3 AM. The Tigers Just Left

I cannot change my age. I cannot change any path I have taken to reach this point. I cannot undo the choices I made about employment, people, where I have lived and where I have left; I cannot unravel a single thread sewn in or extracted from this tapestry that is me so far.

I can, however, stand to lose a few pounds, choose to walk a few miles more each day, eat a bit healthier, be nicer to people, be quiet more often, spend a few days alone in peace each day, do something for someone else each day, contact those I love just to say hello more often, stand and appreciate the good fortune that finds me here, now, taking a deep breathe in the cool autumn air, staring at a brilliant blue sky, knowing tonight I’ll watch Jupiter again, and Saturn, do their thing across the sky again.

I can try harder to fulfill obligations and stop spending time in regret. I can imagine each morning what I will have wished I achieved by the end of the day and make choices to reach that point. And do that for the week. And do that for the month. And a year. And a life.

I can refuse that which I crave if it is not healthy for me physically, mentally, socially. It does not matter how hard it is to add the good and subtract the harmful—I can, in fact, choose to choose correctly. I can include in my routine just five minutes out of sixteen waking hours each day to contemplate what is beautiful. I can listen to more music and less news, watch less television and more sunsets.

I can try a bit harder to understand my purpose and try a little less to satisfy what others think.

It does not take wisdom as has been suggested. It certainly takes discipline. It takes sacrifice. I can stop expecting perfection in what I am looking for which can lead to emptiness and depression by waiting too long. I can stop expecting everything to work now and accept life by degree, small daily gains, acknowledging sometimes small roadblocks and backstepping. But the pursuit of my “self” and how I would like to be, the truly satisfied self, is not a goal but a pursuit.

I need less than I think.

I can give more than I do.

And everything I require to be happy, to be satisfied, to be completely myself, I already have. Disappointment comes from looking elsewhere for what is self-satisfying.

I am not a wise man, but I know the difference between what I should have done and what I, in fact did; between what I can do now and what I am not doing, and what I can do next and what I should not do next.

I complicate what should be easy.

I put off what I should address now and spend time on things that have no value whatsoever.

These realities:

The past is done.

Tomorrow is not written in stone.

Most events and decisions in my life are my own choice, no matter how much I can easily blame someone or something else.

And when the tigers come at night, I can roll over and go back to sleep, no matter how much the chemicals in my brain often wish those beasts would just devour me and get it over with. No. I know better.

Because the morning.

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