Life and How to Live It

It’s the End of the World and I Feel Fine

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise
, Eternity

It’s and I am home while Jenny works at Soapy Gnome. feels like most others except for the sense of standing on a cliff, staring at the gaping chasm where my employer’s work often resides.

In my twenties I stated that I am not defined by work. , however, I feel that without work I am near incorporeal, a ghost-like shell waiting for my next day’s toil. I love and enjoy my job, pouring myself into it. However I am missing the non-work aspects.

In other years, I’d write with pen and paper. But these days, my computer is my place of creation and exploration. I write and hack; idling away hours. “As if one could kill time without injuring eternity.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

Often with not much specific in mind. Not quite true; I’m almost always thinking about writing and thinking. Perhaps this is Burnout 📖; a gas-lighting phrase to project systemic pressures as personal failures. But I suspect this is something else. It was not burnout but long un-addressed anxiety. Something which I’m now actively managing.

I live a comfortable life; with income that exceeds my expenses. Yet I’m missing something; perhaps slow travel or bird song or sunrises and snowfall. I feel the aches and pains of that which was but is since gone; both of place and of stories told but now fading echoes within my mind.

Stories. How to read and how to tell. I dive into books of all genres seeking my friends. To find those separated by time and space yet together in loom and yarn.

I read in my journal from a passage that I echoes ; the gist was that prior to my divorce I was spending a lot of time not dying but forgot to start living. And for a while, with a pandemic in the foreground and climate catastrophe as the stage, I have been not dying. Yet living was out of my focus. I feel an awareness and knowledge of the ever cascading stakes of a world in sepsis.

As I write this, I think to R.E.M.’s Life and How to Live It:

Burn bright through the night, two pockets lead the way
Two doors to go between the wall was raised today
Two doors, two names to call your others and your own
Keep these books well stocked away and take your happy home

A song about a man from Athens Georgia who had a house built with two apartments; he’d live in one apartment until he grew tired of that space and then would live in the other apartment. There is nothing epic about this story but instead mundane and probing that prosaism. Prosaic. I first encountered that word in a Role Playing Game 📖 supplement: Spell Users Companion for Rolemaster 📖.

My children are all scattered as fledglings on the wind. Life, once focused on the routines of raising children, now feels adrift. A ship that has unloaded and left harbor and docks, now afloat and empty. Where travels an unladen vessel?

I feel certain that I must revel in the poetry of birdsong, adult children, the clench of winter’s grasp; of brisk walks and hot tea. Of blankets and books and listening to dreams. Poetry: the art of apprehending and interpreting ideas by the faculty of imagination; the art of idealizing in thought and in expression.

To remember that “productivity”; or the act of doing is in tension with being. To be or to do; the capitalist would say doing is being. But we know better. Life and how we live it is the temporal weaving of gains and losses, sorrows and joys.


writing the above, I have stopped playing online RPGs. I found that my hours working remote—pairing on problems—provided the same sensation.

Instead, I’ve ritualized getting together with a friend I met in the late summer of . Every Thursday, Brandon and I gather for a night of food, drinks, and conversation. We usually spend about 6 hours talking; sometimes with other folk but often amongst ourselves.

What do we talk about? Tom Petty, The Lord of the Rings 📖, Emacs, software development, travel, books we’re reading, William Blake, home renovation, dogs, theater, our general disdain for bar trivia, Indigo Girls, and anything in between or beyond.

For much of through I mostly physically interacted with my wife, step-daughter, and on occasion my parents. I had greatly compressed my circle of people. And now having a dear friend and conversation buddy means the world to me.