Monday, December 31, 2012

TAKING STOCK


Another year has run it course and had it way with us, and is speedily trickling away. The bottom-line bean-counter types say now is the time to tally up. Make an honest assessment of the situation. Add the pluses, subtract the minuses. Get a perspective on your personal progress. 

Hmmm. Well, why not? I've never listened much to such folks, but you never know…for once they could be onto something. I'll have a go.

Let's see…

I'm no richer. No wiser. Nor a whit more talented. 

[Excuse me a minute, I have to go down the hall to check this out.………………Okay, I'm back.]

Nope, I looked in the mirror. No better looking, either. Didn't think so. Just the same old mug. Dang!

I am a birthday older—but I quit counting that as a positive once I'd turned 21.

On the other hand, I'm still on the sky side of the grass, which in my book is the positive that trumps everything. Moreover, I don't yet need to wear adult diapers, can clip my own toenails, and regularly feed myself soup from a spoon without dribbling any more on my shirt than I did at age 21…even less, in fact, because I now often do the wash and know how difficult is to get those greasy spots out of cotton fabric, so I'm more careful eating.     

I also know God, Myladylove, my daughter, and Moon-the-Dog all love me, in spite of my countless faults—and I truly love them all right back with all my heart.

And speaking of hearts, my own received a new metronome this May which has made a world of difference—starting with the obvious fact I'm still here to witness another passage from one year to the next. For that I'm grateful beyond words.

Though I won't bore you with their itemization, let me just finish by saying my 2012 personal checklist is simply awash with positives, overflowing with good stuff, bounteous with blessings. And that handful of "didn't get" negatives are too few and too unimportant to be worth thinking about.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

24 comments:

AfromTO said...

May I presume to add to your list-there are a heck of a lot of people out here who like you a lot too.(in spite of your faults)Happy New Year and I wish you many more adventures in the great outdoors. Thanks for letting us see a small glimpse of your adventures.

George said...

You're a lucky man, Grizz, or at least a man whose luck has intersected with good intentions. Happy New Year to you and all of your crew. I look forward to the creations that will emerge from the riverbank in 2013.

Bonnie said...

You set the best example for us all, Grizz. A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours.

Rowan said...

Happy New Year Grizz! Like you my life has far more positives than negatives and I'm grateful for this. As you so rightly say being the of the grass is definitely one of the really big positives:)

Jain said...

“the sky side of the grass,” heh heh. Your readers love you, too, Grizz! Happy new year to you and yours!

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

(Sorry for the slow response. Following our long-after-midnight evening, I finally dragged myself out of bed. Geesh!)

Thank you for both presuming and liking; I like y'all, too. In spite of the fact blogging can become an occasional chore, plus I often think I have nothing of interest to say, I enjoy blathering and sharing photos immensely; wouldn't do it if I didn't. More than anything, I enjoy my readers and responding to their comments. That you accept me, faults and all, and keep visiting, is both humbling and amazing. And I'm being absolutely honest in saying that—naïve, presumptuous, or not—I view you as friends.

So, again, thank you. And a most happy New Year!

Grizz………… said...

George…

Thank you, my friend. I love that observation, "you're a lucky man, or at least a man whose luck has intersected with good intentions." Though I can't say which is precisely the case, it is nevertheless true. I have been both lucky and blessed. While there are many things in my life I'd change or do differently if given the chance, I have only a few regrets…and those are all because I broke my own code, failed and disappointed myself by not speaking up, played it safe, failed to do the right thing. It's those wounds you give yourself that haunt you forever, and I wish with all my heart I could go back and set them right.

I do have plans for Riverdaze version 2013. Guess we'll see how I do, and whether or not you enjoy it. In the meantime…happy New Year!

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Oh, my! I'm certainly flattered by such a thought, but I know myself too well to seriously believe I'm much of a positive example. I'm too moody, too whiny, and too lazy.

The best I do is try and always be honest and follow the Golden Rule in every aspect of my life. I love people and love sharing. But I want to be genuine, even when blogging, and have made no attempt whatsoever to create an online persona. What you see (read) is what you get. Me.

I expect I'm too Irish, too fun-loving, to remain either earnest or attempt to come off as profound. The tag-line at the bottom of my business letterhead reads: "When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing." I'm not a quitter; if anything, I'm too bullheaded for my own good. But I do practice the art of angling interruptus…when life gets too heavy, I grab a fly rod and putter along a stream for awhile, hoping time spent with fish and birds and bullfrogs will somehow help me sort things out. See what I mean about not being a positive example?

However, I accept your lovely comments for the heart of their meaning. Thank you so much. And know I've missed you comments here, and am glad you visited. You are always, always welcome. Happy New Year!

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

Yup. Whenever I get to feeling sorry for myself—which is more often than I want to admit—I run a quick balance sheet of positives and negatives. It takes maybe ten seconds to see the former outnumbers the latter by maybe twenty-to-one. At least! And the answer to "which side of the grass are you on" flat trumps them all!

Happy New Year!

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

I love my readers, too! Readers are what makes this blog fun and worthwhile—because I'm sure I get more out of Riverdaze than anyone.

Hey, BTW, snow trilliums in, ummmm, 10 weeks!

Happy New Year!

The Weaver of Grass said...

You say it all Grizz - positivity (if there is such a word) is what it is all about. Happy New Year to you.

giggles said...

Very well said.... (I'll work on being that positive in 2013!)

Happy New Year to you and yours!! Best wishes!

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - great post - really great. I love your honest self reflection and positive feedback - to and about yourself! Perfect. I agree with every word - I think the world of you for all your reasons and so much more. And Grizz, please go and see my last post with the pictures of our new bungalow-home. I need you to stop by to complete the new beginning. k? Happy New Year my friend
Love and high regard
Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

"Positivity"—and if there isn't such a word, we'll just invent and christen it via usage—pretty much sums up my outlook toward life. I don't get to select everything that happens, all the events that come my way…but I can choose my attitude. Sometimes it hard to see the good, the positive, in things; and sometimes, it may not exist. But usually, there's at least some degree of good by comparison of how much worse it could have been—i.e., if I fall off my horse, at least I didn't land on a cactus, or if I did land on a cactus, at least the spine were short, or if the were long, at least…

You understand. And this "looking beyond" the moment is occasionally all that gets me through a situation. Hope is that little light at the end of the tunnel…and with hope comes faith…and with faith comes strength…and with strength comes endurance…and with endurance comes survival.

I practice positivity just to survive.

Happy New Year.

Grizz………… said...

Giggles…

Perception is reality. Really, have faith. Way easier said than done, I know—and I certainly don't manage all the time. But I try and try and try, even when I'm scared to death. I know you; you are not lacking in courage. My dear departed pal Frank used to say it takes courage to live. Every year I better and more personally understand the depth of wisdom in those words.

Happy New Year!

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Happy New Year to you and yours. I saw you'd made the move…and I'll do my best to stop by your blog for a visit today, though it will be later on as we're working and cooking and into all sorts of tasks and chores. But I'll get there, never fear. In the meantime, be good, have fun, and press forward; 2013 is here like a brand new road to explore and enjoy.

KGMom said...

Happy New Year to you and all you love.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

Good to hear from you. I trust your holidays went well, that recent snows haven't proven a problem, and the year ahead proves one to savor. Happy New Year!

Bonnie said...

The problem with commenting is that the receiver of the comment cannot hear the tone or lilt of it. I, too, am totally sincere - as I know you are - and there is no insinuation between the letters that you are anything but authentic. I do think you are a wonderful example of how to embrace life and all it brings ... despite your protests. :)

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Please don't believe for a moment that I thought you were insinuating anything. I didn't. I've read too much from you, here and on your blogs, to ever harbor such a notion. And if I may be permitted to say so, I think I know you, understand your heart and the kind of person you are.

No, I took your words at face value, sincere and honest, exactly as written. I was simply reacting in kind…being truthful in saying I can't see myself as being a good example at handling life.

I had wonderful parents. What little I know about embracing life I learned from them. I do know you have to take what you're given on a day-by-day basis and make the best of things. And I know attitude is a choice. But God knows I worry and fret and struggle—and sometimes fail. And after the ranting and crying, the tears and anger, and duly licking my wounds, I get up. Not because I'm strong or wise, but because I've learned every day I carry those negative emotions inside me, I'm so very much weaker. Negativity eats away at your insides; it robs you of will and hope. And I regularly need every ounce of hope and strength and courage I can muster to survive.

We can all be broken, Bonnie…as I know you know, both professionally and personally. I've had my life shattered. I put myself back together, reassembled the pieces, but I've never been quite the same. So I'm not just being humble. I see all that's lacking, all the missing parts—the me I wish I were.

But please know, I always value your words—and friendship. It's me I have doubts about.

Bonnie said...

What a generous response to my concern, Grizz. Thank you.

What was it Hemingway said - something like - "the world breaks everyone and after some of us are stronger at the broken places"?

So true that we all break, fall, struggle, wail and then somehow find the way and the strength to put ourselves back together and keep going - just as you have described.

It's heart-warming to interact with someone who claims not to be perfect, but rather to be whole, real, at times fragile, at times incomplete, and therefore, gloriously human.

(Wonder what your inner comfort level might be, and if the struggle to survive would lessen if you chose to unconditionally love and accept yourself just as you are? It's the most healing of gifts - and one we can give ourselves. A gift, to my mind, you richly deserve.)

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Much as I admire Hemingway—and for a long time, he was not only my favorite writer and stylist, but also something of a literary hero—I would point out that Papa didn't end so well, in spite of his insight. And I think the flaw is this: that breaking and mending can make us stronger at those previously weak joints, at the shattered places…but the glue we must use to make such repairs hardens, rendering us stiffer, less flexible, unable to bow before the winds. In the end, I believe it was such unaccommodating strength that got to Hemingway.

But I understand exactly. In a way, I think such an attitude, such a philosophy, is a personality prerequisite for becoming a writer…at least a certain type of writer. And I'm talking good writers, not merely capable writers or dilettantes. You have to be independent, self-assured, a self-starter, a loner, and bullheaded to the umpth degree. You also have to have the creative talent, and the willingness to reach inside and tear at that gift until you bleed…and keep tearing and bleeding every single day, regardless of success.

So I'm not saying Hemingway was exactly wrong, because I know where that comes from; but I also don't want to be that closed off, that tough, that in love with myself. I don't want to cure personal pain at the cost of losing compassion. I do understand and accept myself, flaws and all, and I forgive myself (mostly) for my mistakes; I even like myself most of the time. I have joy and wonder and peace in my life. I'm usually happy. But I don't think I can ever unconditionally love myself—at least I don't know how that's possible or how to do it.

Does any of this make sense?

Bonnie said...

You always make sense, Grizz - that and your way with words make you such a pleasure to read.

I hear what you say about Hemingway - Papa - however, he did qualify his statement with the word 'some' - perhaps knowing that in the end he, himself, would not be strong enough to bear his own pain. Seems to me that all his bravado was to cover a very fragile and alien (to himself) inner core.

Perhaps his defenses against really experiencing his own pain and the crutches he used (such as alcohol) prevented him from doing the hard inner work that could have eventually assuaged, even repaired, his wounds.

And if he (we) could only use love (including self-love, compassion and acceptance for self) as the 'glue' to mend the broken pieces, he/we would have the flexibility and resilience to cope with the existential givens of life.

I agree he was overly 'in love' with himself - narcissistic actually - a defense to mask extreme feelings of inadequacy, and we must not confuse that with loving acceptance of self.

We can get caught up in words and meanings here - suffice it to say that having joy, wonder and peace in your life you have achieved much more than poor Papa did with his personal life.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

I expect you are quite right in all aspects of your assessment of Hemingway. I've collected and read an awful lot of stuff about him, by those who knew him best. I've bumped into a few people over the years who knew him, who fished and hunted with him in Cuba, Idaho, Michigan, Spain, France, and Africa, and others who corresponded with him. I spent some time in Cuba, on angling assignments, and made it a point to visit the places he lived and hung out. My governmental liaison was a fellow who knew him quite well and is mentioned in a several books.

Bottom line (my assessment) Hemingway was a very complicated man, fragile, frightened, conflicted in many ways, immensely talented, narcissistic, probably alcoholic, filled with regrets and no small measure of shame. He could be great fun, and an excellent and loyal friend when he chose to be—and simply awful when the mood struck. In many respects he was a six year old boy who could write like an angel—handsome as any movie star, and an artist whose psyche was inextricably interwoven with his gifts. When age, illness, injury, and perhaps karma robbed him of that which defined, in his eye, his manhood and true worth, he found only intolerable emptiness ahead.

Frankly, the more I got to know about him, the less I thought him a man I could have liked. Which takes nothing from his literary capabilities, mind you. Yet for all his fame and deserved and lasting literary legacy, I would not want to be Hemingway. There are things in my life I'd like to improve, but I've found a balance point that seems to work most of the time. I know what I want and who I want to be…and most of those goals are 180 degrees from Papa's pathway.