Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Really Matters

Long board meeting last night. My own fears and ambitions collide. Questions at home. Questions at work. Time to write? Make art? Call my friend? Send that birthday/condolence/congrats card? Call my other friend? Talk to people? Be silent?

Then I hear that a woman I know—and admire/envy/am impressed by/like—has had a brain aneurism. She’s in ICU. She is a year younger than me.

What really matters?

In early recovery what matters is getting out of trouble. The trouble might be at home or at work or financial or social. You are on the brink of getting fired or divorced or more depressed or in some kind of inner or outer trouble. You find AA and what really matters is getting sober.

A few years into recovery life happens and it gets easier, then harder, then easier—then you realize it’s neither of those. It’s simply life and what matters is staying sober and refining your use of the skills—practical skills, emotional skills and our tool kit of spiritual skills. You are living life on life’s terms—sometimes. Mostly. Except when you’re not.

What really matters?

Still later in recovery—into the woods and heading out again—you have gone back to school, remarried, had another baby, adopted a child, gotten fired for real this time, changed careers, decided you are gay or straight or male, gone to Italy/Paris/Africa alone, had someone you love die, watched a friend die, aged.

What really matters?

If you are Miss Congeniality or a Playboy centerfold you might say: the end of racism or world peace. Fine, good, but let’s set that aside. After world peace and a cure for cancer (way overrated by the way—if we cure cancer you get to die of really horrible stuff) what really matters to you? Family yes. Another given. But after that: What really matters?

This is my question today as I walk the hill near my house and as I think about my former colleague in ICU. How will I use this 24 hours of mine. What is worth worrying about? The frustration of knowing that the “right” answer is “not much” but even at that I’ll still worry today. So my mantra while walking, dressing, fantasizing about the perfect handbag and making another to-do list is this: What really matters?


Marion Roach Smith said...

Such a good question, mantra, meditation. Thank you for posing it to us all.

Unknown said...

Glad you settled on writing as one of the things that really matter. For me, this morning, it was planting lettuce seeds before the rain came. By the way, my word verification word this morning is penic, hummmm