Op-Ed
Published in

Op-Ed

Old and New Values

There’s a sensitive place in my mind that surrounds what I want to do with my life.

I’ve been living in a camper in my grandparents’ backyard for about a year now. Part of me really likes not having to pay rent, utilities, and being cared for; part of me wants to stay in this comfortable space of my elders so that I can learn from their wisdom. Another part of me struggles with the pain of not feeling adequate enough to take care of myself. I long to travel the world but I don’t have my shit together. I wonder if its an excuse to stick around until my grandparents move on to the spirit realm and then the excuse to not go out in the world will be that I have to take care of my parents. Is that wrong? Is that morally right?

We are all facing death and in our different ways. Of course, when I see my grandparents I am reminded how much time I could be given here on Earth. I see what they appreciate about life. They like gambling, they like complaining about shit on the news, and they like good food. I have explored the depths of my inner soul to try to put myself in their place. What would I want to do if I was 81 and in pain? What would I hope to be surrounded by? I’ve learned that I want to be as flexible as possible. My grandparents are stiff and sometimes it even hurts them to get out of bed. I definitely don’t want to have to take pain medicine every day to feel like I can function. Something like a person health regimen is vital for me to establish now so that it is well-ingrained by the time I hit 80 if I’m lucky enough to live so long.

I still enjoy stirring up a lot of change in my life. Even just moving my furniture around allows me to think slightly differently as different pathways are required to scan my surroundings. Living with my grandparents requires that everything is the same everyday. They have a pattern, they have catchphrases, and they have habits that have basically become automatic. I’ve fallen into this with addictions to things like coffee, cigarettes, and this new legal weed. Also, social media is becoming a problem and I think I will soon be taking a detox of all the patterns of behavior I can identify until they are out of my system. There’s this 7 day mental diet by Emmet Fox that Joseph Rodriguez talked about on one of his recent videos.

Back to death, its interesting that we decide to ride out our comfort with patterns. We flip an autopilot switch to remain ever present but as a drone instead of as a dynamic existence. I think the drugs help my grandparents stay in that numb state for sure. I still notice this attempt by them to not seem fucked up on their medicine. When my grandma smokes her weed she still feels like she shouldn’t enjoy being high.

I ask myself if my pleasure comes from life’s little miracles or from discovery? I want to appreciate the time that I have, I want to enjoy the way the smell of flowers lingers in the air, I want to indulge in every bite of a pastry. But when I am sad, I seek out those patterns to pacify me. If I can’t have these things I long for, or even if I can have them, there will be more things to want. What is want but a change? The very second we fulfill our desire, our mind begins thinking of how it will get more.

Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa

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