Cultivating the mind

This is not what I want, up at 6, trying to get it all done in the morning. Tired at work. Nothing but journal. Confused, stiff, uncomfortable. That would probably be a good way to describe me, as uncomfortable.

What I want? I want to be able to write whenever an idea comes. To exercise to read to think to try to make something of myself. I want that time to do those things. I want to pursue it. And language, sure. Why do I think I would do that if I didn’t have to go to work? I could make time to study language every day anyway. Just keep looking at those words. But there’s so much else I want to do. And I get used to sitting. I make a habit of stuff that isn’t furthering the way of thinking that I want to cultivate. It’s not that I couldn’t find time to learn Spanish, it’s that I need to cultivate a way of  being, and I need to do that all of the time.

That is what I want.

It’s About Freedom

I’ve been depressed lately about having to work. We are approaching almost $900,000 of investments, which, I know, could drop significantly the way the market is, but still, it’s there right now, and yet that isn’t near enough to think about retiring because we spend way too much money every year. It would never last our entire lives.
I don’t want to work, because I want to have the time to figure out what it is that makes me happy. That’s why. It’s not that I hate my job. When I was young and actually thought that I could save money and buy freedom and work towards the opportunity to do something else, I liked having a job that I was good at that paid (or had that potential). But this has been a career and only relatively recently have I been able to put money away, most of our lives we lived in debt (some of this was saved into retirement funds while we carried debt), and it’s late to turn that around and I’m tired of putting off happiness.
That’s the new way I’ve come up with to put it these days. It’s not that I want to write, or play the drums, or exercise, ok, yeah, I would do those things. But the bottom line is I haven’t been happy, just I like being me happy. I love people in my life, and I am happy for them, and they make me smile and I enjoy spending time with them, and I have fun with them, but when was the last time i just felt like this is who I am meant to be, like I have a purpose that I believe in?
Is that unrealistic? I don’t think so. I think it is defeatist to think that it isn’t possible. What else should you be doing with your life? Of course you try for that. If there are things that make you happy, why not try to have them? And if they are attainable, and not impossible, then of course you should.
For me, it would just be a matter of spending less on things that don’t matter to me in order to have the time to live my life in a way that is joyful. It does not make sense to work forever in order to be able to retire and have 10 good years or whatever where you can finally think about those things, because we don’t know how long we’ll live, and even if we live until 90, why should you start being happy at 65? Or later. It takes practice. 
I have a friend, I’ll call her that. We’re friends on facebook; we keep in touch, minimally. We met in an online writing class. Never in person. She just wrote a novel and is on cloud nine about it. It appears to be getting some good press. I’ve always liked her writing. I suspect that her husband supported her so that she had time. I could be wrong, because I don’t know her that well, but it looks like that to me. And I think this helps a lot of women writers to succeed. That happens for women more than it happens for men. I’m not saying I’m entitled to that. I’m not bitter about it. I’m happy for them. I’m just saying that my failures so far do not indicate that I couldn’t do what she did, given the right opportunity.
Single people also have an easier time.  If I were single, I really wouldn’t need much money. I think I could live off 25,000 a year. I wouldn’t have a car. I’d walk to work. I’d bike to the store. I’d uber if I really had to. And while I do like to travel, I like it the cheap way better than I like it the expensive way, and by that I mean visiting people you know, and going to cheaper places, and doing less touristy things, hanging with locals if you can. And I could even give that up to be able to spend every day doing what I want. I like home too. I like a routine of things I like doing. I could live in a cave, like the one I’m in for the next 15 minutes.
If I had all the time off that I need, would I write, or would I get even more depressed? It would probably be a struggle to be disciplined. But the more time I have the more writing I do. This has been true. When I’ve taken time off I did write more. Maybe not as much as I should or would have thought but I did write more, and I did produce some things in those times. And it’s not just about writing. It is also about reading. It is about thinking. It is about taking walks, and being physically fit and getting good at other things. Maybe learning a language. It is about being creative. It is about freedom.

Feliz Año Nuevo!

So here it is, my only New Year’s resolution.  It’s not to write more.  It’s not to blog every week, or to write stories for Kindle’s Singles, like it has been in prior years. It’s not to save the world, I think that’s what I wanted to do last year.

I was speaking to a co-worker from Bogota, Colombia and she said that they write down their resolutions and don’t tell anyone, and she usually gets them done.  Kind of like when we wish on our birthday and  blow out the candles and think that if we tell anyone it won’t come true.

I told her that en los Estados Unidos, we tell everyone our resolutions and then we don’t do them. Maybe that’s the reason we don’t do them. And then I went on to tell her mine.  But I only have one, because I want to increase my chances of doing it. Everything else that I want to do, I may still do, I may write more, I may blog more, I may save the world. But if I get this one thing done, and even if everything else falls by the wayside, I will feel a great sense of accomplishment for having finally achieving one of my long time goals.

That is, to learn Spanish.  Now, “learn” is subjective. Specifically I intend to complete Rosetta Stone’s five levels in Latin American Spanish by year’s end.  Towards that end I subscribed to their online version only for a year. Sure you can keep the desktop version forever, but if you don’t do it in a year, you’re probably not going to, that’s what I think.  And I think that compressing the study will help me recall what I learned and build upon it for the later lessons. I also intend to do extra, with Duolingo and whatever else I can find time for (I have Pimsler CDs that I’ve owned for a decade that I listen to in the car sometimes). And I plan to take opportunities to speak to people I know who speak Spanish, like mi compañera de trabajo de Colombia, because I think Rosetta stone is a great tool, but won’t be enough just by itself.

And I just got the opportunity to join a group at work that over the next 3 months will meet once a week for lunch to speak Spanish. So, I may even try hard to get through as much Rosetta Stone as I can in the next three months.

I’m been trying to learn Spanish (off and on, of course) for 35 years.

Esta tiempo.

That’s all.