It turns out that my grandmother invented short term thinking.
When my mother says she doesn't have to do something because she is going to die soon, or I say I am not going to do something because I am going to die soon, well, my grandmother invented that. She may have lived until she was 99, but after about age 60, she never really needed anything nice because she was going to die soon. She never needed to build because she was going to die soon. It's a great plan.
This whole focus on the short term really echoes to me in lots of the modern advice about healing.
"You need to live in the now, because healing occurs in the future, not in the past. If you are too aware of how things work, you can't heal — the only way to heal is to leave that crap behind, choose again and make it new."
I have low levels of latent inhibition, low capacity to slough off the past. I have a good memory, and forgetting just isn't something I have ever been good at.
The clinical trial my father is entering is pleased to have a 34% survival rate at three years. My father will be 82 years old this year, and that's about 20 years more than any of his siblings, so he has already beat the odds.
I'm ready to give this to God, but I also know that there will be consequences and challenges. Hell, he has magazine subscriptions that last into 2009.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees,
under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
Is life an illusion, just for us, or do we have some obligation to look ahead, to create a better future, for us and for the people who will follow us?
To give up control of the outcomes, to move away from expectation while still having dreams that drive us to try to achieve something new and wonderful, well, that kife edge has always been a hard one for me. I know why we have to be in the moment, but I also know why we have to hold a vision that motivates us.
I guess this all goes back to the difficulty most have of affirming the visions of others, helping them have the energy to pursue those visions wven as we know that it's not the vision that is perfect, it is the commitment to creating that vision which will create something new and better in the world.
It's a hard day for me. People who know and understand me from all over the state are gathering just a few miles away, just a few miles from the hospital my mother was in last week. But I can't be present there, so that possibility seems denied to me.
But I know that unless I can believe in some kind of future, the one I will live in will be shit.