Saturday, October 22, 2016


"I have said it before and I'll say it again; 
It is not that I don't believe in God, 
I just don't believe in your God. 
My God isn't a human being with mutant abilities. 
It doesn't punish for having a mortal nature 
or cast us out for the actions we have taken. 
In the emptiness of the unknown, 
there is peace in the silence and rest in the true divine. 
If you close your eyes and listen, 
you can hear absolutely nothing at all."

This blog is completed

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Getting Off

"The most frequent question I am asked regarding this blog is what I mean by the term 'surviving god.' The answer is not a complex one. For anyone who has suffered at the hands of a religion or been cast out from their God because of the doctrines and dogmas of an organized faith institution, the term is precise. Surviving God does not necessarily mean you no longer believe. It does not denote some form of atheism or rebellion against the object of your devotion. It simply refers to getting past all the garbage that seems to come from the traits and limitations mankind tends to place on the Divine. Surviving the damage these concepts can inflict is a subjective process, an evolution both intellectually and spiritually. Surviving God means just that, endurance in the face of damnation and recognition that one remains a child of God despite our harshest critics. It pertains to salvation through subsisting and pulling through in spite of all the well meaning, and often quite nasty, religious folk who would have us believe their way, their convictions, and especially their gods, are against us but for them."
(Skeletal Remains - December 30th, 2014)

            I had already been posting a blog for well over a year when I started Surviving God. That was over 5 years ago. I had no idea I could go that long, although I don't recall anyone ever complaining. Such an investment, such a commitment and yet I am here, with 200 plus blogs under this heading. I never monetized. I never censored myself unless to prove the point. I did what I set out to do. In this case, I am done doing. I'm stopping this train and getting off (so to speak). Don't get me wrong, I am not abandoning this cause. I'm just hopping on board a different train. I'm just pointing myself in a new direction. I have come to a fork in the road. I can continue with the way it was or I can see what lies another way. I am excited by the idea of what I might encounter and create. In the truest sense, like the heading simply states, I have managed, thus far, to survive God. That being said and done, I still have much to write about and to explore with words. It is the words I have already written that I hope linger for many to see. I have done my best to explain myself and that's the best I can do.

"What were you looking for when you found me?
No, I'm not everything that you'd thought I'd be now ...
Was that a rude awakening?
I ain't no devil, I ain't no saint
I am what I am, can't be what I ain't now ...
Would you really want me to be?
I said I'd bring all I got to the table
I said I'd stand by you long as I'm able
But I never said I could walk on water
I never said I was perfect in any way
Trying to put my love to you
Doing my best and ... that's the best I can do"
(Walk on Water, Amy Grant 1995)

            No matter what has occurred. No matter the insight gained, or information gathered, I still want so much to know God. In particular, it would be nice if my Christian upbringing did not conflict with my newly gained perceptiveness. I want to have a relationship with the deities I was raised to believe in. This has become impossible for me to do. I cannot ignore the anthropomorphic characteristics the Abrahamic theologies would have me believe are divine traits. I can't look past the angry, judgemental and downright cruel behaviour on this God's part. The God I was taught to believe in appears to be nothing more than a mutant human being. I cannot, in good conscience, worship at the feet of a mortal. Whether it can walk on water or not is irrelevant. So I have been left to question whether all this surviving god was for naught. I get the feeling I was just wasting my time. There was never anything there in the first place. So now it would be so  easy to simply walk away altogether. I cannot abandon my gut instinct. It might be a UFO or some consciousness containing the universe. It might be Jesus but it might be Buddha. There are still so many questions, even more than there was before. The truth is there are no answers. Nothing is all there really is. We are bound to this mortal coil and are limited by the reality we have created around us. Any idea we entertain regarding the paranormal is filtered by our humanity. We are limited by our preconceived notions. We cannot know, we aren't supposed to know. All we know is nothing.  

"The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing."
(Socrates, classical Greek/Athenian philosopher)

            Other than bringing back the dead, if there was only one thing I was allowed in this life, I would choose writing. Creating characters and worlds from nothing is a thrilling experience. To purge, like blood onto a page, is emancipation. It is pure penance. A selfish, needy act with better cause. To affect one other with one's work is in itself the greatest reward. There is nothing, in my opinion, that I can do better. The journal of my life is not all in my head. It now rests in a cloud, a digital record for all to see. For those who would ask to know me, I simply refer them to the entirety of my little masterpiece. Each expression is self-defining. Each part of this journey has managed to recreate me in my own image. What began as an exercise in futility now acts as a testament unto itself. The art of "pen to paper" has delineated my life. In the best sense, writing about who I am, where I came from and how I felt en route has reshaped me. Viewing my experiences as a third person has allowed me to see things much more clearly. I have, in a sense, been refined by my own hand. Relaying my very own message to others has allowed me to reach myself. At this point in my life, I cannot fathom no longer writing.

"I searched, I searched, I searched my whole life
To find, find, find the secret
But all I did was open up my eyes ...
It's all an illusion
There's too much confusion
I'll make you feel better
If it's bitter at the start
Then it's sweeter in the end"
(Get Together,  Madonna 2005)

            There is no happiness, only moments of happiness. These small doses are hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. Something always gets in the way. The truth is that's the way life is. You have to earn your peace. Nothing comes easy, and in the end, it usually isn't worth the trouble. While I consider myself religion free, no longer a hostage to it, I cannot abandon what I have come to know. I have come to this place relatively intact, it would seem. I have survived God simply through the process of cut and paste. At this stage of my life, I'll take as many incidents of joy as I can get. I might take a happy trip. I keep moving along my way although I have no idea where I am headed. It seems to me that it all ends up with life being nothing more than a giant amusement park, unfit to play in forever. Right up until the end, it's one adventure after another. In order to survive this life, you have to adapt. You must evolve. You have to ride the ride until it comes to a complete stop. Then you get to exit.

"This is how it seems to me
Life is only therapy
Real expensive and no guarantee
So I lie here on the couch
With my heart hanging out
Frozen solid with fear
Like a rock in the ground
You move me
You give me courage
I didn't know I had
You move me
I can't go with you and stay where I am
So you move me"
(You Move Me, Garth Brooks)



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

monster hope

"Looking out to the hills
To the setting sun
I feel a cold wind
Bound to come
Another change
Another end I cannot see
But your faithfulness to me is making it
All right
I fall down on my knees
Tell me that it's all right
You give me what I need
Years of knocking on heaven's door
Have taught me this if nothing more
That it's all right ... what may come"
(All Right, Amy Grant 1986)

            The more time I spend alive, the more I realise just how senseless and random all this living is. I'm not sure that this conclusion applies to any other life than my own but I think I am safe in saying, I am not alone. There is futility in existence. Nothing always means nothing and sometimes it means even less. Life isn't sunshine and lollipops. Life is suffering and hopelessness and doom. The entire process of living is simply death measured out. There really is nothing else. To put it simply, all those promises are for naught. It all is. Even the earth and sky won't last forever. One moment we are here and the next we are gone. In between, there is nothing but the constant barrage of chaos and loss and agony. We are screaming as we are all led to slaughter. Just like when you love someone, you are simply wasting your time. No matter your lot in life, you are born to suffer and then you die. There is nothing you can do about it. Between our birth and our death, the middle ground is only fallow, sown over for each of our amusement. All the while you sit and cry from an unending onslaught of destruction and pain. All hope is lost, not that there was ever any to begin with.  
            We are monsters. We skulk and crawl and we act like creatures. We hate much more than we ever love. We bite any hand that dares to feed us. Our bite is far worse than our bark. Culled by living, and controlled by fear, we don't embrace our salvation until it's far too late. We project our own folly in the gods that we worship. They too are monsters but from a distance they roar. In the heart of man beats a demon that no angel can rid. No one can be trusted. We are selfish and shallow and think only of ourselves. We are narcissistic without ever needing a mirror. We know it very well. We live in our shadows so much they become our friend. We do not need anyone to self-flagellate in private. It's a secret for no one but you and you alone. One always fails to see their own little horror, so they don't even look for it in others. We all are monsters. The fact we might smile towards sunshine is irrelevant to our history and current place in life. You can deny it all you want, and curse me even more, but it's the stone cold truth. Just because we only think something sleeps under the bed doesn't make it any less real.
            I used to believe that love and compassion ruled this world. I used to believe that underneath our mortal coil there was something worth living for, some grand sense of obligation to one another. I was wrong. No one gives a damn about anything but themselves. One of my greatest struggles has been to look past the actions of mankind and instead see children of God battling to make it through. What a crock of horseshit. We don't care about each other, all we care about is our own purpose, our own way down the road. My hope and direction once led me to understanding. Now, the constant drone of reality has convinced me that all along I was doing nothing else but wasting my time. There is no hope. Mankind is doomed.
            Obviously, my way of thinking regarding life in general has become somewhat dark, cynical and without much optimism. I only see doom and chaos these days. Life has become so bitter that I barely remember the taste of anything else. There appears to be no purpose, no reason for anything at all. As I flounder in all this decay, I am constantly reminded that I have been through much worse. The difference now lies in the consequence of this go round. I have tried, no matter, to see some hope in all the things that pass before me. It has been my mission to survive not only God but any action for which I believed God held me accountable. For so long I have served my penance. Paying the price for the push I didn't do but might as well have. I have taken it all like a man. I deserved what I got for the things that I have done. I am judged and condemned all in the same sentence. I have hardened my heart. I no longer wish to be a part. I am weary and suffered and dust in the wind. Just stopping to view myself has become a lesson in terror. I never wanted to admit it but I am no better than anyone else. No one really evolves, we just tell ourselves that we have. I have fallen to the reckless abandon of this world. I may be surviving but truly living escapes me. Perhaps all the walls I have built to protect me have fallen to the wayside, victims of the wrecking ball. In the most disturbing turn of events, in the most melancholy of ways, I have become a monster just like you.
"No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
And no one knows
What it's like to be hated
To be fated to telling only lies"
(Behind Blue Eyes, The Who 1971)

            I am a pathetic little man trying desperately to make some noise. I have convinced myself that I had something to say so I tried to say it as clearly as possible. Again, I was just wasting my time. Writing a blog has been one of the most cathartic exercises I have ever undertaken. It not only helped me deal with my feelings about almost everything, but I converted the experience for what it was into something that suited my needs, my purpose. I am a fool. To believe even one person would stop and give heed to the warnings, pay attention to the cries, was ignorance and stupidity.  I just don't matter and neither do you. Nothing does even though it has become somewhat attractive. Like an orphan lost in the forest, there is no home to go home to. There is little if anything at all. You wake, you breathe, you suffer into sleep and you do it all over again the next time. I have said it over and over again. Life makes dying look easy. No matter what you do, no matter your intent, you're screwed. There is little reason to face the sun. Who wants to go towards the light when the darkness is a better friend? Why do we bother at all?
            It was not my intention to repudiate anything divine or holy from my life. After decades of soul searching, I suddenly realised that there was little left to search for. I have fallen into the idea of nothing so it's hard to find something, if anything at all. The world itself is doomed. So is mankind. So am I. There is absolutely fuck all you can do about it. Just the fact you are living means you're dying. There is no hope. To sit and to be expected to believe that a god who punishes, tortures and murders his own "children" can somehow reward with a better salvation causes great pause for me. It makes it enough for me. It leaves me to hope for the darkness. My attempt at surviving god only convinced me that the god I was trying so hard to survive, did not exist. Like a painter in a dark closet, I cannot see to create. I cannot fathom what is out there so I see little to see. That's the thing about surviving god. That's the thing about moving on. You need somewhere to go or you are lost on your own. You flounder, you folly. Given time, just like the rest of us, you turn into a monster.

"So cry for me baby, and I'll cry for you
And we'll both break down and we'll both break through
We'll find our way and we'll face the truth
We both will be stronger
And we'll lie down in our loneliness
And wake up with our sad regrets
Even though we don't know it yet
We both will be stronger"
(Stronger, Faith Hill 2002)

            I tend to sit in my backyard, alone most times, absorbing the silence. Peace and quiet are a rare thing so finding such refuge does not go unnoticed. It is not pure but it is much better than nothing. I contemplate. I meditate. I commune. My friend Red is with me every time. He hops along the fence with his red breast and he talks to me. Betty, the dove, coos for me, resting just above my head. Herbert and his mate (I think they are partners) dance in and out from beneath the deck. They sit from their vantage point and they watch me as they feed. Like Chip n' Dale, they speed about, cheeks full of joy and sunflower seeds too. I have always loved rodents. The grass is green and the sky quite blue and the world is also warm and fuzzy to me. The plants and their flowers take to task, overwhelming the gardens with plush green leaves and every shade of yellow known to man. It is beautiful here. It is sanctuary and safe harbour. Each evening, as twilight begins, I stop myself from dwelling and I find my resting place. I am in the same place. As the day discovers night, I sit and discover myself. I think of my Mother and just how empty my world still is without her. I linger on Doug and how I wish that he was here with us. I think of my Father and the friend he has become. Of my friends and my social connections, I stop by for a visit. I look upon the life I now lead, the partner I have, and how my pets are going to die soon. I don't ever have to be alone.
            The house is almost finished now. With some painting, and a rug or two, my mission will be complete. In under a year, I have created the space. It is fluid and classy and comfortable. It looks like home but it also feels like home. My house is filled with the aesthetically pleasing. The life I lead is rich. I want for nothing and have much more. If one was to measure the abundance of material things, you could conclude that I had fallen into God's favour. I could hardly ask for more. It's the icing on top of the cake. After 18 years, I still have Ben. It's not always peaceful between us and we know it. It's not always smooth sailing by any means but it thrives and lingers and drives me crazy. The proof is not lost on me. I have everything I have ever wanted. The Christian would claim I am blessed beyond measure but the darkness weighs much more than any light. It haunts me, forced screaming in an empty room. There is something missing and the hole, the void, it drains anything good from my sight. It drowns me in nothing but nothing at all. It rules my senses and promises peace. I do not know how to mend that which has been broken. I can't even tell if things are corrupted or not. I do not know how to fill the space. What the hell happened to me?
            I don't commune with God much these days. Our relationship has always been one-sided anyway. I do all the begging and God does all the ignoring. He never talks to me. He never says a single word. I suppose, the separation I feel from anything Holy had to be in order for me to be. In order to survive God, I had to alienate myself from Him. I had to build the walls between us for any semblance of peace. Now that the dye is cast and I sit in my yard alone, I cannot help but to hope somewhere in the darkness, which brings much comfort, that something remains. Perhaps the answer has been a simple one to find. Perhaps in letting go of the Abrahamic deity I was raised to believe in, there is room for new definitions. Maybe in order to survive, I have to recreate the God I have experienced. Who knows, I may have already found him in the silence I've discovered. Perhaps if we all took a moment to seek it out we could find it once again. I have to believe that somewhere there is a place that welcomes all us monsters.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” (Hans Margolius, American author)

            I lead a quiet life. I have solace and peace and joy in spite of the empty space reserved for Jesus or a burning bush or a flying camel. I just know I will be okay, whatever comes. I have embraced the silence for its own sake. Rather than looking outward for signs and wonders, I now listen to the quiet. I look within for anything divine or heavenly or metaphysical. I guess, in a strange way, all this seeking has been like shedding my skin, a trait of a true monster. My biggest mistake was expecting God to do me any favours. Religion always sounds so much noise that I failed to seek Him in the silence. I hope that He is there. I hope and I continue to hope. I don't want to be like the most of us. I refuse to become a monster, even if I already am.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

31 - 08

            There are just some days. No matter the time and space between them, they repeat annually without fail. Year after year will mark the same day in the calendar. One may be your birth date. One may be your anniversary. Often, the date of a significant death may appear time after time. It matters little when it is, just why it is contains the meaning of it all. These anniversaries, or as I like to call them "commemorations," never hold the same day but they always hold the same date. They live with us. In a cycle they appear, over and over until your own turn at insignificance. Some of these benchmarks tell tales of woe and sadness. Others stand in pure memory, meaning nothing to no one at all. Some are celebrations and some for mourning. Some stand for a beginning and others for that end. You don't even need to commemorate a day in your life. Today could be your first day not smoking or the first five pounds lost. Almost anyone can claim one. All you have to do is mark it down in the blink of an eye and it is there with you. It will come again. The next and the next, like a welcome friend or despised enemy. All are sure to come back around. You don't even have to remember them yet somehow they manage to carry on without you. Somehow life marks the spot.
            Whether it's Christmastime or Easter, even Halloween, there are set dates that we all tend to observe. The date on which you bought your house or when your favourite dog died, they too act as a marker, a place in time we choose to recreate every twelve months or so. They are a constant harbinger of what has once been and they will always be sure to remind you. On occasion, a date will stand out because multiple events occurred on it. Like fate has chosen, throughout your lifetime one day contains the most. More often than not, each person holds such a commemoration. Every year, the anniversary adds fuel to the fire. It can seem like that day was meant to stand out. The message it bears quite lost to our senses and logic. It still occurs. You can't help but notice the significance. One thing after another is added. As the years pass, the pile becomes overwhelming at times. Sometimes it means nothing at all.
            You can look for meaning in the numbers. You can search for knowledge from the past. When it all comes down, these benchmarks are nothing but a constant reminder that life is passing, so quickly it can seem. Whether the day holds some special esoteric meaning is rather irrelevant to our quickening demise. These are not conditional to one's survival. Therein lies the metaphor. Every year, the day of all days, is a lighthouse off the coast of our living. Sink or swim, it stands there firm and strong. It gives light in the darkness and darkness comes with the light. It can seem that it is mocking us, all the while taunting us from its shore. We can see it coming from a distance and pass it evermore. Every year it persists, returning again and again as we approach it. It follows us, or we follow it. Once in awhile we see a multitude of beacons all in the very same row. They are on top of each other, once a quality of time has passed. They mean more though, in that unique way. They are thought of with dread or anticipation. Each is full of fury and sound and each signifies everything.     

- 1976

            I don't remember any August 31st before the one in 1976. I even looked up any grand event on that date, outside my experience. I hoped it might act to reignite a memory. There really were none to speak of, at least not from that vantage point. The fact that this Tuesday was like any other Tuesday did little to calm my fears. In fact, this was no ordinary day. This was the beginning of an entirely new life for me and my family. Relocating from place to place may be stressful but moving from the largest city in Canada to a small southwestern Ontario town was disruptive, unnerving and intimidating. At 11 years of age, the only thing I really cared about was the reality of leaving my life behind. All my friends, all my familiar gone like dust in the wind. The day was undeniable, its effect immeasurable. Nothing would ever be the same again. I recall sitting in the rear of our escape, watching as the city disappeared to blue skies and scenic views. The entire 401 corridor is caked with hills, valleys and escarpment (both remnants and the full deal). Like some odd dream, this day can play over in my mind. Leaving Toronto was one of the hardest things I have ever had to come to terms with but it was one of the very best things that ever happened to me.

- 1980

            We lived near downtown Strathroy for a few years before the house went up. Slowly, wall took to frame and space to filling. The back lot of my Grandfather's farm turned from the mound of horror I knew as a child to a safe place, a strong place, the place we all come from. I can still focus on the feeling I had watching our creation find fruition. Standing in the unfinished doorway of my bedroom to be, I basked in youthful joy. The day of the move was uneventful but has gone down in my thinking as a prominent event. It is worth remembering the sense of hope the entire experience brought me. Having left Toronto heartbroken, Strathroy soon became my sanctuary (not that I had much choice in the matter). Our new Scott Street location cemented me to the town. Swapping one ground for another meant gaining new roots but it was obvious to me I had been replanted. This dwelling became our home, the home. The day it all was done, waiting for possession, is the day that changed just where I claim to be from. At the end of the day I still laid me down to sleep. Visions raced through my mind as I settled into the place I was meant to be. Like any other day, it came and went with the rest of them. Like the very same day, it stood out, demanding recognition.

- 1988

            Exactly 122 days from the New Year, the last day of August holds one of the most significant moments in my life. I can still feel myself shaking when he walked in the room. He was tall and chiselled with a full and very dark beard. I had never experienced such attraction before. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen and I knew I wanted more. The day we met is just the beginning but it marks what turned out to be the beginning of the end. In less than 7 years he would meet his own doom. Face to face, he took the one thing from himself that he could never return. Still, I try not to fixate on the finish line. I try to remember how it felt to meet him for the very first time. Every August 31st, I make the trip to Stratford with flowers or a card or sometimes even both. Beyond the guilt I have had surrounding his death, it is often nice for me to sit and think back on what might have been. I journey to the day I first saw him. I recreate it in my mind. In spite of the dark place that it ended with, year after year I get to pay homage to the man that I got to know and love and said goodbye to.

- 1997

            The day Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales, died in that fiery car crash was monumental to my view of life. I was approached that evening by a co-worker at the gay bar where I was a bouncer. The call had gone out and the news came quickly to me. I rushed home as fast as I could and sat speechless while watching the event unfold on CNN. For years, I followed Diana. Her wedding to Charles found me watching at 5 AM EST, sitting in front of the television lurking with my Mother and sister Tracey. Her compassion, philanthropy and commitment to major causes like HIV research, cemented in my mind how significant she became to the world. She stood as a beacon for those who felt isolated from the 1%. Her class and position sat in stark contrast with her ever evolving care for humanity. For me, Diana came to represent hope. In her I found the goodness that others sorely lacked. It's sad that in death her influence has been lost to great degrees. She is the example we all should try to follow. We should remember to emulate her. I commemorate every year. The fact that it occurred on the date that it did stacked the tragedy with a growing trend.

- 1998

            A few years before I met Ben, I was grieving. The heavy burden had come upon me. Ben however, on August 31st 1995, was having his first sexual contact. Three years later and he got off a Greyhound bus and walked into my life. He has yet to leave. With 18 commemorations behind us, we look towards many more. The almost 2 decades we have known together have held laughter and tears. They have known struggle and they have known chaos. We remain through it all. No matter, they never seem to matter over the long run. It is a curious thing this thing called love. It never ceases to surprise me. I had never believed in such romantic notions regarding the love of your life or one's soul mate. I certainly would have argued, back then, that there are no second chances. I was wrong. I have been blessed with two distinct and life-changing partners. It seems love lies waiting and you don't even know it. Every August 31st holds a great dichotomy. The more the date passes, the further away I get from the pain of what happened with Doug . At the very same time, I have to look on the life I have now and remember just how fortunate I am. The world is both merciful and yet tragic. Every year, on the very same date, I find myself in deep contemplation. I find myself thinking of both the worlds that I have known and the loves that I have loved. There is no comparison as they are both so different yet they both mean so much.

 - 2000 and something
            There have not been many significant events on August 31st over the last 20 years or so. The day was already pretty full of hauntings and anniversaries and melancholy. There is much to them. Those things which bring joy to me on this day are muddled with longing and appreciation  and regret. This does not mean the day did not continue to bring its own complications. In 2000, a young man in his small car drove out from a Tim Horton's parking lot and smashed right into our 1984 red Firebird. It died a tragic death on Colborne Street in Ben's hometown of Brantford Ontario Canada. We replaced it with a white Sunbird which died on August 31st, 2002. In 2003, I was devastated to learn that Teddy, a large black chow, had to be put down after attacking a woman who was caring for him. I was heartbroken. He was a guard dog, after all. He was just another dog to everyone else but he helped me conquer my fear of large dogs. I had been severely bitten as a child by a large Irish Setter so initially I ran from the beast. So did everyone else. He was volatile, unpredictable and rather mean. I used chocolate chip cookies to soothe him. We eventually became wrestling buddies. My brown leather jacket has remnants of him chewing on my arm during play. I learned he was tender, he was fun but most of all his size did not determine his intent. It was all about how you treated him. To be frank, from what I know, that victim got what she deserved. It was unfair to put him down. If I had the ability to keep him at the time, I would have. I guess you can't save everyone.
            Over the last 15 years, August 31st has been a busy day. To commemorate the time I met Doug, I always try to make it to the cemetery in Strafford Ontario. Sometimes I go alone. Sometimes Ben comes with me. I just can't ignore this event. It gives me hope that somewhere in all the damage done, that Doug will somehow see my loyalty. It's the same loyalty I now have towards Ben. Whether before, or after, that visit to Avondale, we often spend our anniversary near the water in Port Burwell, on the north shore of Lake Erie. We prefer to mark the day in the sun rather than any lurking darkness. No matter, the day is never forgotten. It has in itself become a tradition.

- 2016

            I was told recently (by a person claiming to have a dialogue with God), that I would live to be 100 but only look 70. I can't begin to imagine this endeavour but I don't have issue with the looking younger part. I am good for that. If this is true, I will have experienced this life to the year 2065. This means 75 Augusts without Doug. I can't imagine how many with and then without Ben. Everyone I know, now, will be gone or well out the door by then. By the time I reach 100, I expect my calendar to be full. Every day will be a reminder of something. The marks on the paper will signify another goodbye and the echo of all my hellos. Moments that are full of happy and moments dark and sad. I will remember all the loving and the losing. I will remember, not so much because I am forced to, rather because I choose to. I suppose the hard cold reality is that no matter how much time we get, it is never ever enough. Commemorations simply help ground the experience so that we can choose not to forget.

            You have to learn to carry on. You can't survive if you're sitting in a corner screaming all the time. Suck it up, everyone else has to. Use the dates and times of your life not so much to recall but to reflect and in so doing, live a better life because of all the scribbling. Days are just days and anniversaries are just that too. What you do with them is all that really matters. In a strange way, marking the days of your life is just a simple way of recognising the things that matter most. It's hard enough surviving all the stuff (including God) that living brings to you without congesting the event with any long-term effect. Some things just are and the rest we turn into special occasions. The things in this life that happen to us, we are supposed to remember. They act like a guide, directing us through our experiences. Without them, we are left with only things. We should all know by now that the best things in life are not things. Life is contrived. You have to notice the connectivity with events and people. There is far too much coincidence to not see something purposeful in all these dates and occurrences. You have to gather all the lessons if you're going to find your way.

- 2065

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