Everything is just borrowed

Everything is borrowed.

I came to this world with nothing
And I leave with nothing but love
Everything else is just borrowed.

The Streets

 

Some days, maybe when I’m feeling a little low and tired and vulnerable I weigh up my life, the success and the failures of it and try to use some kind of moral weighing scale to ask if there’s evidence of my having done good, of having been good. I can rustle up a list of the shitty things I’ve done over the years, times I’ve said and done things which I cringe about now. At times I was stupid, selfish, cold and lost. And yet there are other times I can think about my trying to be a good person, to be the “best” version of me, of my being kind and thoughtful and generous and open. Which me is real? Which me is the one I should focus on and advocate for, which me should I promote?

In truth I’m a complex mix of dualities, I’m good and bad, kind and cruel and I’m making choices all the time, some days I should make better choices.

I believe I arrived here in this world with core aspects of me already in tact, aspects shaped by past lives, by journeys I’ve had and by my star sign and by the cosmos. I arrived here at the appointed day and hour to undergo a journey and there were lessons I needed to learn from being around the people who I spent my formative years with, family, friends, teachers. I didn’t arrive as a blank slate, I’m on a mission of learning and I’m being shaped by everything that happens to me, much of it is unconscious and affects me in ways I cannot comprehend.

As I grow older I’ve less and less desire or interest in the consumerist culture we are encouraged to participate in. What matters is connection, relationship with people, experiencing emotion as part of feeling alive but also knowing this is finite, I will die. Life was underway before I arrived and it will continue after I have gone and I try to remember this everyday, not because I’m morbid but because I hope it supports me to make better choices, it opens up my ability to see beyond the immediate and to question whether in the sum total of my life, will this thing that I’m doing, saying, wanting, denying, ranting about, will it really matter.

Ordinary Day

Joyce Grenfell

It felt like an ordinary morning
It began an ordinary way
And then, without warning
Ordinary morning became an extraordinary day.

Hadn’t the slightest sort of inklin
No-one said love was on its way
And then within a twinkling
Without the smallest inkling
It became an extraordinary day.

For there you were
And the whole world stood still.
There you were,
I loved you then and I always will

At first, an ordinary morning,
Began in an ordinary way,
And then my heart was beating
At this ordinary meeting
And we both knew

This was not an ordinary day.

The Doors of Perception

Aldous Huxley

“The man who comes back through the door in the wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend”

But you didn’t…

Merrill Glass

Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it?
I thought you’d kill me…
But you didn’t.

Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was
formal, and you came in jeans?
I thought you’d hate me…
But you didn’t.

Remember the times I’d flirt with
other boys just to make you jealous, and
you were?
I thought you’d drop me…
But you didn’t.

There were plenty of things you did to put up with me,
to keep me happy, to love me, and there are
so many things I wanted to tell
you when you returned from
Vietnam…
But you didn’t.

 

Aubade

Philip Larkin

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.