Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Walking, Talking and other Philosophical Pursuits

The inaugural post of my new blog. Following in the footsteps of my wife and children, I am choosing to share the progress of my Stoic walk with those that might be interested. I plan on sharing, and perhaps over-sharing, my efforts to mold my life along the lines of Stoic teachings. Bear in mind that these are my own efforts, and while I call myself a Stoic, I am by no means a Sage, and reflect Stoic principles only imperfectly. With that, let us get on with the first reflection.

This morning I got dressed. Not usually a big deal, but since I lost my job last Thursday, I was feeling like I needed a vacation of sorts to let the natural process of loss play out if it had to. That isn't to say that I went through the grieving process (I didn't deny it, I didn't get angry, or even get depressed, I just accepted it as the new 'shape of the world'). I did want to take a bit of a break though. On top of that, all of my friends, with sincere concern, warned me that the 'crash' would come, so I waited for some subconscious outpouring of emotion that would somehow cleanse me of my suppressed grief. It didn't come. I suspect it is because it wasn't really there, hiding under the surface somewhere.

Why not? I credit my Stoic stance for this. It is the way thing ARE. Not the way I wished they would be, but I don't live in that world. So yesterday I stayed in my pajamas all day, perhaps as a sign of  breaking with the past (I never do that), and getting dressed was symbolic of putting on a new life today. I also put on my Stoic symbol today, reciting my meme, reminding me of the best in me that I am striving for. This is practice I let slide for the last few days. Picking it up today, I was sincere in the recitation. It felt right, and I felt strong.

There are real benefits to being unemployed at this time. I see my wife more everyday, and as we discuss possible futures, we get to know each other's minds and hearts a little better. I see my youngest daughter more often that before because our schedules conflicted in the past. Teasing and playing has never been so much fun. My son, my wife and I are talking and planning exciting new business opportunities together, possible futures, and new vistas. I have yet to take advantage of the time to see my other daughter, but she is working and going to school. I can however now try to find a few minutes in her day to share a cup of tea or two. Once I get back to work, if I end up back in a traditional 9 to 5, these opportunities will have passed. I won't waste them mourning a life I do not have, in a world that does not exist.

The job loss, the ongoing turmoil of personal lives around me, the challenges that face me in the future, and especially the incredible new opportunities ahead of me, all of these combined could be daunting, cause me to fear, to shrink back. But no, I look forward to the challenges, I embrace the opportunities as they present themselves. I am not afraid. With the strength I would have wasted on fear, anger or denial, I will explore, I will embrace, I will prepare.