Although most of you probably figure I’m just a quiet, well-adjusted old hermit living out in the boondocks with all the ups and downs of life fairly settled quietly into my guts, I’ve revealed parts of my life here to suggest otherwise. I’ve lived through enough emotional storms and shed enough skins to force me out of a lot of the usual hideyholes, to hold things up into the light and examine them.
But some things still come out in the dark of night. Some things are still damned difficult to accept. Pride, ego, and self-worth are powerful forces.
Around this time in 1992, I left a 25 year marriage and a 20 year career behind, along with dozens of long-time friends, pals, hunting partners, acquaintances, and both sides of a joint-family. I began a new career in Santa Fe, a new life. All secure in the knowledge the extended family and friends remaining behind were part of my life in which I’d been and remained, important.
All of which I eventually discovered was an illusion. For 2.5 decades I’d believed I was a vital part of those interactions and relationships. Kids, young adult nephews and neices I’d coddled and bounced on my knee peeled out of my life like layers of an onion. Most I never heard from again.
I was a long time realizing I’d merely been tolerated, been a piece of furniture in their lives. Tolerated because of my proximity to my ex-wife.
Even for a confident human being such as myself, it was a tough pill to swallow. I gradually rebuilt my life with a far deeper skepticism than I’d previously enjoyed concerning my own worth and my place in the lives of others.
Which resulted in my becoming a hermit. Or at least, contributed to my becoming a hermit. I no longer assume I’m important in the lives of other human beings and get my satisfaction in knowing I’m at least important to the cats. Because cats, though sometimes dishonest, aren’t capable of the depth and duration of dishonesty humans indulge constantly.
For me, all of this distilled emerges as a statement I spent at least 25 years of a 70 year live being insignificant in the lives of others. And a painful awareness that life is entirely too important and too short to be wasted in insignificance. A determination in the direction of significance measured in teaspoons of reality, as opposed to 55-gallon drums of dishonesty and self-delusion.
Teaspoons measured in contracts with cats not equipped to lie. Teaspoons, I find, don’t spill away as much life in the discovery when they’re found to be just another ego-wart of pride and self-importance.
None of us are terribly important. It’s an odd realization. I remember things from a long time ago, and people, but most often they don’t remember me. It doesn’t trouble me but it does make me wonder what people observe.
elroyjones: I think most of us don’t observe much. Makes me edgy when I notice my cats observing too much, though. Gracias, J
I know of at least a few people who find you extremely significant to their lives and love you dearly and deeply, much more ocean sized than that of a puny 55 gallon drum. It may be that we really need to learn the full scope of insignificance ourselves so that we may learn to love others, with significance. And may be why they came along later in your life to be with you today.
I call the warts, scares. For sometime I’ve known that we have a lot in common. I don’t live as a hermit life, but so much you say hits home. So much of me admires your lifestyle. I have often referred to Old Jules in conversations with others.
A few years ago we made a move that took us away from family and friends, and like you we soon found that we were no longer a part of their lives — maybe it had always been an illusion. I guess it says something about humanity.
I too love cats. Our cat, Kika, was a part of our move.
Hang in there and keep blogging.
kenneturner: Glad you came by. Gracias, J
elroyjones – Most people observe little more than themselves. If you have a Facebook account and are friends with anyone of high school or college age, particularly women, look at how many dozen headshots they have posted of themselves taken by themselves with smartphones. They’re all essentially the same photo, over and over and over again. Who, except the exceedingly narcissistic, does that?
Instead of one society where hundreds, thousands or millions of people interact, we’re increasingly becoming millions of separate societies where ego is paramount and the wishes and will of others are nothing more than obstacles to be overcome.
Jules – At least you’re wise enough to get self-worth from inside, rather than from folks who toss aside extended friendships like week-old newspapers. I’ve been down that path, as well, my friend, and it’s an eye-opener.
Cotton Boll: Thanks for the visit and the observations. Gracias, J
Hi CBC, it’s a sad state of affairs when everyone wants to get and no one wants to give.
elroyjones: Even though you directed this to Cotton Boll, I’d interject the observation that allowing it to be sad doesn’t leave much room in the human experience for anything but sadness. Human beings are just human beings and they haven’t decided yet that being human beings ain’t anything to brag about. But nobody much would know where too go in order to find a great leap forward anyway, if they did decide it. In the end each of our lives is about each of the ones living those lives. The only incentives for not sticking up convenience stores, becoming rage killers, soldiers, bankers and CEOs is whatever selfish satisfaction we can bring ourselves by being something else. Those satisfactions aren’t universally obvious, I expects. Gracias, J
I remember being encouraged to share my time and practically everything else when I was a kid. At the time I didn’t see the benefit in it. As time wore on I understood the value in sharing my time and whatever resources I might have, it made me feel good. It’s circular logic and with selfish satisfaction!
The thing that is sad about the state of affairs is little joys get overlooked when the focus is on the next big thing.
I am so pleased that you are back.
elroyjones: I’m enjoying the blog again my ownself. Sharing is probably more difficult for adults than kids when the stakes get larger, I reckons. Gracias, J
Well, I think you’ve just explained why I like my own company so much.
Hi Trapper Gale. I’m thinking you knew already why you liked it. Gracias, J
I hear and understand every bit of this Jules. In the big scheme of things all of us are no more than piss ants in time.
I will say this though – a few weeks ago I returned to where I had worked for 20 years. Almost two years had passed. It was nice to see people most of which there had been no contact with genuinely happy to see me and I them as well.
Hi one fly: Glad your trip was a good one. Gracias, J
Jules, I do understand how you are feeling. You reminded me that ten years ago next month I lost my husband of 39 years. The closeness of his family, who live next door faded over the next couple of years and three years later when I married again my mother-in-law of over half my life informed me I was no longer part of the family.. When Thanksgiving came I showed up at the family get together, a tradition of over 40 years which my children were invited to (my new husband and I weren’t). I was told by her she figured I had other plans. The next Thanksgiving he and I had his children and mine for the celebration and left Mom to celebrate with one third of her family missing, yet, in the same town.
Now that she is gone I am wondering if my children will be remembered when the home is sold….we’ll see. It would not surprise me if they don’t get their Dad’s share of the inheritance.
There is only One that we can count on to care, no matter what, whether we live or die. That is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for Him every time people remind me how little I mean to them.
Google messed with the program and I have missed weeks of your writing. It will take me a while to catch up on them. It won’t be until I return from my class reunion. Blessings. M
Mary: Sounds as though you’ll be back from that class reunion with a renewed Portales to consider. Those folks are getting old down there. Thanks for coming by. Gracias, J
I’m comfortable in my own skin and enjoy my own company. My family still needs me but I do fine on my own and what you have said is doubtless true. My cat Lady G. is my favourite companion.
LCTC! Comfort in our own skins and enjoyment of our own company might be good enough to qualify as unique. Gracias, J
And all this time, I thought it was just me…or the rest of the world, depending on the mood of the day.
Hi Ann. The rest of the world can’t afford to depend on moods, though it tries. Gracias, J
We are only as important as we wish to be and make ourselves, humans are but a transient speck on earth, in the solar system, Milky Way the universe at large. It is our vanity and narcissism that render us self value and importance. Your moment of truth of 21 years ago is a witness to your realizing that you and the rest of us are creatures of a moment, a point in time. Running away did not add any value to you or the cats just helped you feel sorry for yourself and deprived yourself of creature comforts.
Hi Leanpower. Thanks for the visit. I appreciate your viewpoint. Actually, if it hadn’t been for my running away 21 years ago [for reasons I still believe were more than adequate, if too long past due] I’d never have known the flaws in my perceptions. As for the rest, you’re in no position to know, other than what you’ve read in this blog and interprete based on some map of your own mind and experience. My value to the Universe didn’t change before and after, but my value to myself did significantly enough to render it all worthwhile. In addition to all the other life experience that followed as a consequence of the first. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, any part of it, and I’m grateful for every moment of it. Thanks for the reply. Jack
Keep your powder dry and your head down is always good advise.
Cats: I live for cats. I can really see why the Egyptians worshiped them as gods or dieties. I have at least 4 on my room now and a couple more adrift in the house and it is 1:00 AM.
I have Mlie, who is a wonderful fat, short legged calico cat sleeping right next to me at the hip. she is my love. Nibbler a hefty black and white with a business suit on at all times. Great cat who loves me and head butts me in the face at night: probably wants treats. Loves the hand held back or leg vibrator to use on his spine. Keep me busy.
Hunter is on the top of the cat tree. He is the Alpha in the house until Sparky gets a bit older and bigger. Hunter is the boss but very kind and the trainer of new cats and guardian of the yard, he is grey and white short hair, mostly. I used to say he was my familiar. We always went out together at nights as I took pictures in the yard in the dark and got many thousands of pix of orbs and stuff and one of a Deva or fairy according to a lady from the dowsing site. I printed that one out a couple of times and carry the picture on my computer desktop. It is hard to deny what you see. We have had some unusual experiences out there: Hunter and I. Lots of stories there.
Buddy, my gift from God , long story, is sleeping on my computer chair. He is a huge long hair about 20 lbs or more. Feels like picking up a 2 year old.. Great and kind cat. He follows me around with Hunter even if a lot more slowly due to his bulk.
There are 3 or 4 more: Sam, Smokey,
Sparky, and Kuhmi.
But we have a serious visitor that
may replace Chloe a golden long haired cat that died within the last month. This visitor is “THE GREY LADY.” And she came packing and took over the deck, then garage, and now the shower in the bathroom with her 4 new babies. Perhaps one or two may have their eues open.
So there is never a dull moment here. Hope you don’t mind the story braggin’ on my kids.
I also had the “friend” experience and can say that I really have none outside of my wife and minister, DaleTolly, who is with Habitat for Humanity and part time minister for our church and a good renovator as a few areas of my house can attest. But if I don’t call folks, no one calls. I guess that doesn’t say much for me. We’re heading out to a 50 year high school reunion in a week or so and we’ll see who is left.
Is this too long to post?
Live Long & Prosper,
Hi Chuck… Cheeze I’m glad I don’t have 21 cats. Glad you’ve got’em. Jack
Without any prompting by media or books, do we ever give much thought to Warren G. Harding, or Alexander Hamilton? They were big shots in their day and age.
Hi Swabby: A president without a war has a problem being remembered, I reckons. If those guys could have gotten the US fighting itself on local battlefields they’d have monuments erected in their honor. Gracias, J
In your relationship with old Sol, it must have come up that he watches the goings on here from a comfortable distance of 93 million miles. You have not said much about the Moon which is merely a reflection of sunlight, but it resides much closer at a quarter of a million miles. In conjunction with our own position on the face of the Earth, these two celestial bodies enable us to triangulate our insignificance much more accurately.
With a population of over seven billion now, our species as a whole is much more significant. To some, we are more like an infestation. We have only one cat that often demands the attention of several. However, we also have neighbors like raccoon, skunk, ground hogs, bear, deer, turkey, crow and numerous other birds, and the latest visitor is rabbit. We live at the edge of the “wild” and notice that these animals usually do not venture much beyond our yard. They are not too impressed with our brand of civilization, unless we leave them treats in our garbage. However, these neighbors are generally more polite than the human kind.
I prefer insignificance and people with poor powers of observation. I hope to NOT be noticed by a growing population of people with aberrant notions garnered from their virtual reality lives. I do appreciate encountering people who have some sense of presence in reality, so I am glad I came by for the read.
Hi Steve: Glad you came by too. That old moon’s seen a lot of species come and go. Got a feeling it isn’t much impressed with humankind. Insignificance, thinks I, is its own reward. At leas in my life. The coons and skunks will have to fend for themselves. Gracias, J
This is about the most touching piece I’ve ever seen from you (and there have been a-plenty). Very honest, and very well done.
Troy P: Thanks and thanks for coming by. Jack
My experience is that people often live a life of routine. If they work together and like each other, they may go off for a couple of beers after work, or invite one another on a mutual adventure. But as much as they care for one another… and sometimes they really do, if circumstances separate them, it’s so easy to get caught up in another routine, that you don’t even realize that a year has gone by without seeing that old friend.
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