Saturday, May 30, 2009

Change Life Future

I’ve had a mildly profound thought in my head for several days now…”this is a blog thought!” I keep reminding myself. Any kind of writing is a funny thing. Once you get in the habit, potential topics come to mind usually when pen, paper or computer are far away (i.e. when I’m running, walking, driving in the car). I can, of course, whip out my handy Smartphone and type myself a memo in there, and sometimes that’s what I do, but its just as likely that instead the thought, whatever it may be, will wander around in my brain until I get the time and inclination (like now!) to put it down on paper.

So here’s the thought – none of us know what the future holds. Trite, huh? Yes, but think about it; most of the time, most of us THINK we know what the future holds. We conduct our lives as if we do, and we make assumptions about where we will be in six months, a year, ten years from now. But Lee and I have been living with the CERTAINTY that we do NOT know what the future holds now for a long time, at least since last October or so, when we first started to realize that we would soon be leaving Hong Kong.

What does this do to our view of the world? Well, for me, it’s meant that in some ways I’ve sort of shut down. As different possibilities have come up and then dissipated, I’ll entertain them for awhile, and then I’ll forget about them. I don’t seriously think about where we will be six months from now, or certainly in a year. I just don’t know, and it gets too exhausting to continually imagine one scenario after another, only to watch each possibility fade away.

Lee is different from me in the area. I think he truly thrives on the uncertainty. As each possibility raises its head, he gets excited, starts researching houses in the area, imagines sailing on nearby bodies of water, wonders about cold winters or lack thereof. I will briefly entertain thoughts about that area of the country, and then I kind of forget about it. I may even invoke a short prayer for a couple of days “oh please, please, please let this be the one”, but then I give up.

My view of the future has by necessity become small. I think about what I will be doing next week, next month, three months from now. Beyond that, I don’t think much at all. I care about finding rewarding activities to fill my time here in Austin, but I don’t think too much about what I might be doing a year from now. Who knows? We certainly don’t.

This attitude is especially reflected in my relationship with this house. No matter how much I try, it has always seemed like a temporary home to me. So did the apartment in Hong Kong, but in a different way. Hong Kong was a temporary gift, with a fairly finite ending from the very beginning. I always knew we would leave after some period of time. Since the vast scheme of possibilities for our future actually include staying in Austin, we sometimes entertain ideas about major changes to this house. But all of that is on hold until our situation is resolved one way or another.

But the house really looks nice right now. We’re done almost everything we’ve needed to do to make the house both more comfortable for us and appealing to any potential buyers if it turns out that we leave. The yard is green, the deck is stained, the new plants are thriving (for the most part). Inside the walls look clean and bright, our artwork from Asia is beautiful, and the crazy master bedroom closet with the 10 foot ceilings functions much better with the Elka shelving system Lee installed. The slate floor in the bathroom is getting there… it turned out to be more of a hassle than Lee expected. It was difficult to make the slate level, and he didn’t realize until after the fact that slate needs to be sealed BEFORE you grout it instead of afterwards. Sigh.

The other thing we’ve done is contract with Orkin to spray for mosquitoes during the summer. It’s already made a huge difference. When we lived here before I could hardly go outside without being eaten alive. Now we can eat dinner outside and linger over a glass of wine and the bugs are nowhere to be found. Yay!

So, I think about what I will be doing next week, and next month. But I really don’t think about next year. I know this ties in with the lesson I keep on learning and relearning as I get older…Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…what happens when you stop making plans at all because life keeps jumping in your face and shouting BOO!? I don’t know….I guess you end up becoming a Buddhist whether you meant to or not!


  1. Hi Lynn,
    Not only do we not know, there really is no "future." Future is only thoughts in our minds. We can make plans about a possible future, but they are only thoughts too, of course. And if that imagined future comes true, it is only now.
    Of course the important thing is not whether one believes this or not, but just living one's life as it is now. In your case it seems to involve living with the illusion of some permanency shattered, at least for now. What a blessing!
    Your friend, Phil

  2. Ah Phil, You know of course that I was thinking about you, my favorite Buddhist, as I wrote this entry! I really struggle with regarding this period in our lives as a blessing. It is mostly frustrating to me. I WANT to go back to pretending that I know what the future holds! Its difficult, if not impossible, to always stay in the now. A funny consequence of this has been that I've started going ahead and making plans, even though I know its quite possible that those plans will have to be unmade. I end up being both pleased with the plan and comfortable with the possibility that it will have to be discarded. I think that might be as close to being in the now as I can get!

    Glad to hear from you....Lynn

  3. Hmmm living in the now, as a difficult concept. I think that I have found that easier as time has gone on because island life forces you to slow down. Oh I wouldn't be the aimless meanderer that I find some people take to so easily, but thinking in the long term is too frustrating for me in a country where nothing comes quickly or easily. I do understand Lynn though how living feeling half in and half out the door, with economic uncertainty, wouldn't sit well with you either. I didn't deal well with it when that was the case either. On the other hand it gave me a wonderful opportunity to get back to the basics and celebrate the little things. It became the time when sitting and enjoying the stars with a glass of wine in my back yard became one of my most favorite "dates" with Dave. It was the time to remind ourselves that there were worse moments behind us and remind each other that we only think we have the master plan in life but in reality we don't and in my belief it was God. In the end it strengthened that conviction because indeed we had life as it was meant to be. Look at this time Lynn as an opportunity to let the plans roll out as they will and take it as a fact that you have but to observe the time as it passes as apposed to organize the results.



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