I don’t have anything to complain about right now. Things have mostly gone my way, all things considered. If I were to say that someone up there wasn’t looking out for me, I’d probably be lying. There are a lot of people who would probably just say I’m privileged, but I do think I’m blessed. I have accepted gifts and blessings when they are bestowed upon me, even if at times I’ve wrestled with the idea of being overly privileged and spoiled and incapable of ever paying back the universe for my gifts. I try to give to a lot of charities–human rights, the arts, animals, etc. but I know that I don’t give enough. My giving is sporadic–I give when I am compelled to give and I don’t give when I am compelled to use my money to gratify my base desires…ie, drinking and eating too much fancy stuff for lunch.
I own a nice home in Austin, in a nice neighborhood that feeds into good schools. I have accepted a very nice offer from a big company and my previous employer did pay me pretty well. My family is healthy–we have dodged a lot of things I see other families go through. Sure, we’ve had our share of sicknesses and even a visit or two to the hospital, but our problems have been pretty minimal. There is nothing to complain about.
This makes writing rather boring and perfunctory. I keep a log of what is happening in life, and that’s about it. There is no great drama, tragedy or spectacularly fantastic good stuff, either. No winning the lottery or fame and widespread recognition.
In the history of humanity, no one has ever had so much access to entertainment and knowledge as I do and others who share my privileged position in society. I can listen to just about any music I want to for free or nearly so–a ten dollar a month subscription beats spending hundreds on CDs every month any day of the week.
I dare say that such a privileged position and life of advantages may not come again for many people in decades to come. Unless the world takes drastic measures to curb overpopulation and pollution, my kids and grandkids won’t live in a world that is quite as awesome as the one I inhabit. I get it, I am sitting here writing about these things and doing next to nothing to effect change. I have mostly lost faith in my own ability to effect change upon others. I feel like I have the power to influence a few individuals and help them succeed, but the power to change governments, laws and corporations is completely beyond me. In many ways, I relate to the Tang poets and poets of other Chinese eras who wrote from vantage points of being appointed to posts and having some means but were mostly cogs in the machines of their day.
It seems ridiculous to spend so much time speculating on the future, anyway. The way things change with governments and societies, it is impossible to predict whether or not things will be really bad or really great. People from the U.S. today will go to Vietnam and do business with factory owners to produce things that they import. Who could have imagined this some forty years ago? Who would have dreamed up a Russia like Putin’s during the early nineties? For sure, someone probably predicted that these things would happen–someone will always get one or two things right about the future and get so many other things wrong, and it’s those one or two correct predictions that the person likes to remind you about.
But, I know for a fact I’ve been wrong about the future many times over. I was wrong about Bush turning the White House into his personal dynasty and ruining the country for good. I was wrong about the people of my country being dumb enough to put Trump into office. I was wrong about the economy being unable to recover during Obama’s tenure. I was wrong so many times over about the direction my career would take or who I would end up married to.
Sitting here and trying to stay in the moment without worrying about the future or ruminating about the past is an almost impossible task. It is one that requires a great amount of discipline that I don’t really seem to have. Sure, I’ve had recent insights about just how much I am in charge of my own emotions and cravings and inner things. While I may not have any control over what happens with Donald Trump, I do have immediate and ever-present control over whether I will react to any given thing in anger or let it slide. I have complete control over whether I will have a few beers or drink until I am drunk. There is complete and utter power given to me here, and I tend to pivot and deflect it into other things and other people of which I have absolutely no control.