Next Steps

I’m happy it’s Friday. I will finish something I’ve been working on most of the week today. I will end my week on a good thing. I like tidy.

I woke early this morning, as seems to be a habit now. I took my morning medications (really supplements) and a couple of acetaminophen for my teeth. I probably haven’t written about my dental work, but I lost my first adult tooth a few weeks ago and am in the middle of the crown process for a couple of adjacent teeth, which will culminate with a bridge to replace the lost tooth. I think I’m putting pressure on the temporary appliance and that’s causing me some discomfort. It will be something I discuss with my dentist next week when he finalizes the preparations.

While waiting for my analgesic to work, I read a little on the ‘net. One of the articles I read was about happiness and health. The article was just OK, probably written well enough but my I thought some editing could tighten up the language quite a lot. Regardless, there was a couple of points that caught my intellectual interest. In particular, the distinction between hedonism and eudaimonism is articulated (to some degree) as being detectable in gene-expression tests.

I am at a point in life where I can have just about any thing [sic] I want. However, there are not a lot of things I want. What I really want I cannot have. So, as one of my favorite David Wilcox songs says, You can get what’s second best // but it’s hard to get enough. At this time, I don’t even know what second-best might be. For the protagonist of the song, it was velocity. In the end, that proved fatal… although I doubt the protagonist really cared given her state of mind.

But I digress… The string of words in the referenced article that caught my attention was associated with eudaimonism. It resonated with something else I read a few days ago about purpose. As a new widower, my purpose in life (or at least my perceived purpose) is turned upside down. As a husband and father, the husbandry of my family has been a driving purpose most of my life. I’ve been the principal provider and leader for about 40 years.

My wife is gone. My children are mostly independent, or will be soon. I’m in the process of being released from the role that’s been mine for the bulk of my adult life. This is an uncomfortable place to be. It means that I’m in the middle of a compass-reset.

So, as I ruminated on the words from the article (and for once the discussion contained some interesting words), I enumerated a few things that are meaningful to me. They are:

  • Music, both listening and making,
  • Photography, both observing images and making them,
  • Teaching (and learning), and
  • Helping others in a variety of ways.

The list is not complete. It will require a bit more work to ferret out some of the other things from deep inside. I’m OK with that and don’t mind doing the work. I especially don’t mind doing the work if it results in the compass-reset I’m looking for. This list is a start and I have to start somewhere.

One thing I know. I am not a hedonist, at least not in the pure sense of the word. I won’t find fulfillment in the pursuit of pleasure.