Smoothing the rough edges

I write these Viewpoint columns with the idea to inspire some thinking. I don’t try to find topics everyone agrees with. I recognize that readership of Oyster Pointer grows every year and the paper is an undeniable success. 

I’ve been using a sports analogy lately when referring to this stage of my life by calling it “the fourth quarter.” Chronologically accurate, remember it’s also the most relevant, most exciting time in any activity. A change in strategy is often required as each block of time, whether seconds or years, takes on heightened importance. In speaking with others, I’ve found I’m not the only one who is enjoying so much of the new values and adaptations that constantly surface. 

One thing that is unavoidably present and often brings some initial negative energy with it is loss. Make no mistake, the longer we live, the more loss we deal with. From people dear to us to a favorite pair of jeans and all the gradations in between, loss is constantly forcing us to deal with it. So why did I say initial negative energy? Loss is in fact usually final so why just initial? Because while I’m not saying I approve of the exchange (I mean I’m not being consulted about the choice), my responsibility to myself and to those around me who care, is to accept it as best I can and to act accordingly as soon as I can. That’s needed in order to move on with things as they are rather than as we want them to be. 

Wanting things to be different than they are is both a blessing and a curse for those of us who have a natural tendency toward idealism, toward seeing what could be and toward improving. Being idealistic is often mocked as being a dreamer. Who coined the disparaging phrase “hopeless romantic” anyway? Sounds so dismissive. There’s no one more hopeful than an idealistic romantic. And being realistic is often too closely connected to just being cynical, which is usually far easier. 

But just as patience isn’t passive; acceptance isn’t resignation. When viewed this way, on the other side of loss there are often discoveries that make this life of mystery a comforting continuum, which is a nice way to keep experiencing and fully living during our short, short time here.

It’s easy and natural to be overwhelmed at times with what seems like more than our share of downturns, negative events or burdens, but I’m reminded that throughout human history there have been many, many who’ve endured far worse and still persevered. And, I’ve surely already enjoyed far more than my share of pleasures and joys in living a full life.

A few years ago, after a significant loss, I stumbled on that quip about “when one door closes, another opens for those who seek” or something like that. It wasn’t as uplifting as it’s intended. Corny actually. And I didn’t like the visual of desperately looking for another window. After a little reflection, I had a ring designed and engraved. It’s never left my finger. The ring says TRANSITIONS. Rather than the harshness of stop/restart or close/reopen, to me it implies a smoother, more comfortable path to proceed. 

Loss and the subsequent adaptation are a necessary and relevant part of a full life. None of us is exempt. My fourth quarter represents years many never experience. Living a series of TRANSITIONS is, to me, reassurance we’re all part of something that flows along and is larger than any of us can know or even comprehend. And that’s my April 2022 Viewpoint