Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Trekking through a Second-Degree Life

trekLiving a “second-degree” life can be deadly — so goes the hype posited by those in our culture who have decided that it is imperative to live what they may see as a “first-degree life,” or the “good life” if you will.   The purpose of such a life is in striving to reach certain personal or career goals in a particular length of time while consuming much, becoming influential, staying young, fit and beautiful, and amassing great wealth.   Much has already been written about the folly of pursuing a version of life that has the individual at the center of his or her own universe with every need and want gratified and their engagements with others reduced to the depth of an oil slick.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying that such individuals are “bad” or any worse they any other person on this planet.   In fact, when many who have pursued such a life finally become satiated with all the things they have achieved and are mourning the lack of meaningful relationships, they may actually turn altruistic and start giving back.

However, the reality is that most of us have lives where we don’t achieve some — or even most– of these life goals.  Many do not receive fortune, power, health, glory, love, or even a roof over their heads — no matter how much they strive.  Many are constantly being disappointed by situations and people and wonder if they will ever achieve anything worthwhile in their whole lives ever.   (I have actually thought this myself a few times).   Such is the second-degree life.

But that life is not all dark clouds and rain.  Many of us are simply called to persevere through the disappointments and trials of life and hope for the best.  The burdens we carry during our trek enables us to be compassionate and kind towards others who carry the same burdens.    Yes, there are times when I want to forego the character-development lessons that life tosses me and just not have to worry that I will have enough money to pay the bills.  However, most times I see that my disappointments with circumstances and people are for the best in the long run (“dodged a bullet” is an expression that comes to mind) and that my life’s purpose is simply to strive towards contentment.

There are even some who come to terms with such a life and actually achieve joy in it.  This is especially true for those who have a faith-tradition that urges them to focus not on the “whats” in life, but on the “Who”.  They walk through life with a peace and contentment that is sometimes beyond understanding.

Sometimes our purpose is simply being able to get out bed in the morning, put on our poker faces and play the hands we are dealt.  The goal is to do this with as much grace and dignity as possible and find joy and fulfillment along the path.

For me, that truly is a first degree life worthy of striving.

ljgloyd (c) 2016

 

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That Demon Drink

coffeeI make coffee for myself every morning.  I pop a k-cup into my fancy coffee-making machine and away I go.

Let me digress for a moment to say that I did not buy the fancy coffee-making machine.  It was sent to me at random by the fancy coffee-making machine company as a promotion.  Of course it was a ploy to suck me into buying their expensive coffee cartridges to go into the fancy coffee-making machine.  I fell for it.  Still, though, making it at home with this device does save me some money.  Fifty cents to a dollar per cup (depending if I have one of those blue and white 20% off coupons from my local home store chain).  Making coffee at home beats the price of the brew I would need to purchase at my local “green mermaid” coffee house.

Back on point:  as I said, I make coffee every morning.  I never forget to make it, but I have on certain occasions made the coffee and then left it on my kitchen counter as I go out the door.  What then follows is a period of intense condemnation on my part: “You idiot, you moron, you putz!”   Then comes the frantic scramble to find a replacement cup.  Usually I buy a cup from the canteen at work that costs even more than the cup from the green mermaid place.  Or worse, if I’ve gone to one of my relatives’ homes, I’ve reduced myself to consuming a cup made from instant coffee purchased at a dollar store.   Brrrr…….

Now I could wax all metaphoric and say that having my cup of good coffee is the same as doing a morning devotional practice:  it orients my day and gets me started on the right path. The problem with that notion is that a real spiritual practice shouldn’t involve  handling boiling liquids before one is fully awake.  I could also say that I need my morning joe to boost my creative output.  No, I’m not any better at writing with coffee than without it.

No, the truth of the matter is — and I’m sure you all have figured it out by now — I am a raging caffeine addict.

Yes, I admit it.  I confess it.  I beat my breast in anguish and self-loathing.

But I would like to add, as any true addict would, it isn’t all my fault.  See, I didn’t touch the stuff until I was about 35 when all the coffee houses started opening up.  It was innocent enough at first:  I started with the iced-blended mochas, then moved to lattes, then cappaccinos, finally ending with the straight up brew itself.  And not the mild stuff, but the deep, dark, rich, smoky roasted stuff that would eat through the bottom of the cup if I left it long enough (which I don’t).  Really hard-core stuff.  Yeah, my dealer is a mermaid and she made me a junkie.

And let’s not forget the aforementioned fancy coffee-making machine people and the “free” machine.  It’s like having a demon crouched in the corner of your kitchen.

Kick it, you say?  Ah, yes, nothing is more delightful than to face a full-on, mind-splitting caffeine headache at 11 a.m. when you are trying to hold down a job and get your work done.   Or worse, giving up coffee only to replace it with bottle after bottle of diet sodas or that sneaky, subtle little conveyor of caffeine they call tea.

At this point, I don’t know what to do except try to limit my coffee to a moderate amount, moderate being a 12 ounce cup in the morning followed by a 20 ounce in the afternoon purchased from one of my dealers.

Sigh.

I wonder if there is a 12-step program for caffeine addicts.

 

ljgloyd (c) 2016