Monkey Minding

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Shuffling between laundry room and recliner I attempt to rid the linens of daily grime, while spinning my brain, as if thrown in the dryer, for a few fibrous thoughts that might end up in the lint catcher. The only thing I’m feeling is agitated and damp, it’s not going well, maybe I need to hang out on line for a while? Let the breeze do it’s thing.

Okay, I’ve wrung this one out for sure.

At least I get my first paragraph down before my attention starts to falter, and I’m dragged into a barrel of monkeys so to speak, reverting to some pre-evolutionary monkey mind. It’s my weakness. Hilary Mantel says, “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be.” Too late, I not only called my sister, but my daughter, and my manicurist who was much more sympathetic and accommodating!

“What do I mean by weakness? A profound sense of inability, both to do and protect even after great effort, to author, perform, effect what we have wanted or with the success we would have wanted, an inability to secure one’s own future, to protect oneself, to live with clarity and assurance or to ward off shame and suffering.” Rev. Michael J. Buckley, S.J.

I start ingratiating myself with fellow midlife bloggers on-line because it’s a totally legitimate use (waste) of time. Socrates called it akrasia, as in acting against your better judgment, doing one thing even though you know you should do something else.

The truth is I’m trying to make friends with “other” midlife bloggers, some refer to it as networking, but I’m having trouble breaking into this exclusive clique. I feel like I’m back in high school trying out for the cheer squad, but I end up as an alternate (someone they use when a sickness occurs), feeling marginalized much?

And then to top it all off I found out there is a list. That’s right, a list of the top 100 midlife bloggers, all you have to do is submit your blog, and they’ll decide if you make the list or not, then for an additional fee they’ll mingle for you on social media, as if a dating service for bloggers?

I’m sort of stunned. Why haven’t I never heard of this list before? What the hell? It’s like the best kept secret in Twitter Town. It’s as if I’m washing my dedicates by hand, and everyone else is going to the fancy new cleaners. Their linens come back refreshed, folded, and boxed while my wrinkled garments get thrown unceremoniously into the cupboard (I can’t stop spinning the laundry theme). Deal with it.

I want to be listed! You can’t see, but I’m pouting as if a two-year-old, who’s been refused dessert before dinner.

I waiver, credit card in hand (which I don’t need because I have the card memorized – for emergencies of course), fingers hovering over the numbered keys. I’ve never been good at resisting temptation.

Wait a minute, wait a damn minute, it’s as if I’ve been soaking in the pre-wash cycle for too long, all I’ve ever wanted was to make a list, any list, but I thought it would require brilliant verbiage, a post gone viral, or Glennon Doyle’s stamp of approval, not my visa?

I was under the impression the noblest blogging practices meant improving myself so my blog, as if suds, rose to the top of the drum (Keep reading, I promise I will stop).

I slip my card back in my wallet, the list might be out of reach for now, but my ethics remain intact. I can always sign up later if need be, I add the site to my favorites, because at the very least I plan on stalking the top ten bloggers!

“Maybe you get caught up in the little things because you are really trying to distract yourself from having to deal with the big things. Maybe it’s avoidance.” Akiroq Brost

It seems I’m always waiting for some form of distraction to pass, or laundry cycle to end, before I actually get down to my work. C.S. Lewis says the only people who achieve much are those who want something so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable, and he should know, he suffered a war injury, and was confounded by the nature of God, but despite all this he published over thirty books, and to date the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies.

And as far as I know he was not on some confounded list! Lewis said, “true humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Ouch.

Writing my way up the list was more of what I had in mind, but damn, it’s tempting – only $9.99 a month – that’s a couple of coffees, or as Erik Pevernagie warns, consumption can be a remedy against boredom and may convey a sense of fictitious power and supremacy, by standing out from the crowd through the extravagance of the expenditure. And then there’s that.

As I argue with myself I consider a little Socratian advice (cuz I can), he had distractions, the poor guy was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens (for some reason I can relate), and they sentenced him to death.  Socrates said she who is not contented with what she has, would not be contented with what she would like to have. I have to get a grip, it’s a list, not a death sentence. Socrates was so chill, he spent his final days with friends, before drinking the executioner’s cup of poisonous hemlock, and went to his death with calmness and poise. But I digress.

Thank God the dryer went off and slapped me back to reality, as I fold the sheets, I realize I don’t need a list to validate my work, although it would be a source of great pride, and at last give me something to brag about, but as Socrates warned, if you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament or in my case my punishment.

So here’s my delicate conclusion, be true to thine own self, and as Socrates claims the secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. Like washers and dryers, capacity only matters if you have a lot of dirty laundry, and as we know an unwashed life is not worth living.

Post Blog Update – I got an email today, it appears that I made the Top 100 Midlife Bloggers List without using my visa as status, sadly I’m listed at 103, more like an alternative, we’ll just call it a wash! 

Anecdotes:

  • “Computers are quiet and clean and totally distracting because the Internet is there, lying in wait for a moment of weakness to pounce on your creativity and progress.” Arlaina Tibensky
  • “My insanity begged for a distraction. ” Shannon A. Thompson
  • “Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible, then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.” Franz Kafka

 

 

 

12 Comments

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  1. For the record, dear friend, your blog is the only one I follow AND read when it arrives in my inbox. Which makes you #1 on my top 100 list of middle-aged bloggers. ❤️🙌🏻❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This warms my heart, writing can be an extraordinarily clarifying practice as we learned from Nancy, but when someone actually connects with my thoughts it’s so validating. I’m honored Susan! Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Collene! It was not easy but I’m glad I held out! Browsing through the list I do recognize some of my favorite blogs so maybe their rating systems bears some merit? Who knows? At the very least it’s a place to identify bloggers that we want to interact with and support. I so appreciate you comment! All my best.

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  2. Great read, I’m also a blogger, not in the same niche as you but I’ve been scammed a lot in the beginning before I realized how dumb I was. There’s a ton to learn. You’re kicking butt so just keep pushing and it will pay off!!

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  3. Love this read! And the barrel of monkeys. Your writing style is so amusing and unique. I think you can carve out your own category– skip the list. If it’s free, of course, then I’d say accept a slot 😉 Thank you for sharing the fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ana! I had fun writing this one even with all those pesky distractions! I suppose this is an issue for many people whether you’re a creative type or not? Getting down to the business of focusing is often a struggle no matter what you are trying to accomplish. What I find interesting is the routines people come up with to overcome their inability to focus! I for one am a fan of the endless coffee and ginger snaps. Thanks for the comment Ana!

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  4. Oh Cheryl, your writing makes me laugh even though your underlying message is serious. That is serious talent. You don’t need a list to say so, and for sure not a $9.99 a month list! I’ve been blogging for 18 years and I have never seen such a list! The idea of it makes me nervous. Not sure how I came across your blog, but I’m glad I did. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cynthia, I woke up to your comment, thank you, I consider this a sign that I’m about to have a most spectacular day! I too am thrilled to have found you! I have your Lily White novel and throughly enjoy your style of writing! Your encouragement is heart warming!

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  5. Hi!
    Thanks for giving me a thoughtful post to read while chilling in a deer blind.
    Welcome to the seedy world of internet prioritizing. The old days it was a little payola for the Radio DJ to play the song you wrote. As time has evolved, it has become more above board. You don’t pay to be on the list but there is a processing fee for all their troubles. Now that they know you are interested, they have teased you with being on the wait list. Don’t fall for it, unless you want to consider it part of your marketing budget (since it is part of your “hobby,” expense is no object.
    Now back to your post. The quest for happiness is a tough one. I agree, be happy with who you are. Be all about family and friends. Make the world a better place. Be thankful. However, be really careful about overdoing the happy with who you are and what you have thing. It can be taken to extremes. The true state of not caring about anything or anyone can lead to a total slacker life/world, leading to emptiness and a lack of purpose. This is exemplified by the lyrics of Greenday’s Slacker anthem, Jesus of Suburbia. “I don’t care if you don’t care.”
    “And there’s nothing wrong with me
    This is how I’m supposed to be
    In a land of make believe
    That don’t believe in me.”
    Can you imagine a world where everyone was content with doing nothing? No reason to get up. No reason to work. No reason to have kids. May as well drink the hemlock.

    I did see how you misquoted Socrates. I don’t think he was that gender aware.
    But he did say “By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” Substitute gender options of choice.
    Anyway thanks again. Always love your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, this is really good, I’m picturing you sitting in a folding chair like contraption, strapped to the trunk of a towering tree, reading a post about monkey minds – anyone else find that hysterical?

      Wondering how many deer have ventured past your blind, if you’ve had any good shots, or maybe enjoyed a quick nap nestled (strapped) to your tree, the stillness of November, the chill? Hopefully you have some spirits to keep you warm?

      I’m sitting shotgun on the long journey home from the lake, wearing my Ugg slippers, responding to your comments on my phone, excuse the typos!

      I’ve received several emails from the “top 100 midlife bloggers list, asking if I would like to upgrade now that I made the list? No worries I’m not falling for it!

      I think you’re on to something here balancing the extremes in life, I think it was Plato who came up with the idea of finding the mean, situating yourself between extremes, finding that middles ground between deficit and excess. I sort of agree. Although I did marry a good man I like to dabble in philosophical banter!

      I agree with your stance on a life without purpose not being worth living. Finding our purpose is the trick and having the courage to pursue said interests is such a privilege! May we all be so lucky!

      Hope the hunting was good Mike! Thanks for keeping entertained on the long journey home…

      Liked by 1 person

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