“You need to be more resilient,” my girlfriend says to me, in bed.
“I think in my life I have been pretty Goddamn resilient,” I snarl. And Goddamn resilient in this relationship too,” I add.
We argued before bed which is never a good thing. She went to sleep on the futon then on the couch and I followed her out there.
“If I’m the one being punished, then I’ll stay on the couch,” I said.
“You always think you’re the victim,” she said.
We went to bed together. Not on the best of terms, but at least we listened to each other a little bit. Sort of.
Relationships are hard. And life is hard. And years are hard.
The Buddhists say “All Life Is Suffering.” I have thought about this a lot.
They also say, “When you realize that you will never know, and accept it, that is enlightenment.”
I’m no expert on Buddhism or Eastern Philosophy. But I do know that all life is suffering. I do know that I will never know everything (or debatably anything).
My problem is that I can’t accept that my life is full of suffering. I want jubilance and joy and adventure and peace and harmony and endless sexual favors. But this isn’t really possible all of the time. I have to be equally at peace when things are chaotic. Equally at peace when things are tranquil. Equally at peace when things are boring and lifeless.
And this is hard.
It’s hard to be me. And it’s hard to be you. And it’s hard to be that homeless guy sleeping on a cardboard box on the street. We don’t give ourselves enough credit and we don’t give other people, let me use the word again – RESILIENT – people, folks much stronger than us, enough credit.
So 2013 has come and gone. Today is the last day of the year.
I did a lot of stuff this year and I wanted to brag to all of you, but something about bragging didn’t sit right with me. If I am satisfied with who I am and what I have done then why do I need other people to pat me on the back?
I guess we all need encouragement. And life is hard. A lot of people died this year. And a lot of people were born.
And we all died and were born then died again. We’re like that snake eating its own tail. We’re always shedding our skin and growing new skin then shedding again.
All of the shedding and it’s a painful thing to do and it’s hard.
Film critic and human being Robert Ebert died this year, and his quote about happiness really resonated with me:
“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.” – Roger Ebert
Damn that’s beautiful.
Here’s another one I like. From D.H. Lawrence, from a few years back.
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” – D.H. Lawrence
So take these two quotes in and breathe.
Because 2014 is coming in a few hours.
It’s not always going to be easy.
But we can do it.
– Justin Maurer, Los Angeles, Calif. 12/31/13