Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Except Accept: A Journey Indeed

My latest philosophy—and I can say “my” with some assurance, as I have not read any self help books lately and haven’t had the benefit of therapy—is that the less you (I) fight against reality, the happier you (I) will be. Anyone smell overtones of “Que Sera Sera” here? Or the whole “..to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” OK, so many some self-help ideologies linger.

This concept can apply to 17 different areas of my life, but here’s a case in point: I mentioned this a few blogs back (study up; there will be a quiz): I really miss my niece and nephew, who have relocated, without my written consent, to China. Just thinking about them now is making me cry. I think about them every day and lament their leaving and mourn the distance and get frustrated with the time difference challenges and wish they would come back. I am wistful for the days when they lived a mere ten miles (or, 40 minutes, in NY driving time) from me. I torture myself by recalling specific memories. In other words, I have done pretty much everything… except accept.

What I should be doing is focusing my energies on care packages and hopefully Camp Cousin this summer, when they return for a while, and Skpe calls, which are all destined to be at awful and inconvenient times. That is what I should be doing. I should be striving to make sure that my children maintain a connection with them, their cousins. I should accept the fact that this seemingly sudden and drastic move across the WORLD is one of life’s latest little twists, and there is nothing I can do to change it. But I can accept it. Settle down, and settle.

Which brings me to settling into that acceptance. I love the duality of the verb “to settle.” Forget duality, there are actually almost twenty accepted definitions of this verb. One definition means to come to rest, to adjust to something. To become calm. Settle down. Settle on the couch with a good book. Settle in for a long winter’s nap. There are slight variations there, but they hover near enough the same concept, around the same core. And then there’s “to settle,” as in to settle for something. As in accepting something even though it is not the best and not what you (I) want. Accept something in spite of incomplete satisfaction. Settle for less than perfect. Amazing how one word can span such two (or twenty…) disparate ideas.

“Settled” brings to mind such a peaceful feeling. “Settling” makes me want to fight. In this particular situation, I am settled and settling for. I am doing both. The one-two punch. I am trying now to accept this situation, and stop the runaway thought train of “If only…” and “why can’t…” and “If maybe just…”. But I am also aware that this cross-world paradigm is not MY preference, that I am trying to accept it, in spite of incomplete satisfaction.

So I am trying to let these two definitions marry into one psychologically strong concept. I can be settling for something (unsatisified), and still feel settled (satisified). A paradox, no? And I can take that excess “energy” in the awful, damaging forms of torment, sadness, anger and frustration and put them to better use. Like sending my niece a birthday present (which is in two days….)

Next up, Redundant vs. tautological: What’s the Difference?” Just kidding. Maybe.

Pictured above, Leif, Skye. Not only to I love them three days past forever, I love their names.


K J and the kids said...

I like the direction you're going :)
I hope that summer comes and Camp Jennifer becomes the greatest place on earth.

H2 said...

"Settling" makes me want to fight too. I hate the thought. But I like that you've verbalized the differences. That is a VERY large move. I'm sorry for the loss of a close in proximity family. :(

Jeannine said...

As usual, so well written and insightful. Reminded me of the late William Safire a bit - miss his column.