Taking time to reflect


Photo by P. Jevne

A reflective life takes time but so does repeating the stupid moments of our lives. New tears inform. Tears of repeated errors torment. If life is a series of teachable moments, I prefer new lessons.

When I am 80, I want to feel 80. I want to have earned the wrinkles, enjoyed the peace, known what my life was about. I want to be endeared to my errors and unrepentant for the adventures that went wrong. The stories I tell will have morsels of wisdom and an abundance of humor. The characters will be complex and their motives, on occasion, still puzzling. Those who read my memoirs will be perplexed at how little of me they knew, and I will delight in them being mystified.

What I will have held back will not be a function of shyness, or embarrassment or any sense of apology for my actions, but a deep sense of not wanting to be a wholly public, transparent person.

I want to have enjoyed noticing my life. Not wake up at some undesignated age wondering where I have been and what I have been doing for 20 years, unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for what were essentially my choices.

The process of reflection is a way of calling myself home, to what I value, to what makes sense to me, to what hurts and what delights me. Without awareness, I have no choices. Without choices, I have no life. Even when the choices are seemingly limited, I have the choice of an inner life that finds a rightful place for what I experience as unjust or difficult.

Awareness rarely happens without reflection, and solitude is the place where reflection begins.
Living the life of a writer positions me to become reflective. It is no guarantee of wisdom though. When I refuse to enter into solitude, I am refusing to enter life as a writer as I envision it.

Writing is ultimately an alone endeavor.


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