Maybe the lucky ones are the hidden figures.
… The motto of the philosopher Epicurus, which was taken up by the great essayist Montaigne as well, was lathe biōsas. Live in obscurity. The French saying, Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés: “In order to live happily, live hidden.”
This is not to say you must be poor or a failure. You can still be extraordinary. You just don’t have to be the most extraordinary. You don’t have to strive to beat out all the other broken people, to be the most well-known out of everyone who ever wanted to be known.
Because what is that actually worth in the long run? Do you think you’ll appreciate your fame and money after you die? You think Alexander the Great knows that Alexandria is still standing?
I ran across this post on the Neil Gaiman blog yesterday and I’m quoting it in its entirety, crossing my fingers, hoping Kelton Wright won’t mind.
Her advice exudes big sister authority, kindness and clarity all at once, making me wish I read her when I was hurt and confused.
Anonymous asked: Hey. I am a 29 yr old female who for a slew of reasons happens to be completely inexperienced in matters of love/sex. I only just started dating a month ago and while it's going well, I feel overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy. Like even if something does pan out what could I possibly have to contribute to the relationship? Am I just chasing a pipe dream? Is it too late for me to start looking for love/ sex? Or do I just need to calm the fuck down?
There are approximately 290,000 active commercial airline pilots in the world. Every day, they wake up to whiney kids, sick dogs, aging parents, annoying coworkers, and shitty commutes. Of course they also wake up to great runs, pretty sunrises, home-cooked meals, exotic locations, and trips home. Because they’re people. Normal people, in the grind of life, going to work and going home. And at work, they get to their gate, tick all the boxes, say their polite hellos to their passengers, and move a giant metal fuselage full of strangers 30,000 feet into the air going 500 mph across unexplored oceans of unsurvivable depth.
If someone made you pilot a commercial flight tomorrow, you would have reason to feel overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy because you would literally be inadequate. You would have nothing to contribute to flying because you would have no idea how to fly a plane.
But you do have something to contribute to a relationship, because you do, in fact, know how to be in them. You, despite your not knowing it, have plenty of training. Right now, you’re in a small but very real relationship with me. You’ve come to me with curiosity, vulnerability, and even a dash of humor. I see that vulnerability and am coming back to you with what I hope is kindness and realism. But I don’t know for sure. I can’t know how you’ll receive this message, how you’ll relate to what I’m saying, or what you’ll think of me after. And that, really, is being in a relationship. Putting yourself out there, trying to be your best self, trying to help people, trying to know someone, and knowing that, sometimes despite all of this, sometimes the relationship you’re trying to forge will fail. That is true when we’re 6 on the playground on the monkey bars, it’s true when we’re 16 negotiating curfews and grades, it’s true when we’re 29 interviewing and flirting, it’s true when we’re 43 reassessing our marriages, it’s true forever.
I get that everyone else feels like an airline pilot, navigating skies out of your reach with flexibility and wisdom. But you don’t have to fly a plane to date. You answer a message. You make a joke. You send a text. You get ignored. You turn someone down. You ask someone out. And at whatever speed you’re comfortable with, you remove whatever literal and figurative layers you’re comfortable with.
You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. Everyone feels overwhelmed when approaching something they literally have no idea how to do. That’s OK. But that’s why we learn. That’s why we take our time but also take chances. That’s why flight school exists. That’s why dating blogs and books and movies and websites and everything else exists. So you can learn to date. Because the truth is, even people who’ve been holding hands on the playground since they were 9 can feel overwhelmed by the world of love. We’ve only written an infinite amount of story around the subject. You could say almost every single human is undone, overcome, and indeed overwhelmed by love and all its facets. And that’s OK. But inadequate? A pipe dream? Too late?
No. Too late is when you’re dead. Show yourself a little forgiveness. Because what you’ve shown me isn’t inadequacy, it’s hope. And really, that’s all you need.
As I was reading David Suchet’s memoirs of his awesome Poirot run, I ran across this awesome Agatha Christie quote, echoing Stephen Pressfield (or actually presaging him …) on turning pro and doing the work.
That was the moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional.
I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.
All that matters, is persistence, slowly inching your way towards your goal; doing the work even when it’s hard and you don’t want to.
(My toast at Nuts’ communion reception on the 3rd of January, 2016 … posted for posterity)
Good Evening to all you warm folks …
and a Happy New Year!
That gorgeous girl (sorry not this one – that one) over there is my wife of four years :)
She is Natanya’s much, older cousin :)
Which is how I met Natanya four years ago.
I wanted her to be my flower girl, but when I saw her, it was love at first sight and I asked her to marry me instead!
She very wisely, and very selflessly, asked me to marry Abby and walked us down the aisle along with her handsome brother, Joshua.
She was 4, turning 5 then.
At age 6, she saw her favorite uncle (that’s me), getting fat and so she volunteered to teach me Yoga.
She has helped me stay in shape ever since :)
At age 7, she taught me how to sing my heart out, because she thought I had a nice voice!
So now, nobody beats me at singing “Beautiful Sunday” on karaoke, other than the equally talented Tanya
When Natanya was 8, last October, her Abbygail Aunty fell really, really sick.
I had to take her to a big old hospital in Mangalore for a big operation.
And it was big.
And it was long.
And it took 7 whole hours.
And then, after all that, the doctor said, it was going to take a long, long while before she got well again.
There I was alone, nervous, scared and praying really hard.
And then Natanya (through her daddy) sends me letters.
One, for every day we were there.
- How is Abbygail Aunty?
- I really miss you.
- I really, really, really, really, love you.
- And just to make sure, that her dumb uncle understood, she drew a heart and explained that, that was the symbol of love; she drew a small sad face crying, and said that that was the symbol of missing some one.
Comforting messages, letters of hope, written by a child who did not ostensibly know any better.
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength …
goes Psalm 8:2
And that was when I knew, all would be well.
That was how Jesus comforted us, and took care of both of us, and got us here today.
So you see Natanya, Jesus has always been there inside you, guiding you.
And today is when He makes His presence felt, to you and all of us,through the Eucharist that you received this morning.
So, on this special day, I have no special advice; just a small reminder.
To do for everybody, what you have always done for me.
To do what Jesus says with his commandment.
Love one another, as I have loved you.
To love, like you always have.
Everytime we meet, you make me a better person.
- Through your kind words,
- through your concern,
- through your little pieces of advice,
- and through your big, big, smile!
So with Jesus’ help, leave every one you meet everyday, a little better than you found them.
It’s been two months since we checked you in.
Four, since we figured out what was eating you alive.
A year and two months, since we started battling it.
You’ve been so brave, through it all!
Through scans and needles and burning meds
Sleepless nights, and broken muscles, and
A lost voice, unable to eat, to speak
And even though you’re tired,
I’m so glad we made it through.
Time to soldier on.
Time to pick up the pieces of our life.
Time to start again…
I love you, wife!
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”