Interestingly enough, I tend to get my best seller ideas during twilight sleep or on the toilet. Maybe not so interesting but accurate. The difficulty with this process is that I need then to write down whatever the thought was. Otherwise the thought would vacate my brain and be lost.
As an aside, I administered countless neuropsychological tests when I worked for the U.S. Army. Included in these tests were memory tests. Frequent responses from senior military members or their significant others indicated that they were alarmed at the amount of data they forgot. My standard spiel was “Forgetting is a huge part of remembering.” which usually was met with incredulity. “What do you think would happen if you remembered every place you had left your keys. You would spend your life looking for them in places that both were local and distant. You would get nothing else accomplished.”
Another Jackism was “Are you familiar with the saying ‘elephants never forget’? Think about what elephants need to remember: where’s the food, where’s the water, and don’t step off the cliff.”
Anyway, last night I was close to dozing off when a memory wiggled it’s way into my consciousness. A memory about a book read as a junior in college about a man caught in a bus accident who pummeled a persons face to mashed meat in order to exit the bus before it caught fire. In the confusion, he left his raincoat with all his ID on the bus. As the emergency folks were responding he left the area. Later that day he discovered that he had been listed among the dead. Several days later he hides and watches his own funeral and interment. Herein lies his dilemma. Should he reappear and enter his old life or continue on as a dead man walking. He continues to be dead.
What relevance does this scene have with my blog about starting life over? While the connection can be obvious, let me connect in a more emotional way. In both events, there are no anchors. There are no immediate relations. Everything old is new again. What was isn’t.
There are two types of freedom. The freedom from and the freedom to. In the past life my freedom from was paramount, while my freedom to was constrained by convention, family, government, and other institutions and thought systems. Now I have the ability to structure my life as I wish, constrained only by my sense of morality and what is socially responsible. I can love whom I choose. I can go where I want. I can believe what seems reasonable and reject what is ridiculous.
This new freedom needs to be grounded in a few tasks: physical activity, intellectual pursuits, financial efforts, and sobriety. Nothing will be completed before I die but pursuing each sets me to a whole life.