Sunday, February 13, 2005

Chasing the Wind

On Today's Menu: Empty Popovers

Time managers tell us we need to write down the things we wish to accomplish. Those of us thirty-somethings who wear lots of hats would spend more time writing than getting things done. Really. Take this blog, for instance.

I thought maybe once or twice a week would be good. After all, I lead a fairly busy and uninteresting life, so I figured I could share my thoughts or highlights. Even people with uneventful lives have something interesting on occasion.

But life has sped by and it's been nearly two weeks--two weeks--since I've posted. Hmmmm...does that mean I have nothing to say? Or is it just I'm too busy living to lift out something quirky and interesting?

Aha, here's something. Not quirky, but interesting to me in my thirty-something travels.

We hosted my niece's 21st birthday party last night with family and friends. I can't believe it's been 16 years since I had a 21st birthday party. I'm not a drinker, never have been, so the "ooh-let's-go-get-snockered-because-it's-legal" aspect of turning 21 didn't hold any interest for me. I thought I knew so much at 21. (Ha! I say now).

If I could have pulled Tiff aside and shared some things with her, I'd tell her not to run to the clubs for fun. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with my friends, but what happens when you wake up the next morning?

We live in such an instant gratification society that holds excess in esteem. Bigger, better, faster, more, thinner, lighter, tastier, richer, thicker, slower--let's find the top and go over it!

In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, the writer speaks of "chasing after the wind." Plus, there is nothing new under the sun. Tiff, at 21, the world is at your feet. But listen to the words of a wise yet sad king:

"I said to myself, Let's go for it--experiment with pleasure, have a good time! But there was nothing to it, nothing but smoke. What do I think of the fun-filled life? Insane! Inane!

My verdict on the pursuit of happiness? Who needs it? With the help of a bottle of wine and all the wisdom I could muster, I tried my level best to penetrate the absurdity of life. I wanted to get a handle on anything useful we mortals might do during the years we spend on this earth.

I Never Said No to Myself, Oh, I did great things: built houses, planted vineyards, designed gardens and parks and planted a variety of fruit trees in them, made pools of water to irrigate the groves of trees. I bought slaves, male and female, who had children, giving me even more slaves; then I acquired large herds and flocks, larger than any before me in Jerusalem. I piled up silver and gold, loot from kings and kingdoms. I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and--most exquisite of all pleasures--voluptuous maidens for my bed.

Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What's more, I kept a clear head through it all.

Everything I wanted I took--I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task--my reward to myself for a hard day's work!

Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing."

Sounds like the cravings I spoke of last time, wanting more and more, and never satisified. Solomon realized that with everything, he was still a son of Adam. Tiff, you can only reach so far. Temporary things are just that--temporary.

Eve's Daughter

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