us of one of the few things we can’t get back or get more of, time.