Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Collapse, A Passing, And The End of Things

(First things first - no post from Seneca (directly) this week.  My apologies as the week has taken turns I did not anticipate.)

One of the surprising things about life to me is that sometimes it imitates art; sometimes, that imitation even seems to precede life itself.

That is a bit of a ridiculous statement to me of course; the idea that somehow art (in my case, fiction) can somehow precede an actual change in life or events is the sort of thing of mystical fantasy, whereby the combination of unique ingredients and the summoning of An Other from The Outer Planes results in small glimpses into the future.

And yet, here we are.

Attentive folks have commented on the fact that Seneca seems to have undergone a change, sometime between setting out for what will go down in whatever annals of history are to be kept as The Battle of McAdams.  It is not a hard thing to write, of course; literature and history are replete with the experiences of those that went out to war and what they were like when the return (Note:  The 1920's called, and they are looking for their Lost Generation).  There are events which change us - and not all bad of course: something as benign as marriage or the birth of a child or graduating with a degree can suddenly set a different course.

When I had accepted the new job (was it only a week ago), my reasoning was sound at the time:  not only did I need a job (big one there), this was a job that had a good package associated with it and the potential for growth and even to end my career there.  It also had the benefit of being much closer to The Ranch and my mother.  The ability to be able to get down to see her had become a a very motivating factor - so motivating, in fact, that I surrendered another job option for it.

Ah, the difference of a week.

Since Monday, I have been re-asking myself the question "Did I really make the right choice?"  It is a fair question, perhaps, given that somehow one of the major things underlying that decision has changed and the decision itself has had its own series of impacts.

It is like this when one moves:  the decision to move is rapidly overtaken by a series of tasks that needs to be accomplished.  It is also overtaken by the fact that streams start to shut down, like bodily systems slowly closing out their appointed tasks on their way to death.

That is happening here of course:  end dates of things that I do here are counting down like clockwork.  The last day of coffee bar at Church is this Sunday, as well as the last formal day at the Rabbit Shelter.  The last day of Produce (A)Isle is the following Thursday, followed by the last Iaijutsu training and a departure lunch.    I leave the next day to go to The Ranch to do a quick sweep and meet with the lawyer about the estate.  

On Thursday, I leave for what is effectively a new life.

It is not a new life all at once, of course; these things never are.  But the locus of attention will have shifted. "New Home" is a place that I may still go back to and visit more frequently at first, but those visits will likely taper off as things move on.  As life, really, moves on.

On the one hand of course, it is a great End.  On the other hand, of course, it is a great Beginning.

It is a great Beginning because effectively, I get to re-create a life from scratch. Yes, there is a dojo there in my style and I will train.  Yes, there are rabbits shelters and I will inevitably find one and volunteer.  But both of those likely will be different days and times and probably involve less time overall. 

While certainly it is a not a "Everything burned to the ground and we are starting over", it is somewhat of a "Choose your own adventure" sort of moment.

Or, having seen a major change, everything downstream now changes.

Seneca, perhaps, is on to something.


  1. "Or, having seen a major change, everything downstream now changes."

    WORD. Life is linear.

    2. progressing from one stage to another in a single series of steps; sequential:
    "a linear narrative"

    We may ponder and fret about side trips here and yon but dithering just puts punctuation on the narrative of our lives. Wasting time about things past and gone just destroys the most important thing in our lives. TIME.

    FOMO or Fear of missing out is the angst of our era.

    Was going to edit Heinlein's quote to the time thief part but that seemed improper. The whole is often more than the parts. That *might* apply to your major course correction friend.

    “Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
    But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please—this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more!
    So learn to say No—and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
    (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

    1. Michael - You keep making me need to go back and re-read the Heinleins I have, or get the others I have not. (As an aside, given the turgid crop of what passes for fiction these days, we forget that such clear writing actually existed and was indeed common place once upon a time).

      The question is more of a passing one; the die has been cast in this particularly event and any decision to the contrary now implements monetary penalties (repaying the relocation package and so on). That said, even if I had the opportunity to undo the choice, I would not. In some things I am very firm; giving my word about taking a job is one of them, even if something "better" comes along immediately after.

      In some ways this makes things clearer than before. Sure, is there always a chance that we might end up back here? Possibly - but even then, "here" would not be the same as it was. The golden memories of any time or place are simply that: memories, mellowed by age and time with much of the tedious and painful nature forgotten or carefully put out of mind.

      Best, as you suggest, to face the future bravely, knowing that we still have time and much to accomplish.

  2. Anonymous6:34 AM

    “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans.” - John Lennon.

    That really says it all. We attempt to plot a course of action and then the Battlefield changes to a completely different set of circumstances. What did not exist before is now a given and what was a permanent feature is now gone.

    1. Anon - It really is. Had you asked me a year ago on either 28 February or 01 March (this year being a leap year, of course) I would have completely believed my life would have been as it had been for the past three: a major work project was successfully completed which should (in theory) have led to some level of continued employment, activities the same as they had always been, and almost a sort of "ordinary" existence as had been before.

      Which is probably good for me. I often complain about ruts; sometimes one has to be forced out of them.

  3. Nylon126:45 AM

    Huh, in Deep Space Nine the inhabitants of the wormhole were always calling humans "linear"...the episode last night on the H & I network had them saying that. Choosing the job offer you did was because of more than one reason, the passing of your Mother was just one reason albeit a major one. Yet her absence doesn't negate the other reasons you had for choosing this job offer. Not belittling the death of your Mom TB, the deaths of my parents nine and seven years were...... ah....significant. Seneca is indeed onto something.

    1. Nylon12, I think Deep Space Nine remains my favorite "successor" series to the Original Star Trek. Except for some silliness in the last season, it was a solidly written show with excellent characters and some real ethical dilemmas that were not easily solved.

      Humans are sadly linear in that sense, because we can only move through time in one direction, one second at a time.

      I had told my Sensei as returned from Japan only about three weeks ago (or a lifetime ago - who knows) that another position in New Home would likely be the best for us overall. And then within two weeks, I completely change tack based on an offer I did not really expect and having visited with my mother. And then one week later, an underlying reason for that decision is suddenly gone.

      "An underlying reason". Not the only one, which is something I have to remind myself of. There are other perfectly solid reasons for making the choice - including, frankly, shaking up the "rut" we have gotten into just by being in the same place, doing the same thing.

      It is odd, Nylon12. Even with the death of my father and now mother, there is a surreality to it; they were "gone" some years before they finally passed, so in some ways I was perhaps used to them as memories, not as the active parties they had been in my life previously. I am sure that will change as events continue to move forward - would that even now, I could call my father and talk about the job change.

  4. I try not to question my decisions when circumstances change beyond my control. I look at it as a meant-to-be situation and whether I'm always looking through rose colored glasses or I've lucked out, I've always felt when looking back, the decision was always the correct one regardless of how I felt at the time.

    1. Ed, I think for me it is not so much a question as it is realizing things are a funny set of coincidences: a decision to take a job which had as a factor being closer to my mother, followed by notification of a job opening here in New Home on a Sunday, followed by her death on a Monday. It smacks a bit too much of a series of events almost guaranteed to change the course of my life even more so that I had thought, and done is such a way that the bridge - although very politely and carefully razed to the ground - is still razed; realistically there is no walking back the decision.

      Almost as if it were intended that this was the way we should go.

  5. My Christian faith tells me to trust in events that seem contradictory to my perception; regardless of my intent. At those times, I seek guidance, peace of mind, and wonder what will be revealed in my future. They are tough times, but I never feel God is playing a grand joke at my behalf, or punishing me for some past transgression. I accept his will and haven't been disappointed by what happens.

    1. Jess - I never feel that God is playing a grand joke on me, although I have to admit that sometimes I do feel a sense of gentle amusement when the very thing I try to not do or avoid is the very thing that must be done. God will ultimately not be thwarted; our attempts to so must often be annoying, but perhaps humorous at times as well.

  6. Starting a new adventure sounds exciting,TB. You have a great attitude, and your description of it all is terrific. It will be a pleasure to follow along as you discover your new life.

    1. Thanks Becki! It will be an adventure for sure - as it turns out, we realized that we are effectively doing a "reverse empty nest" by leaving the kids with the house and striking out on our own.


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