Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It is my birthday

It is my birthday, and I have outlived my dad. That's not a comfortable feeling, being older than my dad ever was. Many people have experienced that, and some at too young an age for comfort, but for me, my dad has been gone half my life, which isn't too bad at the age of 54. He didn't get to meet Kirby, who was named for him, though, nor other grandkids. My dad's name was Kirby Adams.

So I'm cleaning my house because people are coming over to play Encore this afternoon and evening. I'm starting at 4:00 so that Kirby Dodd can come over before he goes to work. And also so my friend Jon can come over before he goes to a super secret meeting of the Order of the Water Buffalo or some modern-age equivalent.

So I'm cleaning and thinking about changing the world. I'm not thinking "I need to change the world," I'm musing on what kinds of things change the world. And the thoughts flitting up and around are from discussions last week on an SCA online e-mail list about children's activities in the SCA, and about a friend who plans to do something to change the world, and about people who have changed the world by assassinating some president or Beatle or something.

The world can't help but change. If it's alive, it's changing, many would have said as I was growing up, but even if it's dead it's changing, as the girlfriend of a now-assassinated Beatle once showed by displaying fruit as it dried up and changed form every day, every moment. I'm not sure fruit qualifies as "dead," but it's not alive, either, an apple on a pillar in an art museum.

And so here's what I think: If by "change the world" a person means "make the world better," then step #1 must be to decide right then not to make the world worse.

Accidents sometimes make the world worse, and carelessness, and flukes of weather and acts of God. But if a personal decision makes the world worse, then what?

There are different levels of "oops"—didn't know, didn't think, forgot, didn't care, was pisssed off or drunk, was furious and wanted to do damage... What can be undone? What can be atoned for?

But anyway... the world starts to get better when people stop making it worse, and a person's life starts to get better when he consciously decides to do what is better instead of what is worse in any given moment.

I have a baby book I've written in sometimes. It has a page for when a person turns 30, 40, 50, to record one's philosophy of life. (Maybe it starts at 20, I'd have to dig it out and look.) I didn't know what that meant, when I was young. When I was 40 I knew, but didn't want to write down a snapshot philosophy of life, because I figured it could change by the time I was 41.

Life changes, and now I foist my philosophy of life onto just anyone who comes by my blog, or who says they'd like to learn something from me. I never hunt them down and give them a test later, though. Holly said to me one day something like "Friends come in and out of your life like bus boys in a restaurant." WOW, I thought. That helps! That helps when I'm sad that someone is slipping out of my daily life. I told her it was pretty wonderful and she said it was a Stephen King line from "The Body."

People come and go and we change each other. We amuse each other if we're lucky and frustrate each other if we're not so lucky. This is new today and I'll add more. sandradodd.com/philosophy I have notes and files here and there on the computer and on paper I can add as I come across them. The Log of Life (the aforementioned "baby book") pages are empty. I guess the baby book has moved over here.


Glenda said...

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday.

===a person's life starts to get better when he consciously decides to do what is better instead of what is worse in any given moment===

I agree wholeheartedly.

I'm sorry for the loss of your dad at far too young an age, and that he didn't get to meet his grandkids and to be a part of the (thus far) second half of your life.

I like that Stephen King quote that came via Holly =).

Happy Campers said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday my favorite blogger Sandra,
Happy Birthday to you!
Hope your day is blessed...

Miranda said...

Happy Birthday, Sandra! I really like your philosophy. I might just use the idea in my talk at Live and Learn, seeing as how it is about changing the world and all. Hope you have a good day!

Wendy said...

I love the video. That's my philosophy. It's not the goal that's important, but the process of getting there. I guess if I can pass only one thing on to my children it's that they should enjoy the journey.

Tracy Million Simmons said...

"Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, 'I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I'm not just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am! That's a great thing to be!
If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ME!'"
-Dr. Seuss

Anonymous said...

I want to join everyone who admires you and how you've changed OUR worlds with your words and wish you a very happy birthday!

Deanne said...

Happy Birthday! :)

Rinnyboo said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Thanks for giving me the ideas to forever change my life for the better!