What Is and Is Not Important

“We’re not all exceptional. But within the scope of our own daily worlds and lives its damn difficult to not let perspectives get shrunken to the immediately relevant. In this minuscule miasm, we begin to over indulge our self importance, which dangerously leads ever towards a point when the real big, ugly world has to punch us in the mouth again to remind us what is and is certainly not important.”

That quote is from Californication. I remember hearing it, assuming an occasion that I’d need to be reminded of that would soon come, and jotting it down as a mnemonic of sorts…

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve now been in Charleston for more than a year. I’ll reiterate: in one town with one job for more than a year. There was a time not long ago when I actively avoided having to say that. Now I came to Charleston exactly for that. There are certainly pros and cons to both ways of life. With stability and community, you at least have a good idea what tomorrow will bring, but having a “daily grind” makes it very easy to become frustrated with objective minutia that only frustrates you and me because we experience it every day, and there’s nothing else left for us to worry about. Traffic, construction, loud neighbors, lack of sleep, rent increases, shipping complications, tardiness, unexpected changes at work, unexpected expenses, paper bills not having clear instructions nor the ability to pay online, institutions you owe bills not being open on weekends and so having to take time out or work hours to deal with. None of these issues are horrible on their own, but when stacked on top of each other all at once, it can seem like you pissed off some higher power and this is the payback.

Its been quite a while since I’ve felt legitimately anger. I mean years. But there was a few different times this week when that boiling, eye twitching feeling returned. Now reclining on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with a three-day weekend, it truly feels silly, and I’m trying to think through what is different now about my life than a year or two years or three years ago that would’ve instigated those feelings. Why has the stability of not moving anywhere, not having any wild life events, not having any objectively significant issues arise, why has the feeling of annoyance and vexation found their way back into my world? Perhaps the answer is hidden in the question.

Once we’re able to stream through the majority of our daily, weekly, monthly lives without dodging any boulderous complications, even smaller pebbles can seem quite bumpy when they arise. Something that I’ve learned through experience is having people on the voyage with you, even if they’re in another vessel not experiencing the same complications as you, it at least helps to be seen and heard and be able to relate to after passing through the rough parts. They offer both perspective and counsel to remind us that the stream is far larger than the one we’ve been exclusively concerned with and there’s a lot more to come. So settle down and take it as it comes.

Whether its consoling us in grief, celebrating with us in joy, or kicking us in the ass when we need to be taken down a notch or two, we all need these people to remind us what is and is not important. Thanks, old man.

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