Distracted by TV, and the charming Nicolas Cage even though it was his role in Ghost Rider 2, a movie exploring fascism and the occult (that was broadcast on the notoriously violent English language OCN network) that he was probably forced to take on because of his well known exorbitant personal financial debts, I went to sleep a bit later than I should have, but probably only around 11:00 last night. The agitated state produced by this violent movie, not to mention two glasses of wine with dinner, and the suspense of the story kept me tossing a turning for perhaps 20 minutes, but I did eventually sleep soundly.
I awoke at my usual time, between six and six-thirty, but I was determined to go back to sleep. I did and got up close to 7:30 a.m.
Proceeding to launch into my usual morning routine with cutesy computer games after washing my face with cold water, I turned on the monitor but it was left on TV mode. I began by viewing a documentary on hiking Baekwan Mountain near Busan, which was filmed in the spring time and featured terrain and people quite familiar to me, so was therefore quite pleasurable.
I did prepare a mug of coffee, as usual. I then watched some news for a while instead of opening up the games. Once caught up with recent developments, like seeing the US’ pronouncements about the Nigeria kidnapping and the Ukraine, and seeing officials of Nigeria, the Ukraine and Russia interviewed, then being presented with the South African national election results, I switched over to PC mode to get into the games.
However, I got into writing right away. What stared, or even glared at me from the screen first was an incomplete anecdote of my autobiographical work, “Confessions”, left open since the point of shutdown yesterday morning. It seemed to be pleading with me to finish it. I therefore abandoned my morning routine to delve into completing the anecdote.
To refresh your memory, the “Confessions” is an autobiography of anecdotes of ordinary daily situations in my life when I typically feel like a klutz. The intention is to produce something comical for publication, while examining my experience and insecurities in completing normal daily tasks and studying what happens in the course of mundane life practices and how I feel about it.
I have often felt very klutzy and manual tasks. I do not think I am the most physically well coordinated person. Sometimes, the situations where I feel klutzy strike me as quite comical when I get over the embarrassment, shame and discomfort and reflect on what has transpired. I have therefore been thinking of writing about them, and accomplishing the second goal of producing something humorous on my record as a writer.
I bring up the writing because I was thinking about this method of recording and reviewing one’s own life from this angle of picking apart the fine details of ordinary activities. It is a form of journal writing.
This morning, I was thinking about the benefits of exploring the mundane. I decided to write about it in this blog entry because it is a form of reflection and critique as are other kinds of journals. Exploring the mundane is also a voyage of discovery as is other journal writing. I mean you can learn about yourself, the society and humans that way. I chose to write about the benefits of writing about the mundane and linking it to my work on reflecting on the job and process of journal writing in this phase of Volume Two in my blog called, “A Year of Living Positively.”
Though I do not prefer to get involved in this kind of mental work first thing in the morning because it can leave me feeling dull minded and drained the whole day, I was eager to think and complete the particular anecdote that lay on the drawing board at that moment, so to speak. The anecdote was about swimming in a public pool, and how I behave in public change rooms. I walked through the details of my attitude and movement entailed in going for a swim, hopefully to create a humorous that way, and find something out. That kind of detailed laborious work is draining, which I don’t like to do it first thing in the morning before eating and getting by just on coffee. I finished the task after ten o’clock without even taking my pill for hypothyroidism or getting a second up of coffee. I felt drained and foggy-eyed, though good from accomplishing the work.
I still feel drained, as it is now almost noon and I have not yet eaten a thing, but I want to write my thoughts on this subject down right away. I had a break and played on the games, but it is still hard to reflect at this point.
Munching on some porridge with sunflower seeds and raisins is helping me to recall the rest of the points that I wanted to make here in this blog today. One point is that I am aware that I often play a narration of what I am doing inside my head as I go through the motions of executing mundane tasks that I feel I do not perform so well. That is funny as journal writing is a narration. At times, it is like a third person, my alter ego or something talking to me telling me what is going on from the perspective of a third person. That is really interesting. It is as if I have been journal writing a lot throughout my life already, and finally the realization has crystallized and been realized in that I am consciously and actually writing a journal about myself.
Another point is that the reality of our personality and character, our true self, becomes exposed through the writing of mundane practices with a strategy of not just exploring the behaviour but also the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt that occur in the moment. It is strange that I am unconcerned about revealing my vulnerability and self-doubt, not to mention klutziness, by describing them in detail and publishing them. That hints at an evolution of myself, a maturation and acquired strength. It is perhaps also an outcome of maturing in terms of age, in that we let a lot of concerns go because it takes up too much time and energy in life, and we want to think more positively to use our remaining time on this Earth well and reap what more we can out of life before we die. We, the 50 plus set, are more ready and prone to make confessions and deliberately reveal our true selves, as we realize things looking back at our life and are forced to concede at least some of the reality of our predicament of humans confined to a set of circumstances and limited by a history, genetics and personality patterns. At this point in life, we the middle aged and senior citizens need to let it out of the bottle and relax more about life, in order to enjoy life more and experience more, I guess.
Interesting in that this process coincides with the Christian view of approaching death and crossing the threshold into the afterlife. Am I going through this process and having this conception of it because of my Christian upbringing and environment, or did the Christian view come out of a shared exposure and interpretation of this late-life transformation?
Do most people in the fall and winter years desire to confess? Do they want to make a record and come to terms with how they have thought and lived, and the effects their life choices and relationships, I wonder? I am sure I have observed this tendency in real and fictional characters around me.
What it comes down to, I suppose, is that many of us, if not most, want to see some good come out of our life experience. We want to know that we have not squandered out time on this Earth, and that some people appreciate us and will remember us. We want to leave a legacy. Where and whenever we see our mistakes, we want redemption because we want to feel good when we die. We want to avoid feeling unnoticed when we die. We want to avoid knowing that we have made bad choices without rectifying any of the damage that has consequently occurred because of them. We want to know that we achieved something in life. We want to die in peace, satisfied.
Reflecting on our actions may allow us to see better and that is one reason for writing journals, as I have said before. In reviewing our life and actions, it could happen that we suddenly see that something we thought was meaningless mundane activity bore no consequences, when it has affected others greatly. That can be a wonderful or a horrible thing, depending on the kind of consequences. We can also begin to see meaning in the mundane where we thought there was none, which is part of the process of discovering and seeing one’s own culture as much as it is discovering and seeing one’s own individuality and individual behaviour. It can give us insight into our relationships, so that we can have the opportunity to speak and clarify something or reconcile or correct something before we pass. We may have time to make recommendations to others—privately, to a small circle of people who know us, or publically or officially to others.
One of my life goals is to die in peace. I have just realized that journal writing is one way by which to assure that I do.
It is also a way to become a better person, and improve your actions and interactions in time to be acknowledged in a more positive light. More importantly, it is an opportunity to do more good and help people in some way, big or small, before you leave this world. It is also an opportunity and see the positive in your actions and experiences, and life in general, which in turn can make one feel better about living and passing on.