Have you ever felt alone while completely surrounded by people?
I feel this way all the time actually. Most recently I’ve felt very lost and alone while at the same time surrounding myself more and more, with more and more people. I’ve enjoyed being invited to speak to people at various conventions, award ceremonies, campaign events, rallies and webcasts, and I love [almost] all of you, but I forgot that I’m actually an introvert at heart.
I like people and like being around them, but I find it exhausting and I need some alone time to recharge my batteries and think. Fortunately my wife took the kids to Natchitoches this weekend to visit with family and to see their Christmas festival and fireworks so I got some much needed respite from anyone but my cat and dog and some home projects I’ve been neglecting for far too long.
My house was a wreck, and still is to some extent, but isn’t it always so liberating when you finally resolve to do something and make some actual progress?
I ripped up some old dusty carpets in my son’s room and left it a barren wasteland of stacked furniture and broken Legos, but I feel a whole lot better about it. It’s now a clean slate to write upon with future flooring possibilities. I also tossed a lot of old junk I’d been keeping around for lord knows what.
I’m kind of a packrat. I hate to throw anything out that might be conceivable useful in some absurd doomsday scenario in my head. . . what if all the nails are gone from all the hardware stores all at once and I am faced with an assorted size nail emergency?
What if I find someone who just needs the trays from the burned up food dehydrator and they have to dehydrate food right away for an imminent health food convention!?!? They will be so thankful that I saved ours under that computer desk all these years!
Sure the kids broken the slide off their swing set, but if I decide to build a new swing set I might be able to add an extra slide to it, or maybe I can just set it up as a designated Hot Wheels stunt ramp for my son. . .
You get the picture. It wasn’t a pretty one, and my neighbors now have to wait until Thursday for all that well intentioned rubbish to be removed.
After I cleaned out the house I found that my mind was a little cleaner too. There was so much accumulation (in my mind and my house) it was hard too know what to do first. I had to alter my perceptions a bit to suppress my desire to hang onto everything. Instead of worrying so much about the future, I had to focus on the here and now – the present.
I’ve been feeling more and more like that’s how my writing has become lately; a bunch of well-intentioned rubbish I’ve been writing for other people and not for myself. I’ve been squirreling away hundreds of leads on dozens of stories, but so many that I was having trouble keeping track of them all. I’ve been having trouble finding the time to write about everything that needs writing. My inability to select a single topic has reduced me to writing about nothing.
I partly blame this on myself and my decision to enter politics. When I originally wrote my pieces for my blog I was writing whatever I wanted, what I felt needed to be written, and I was not worrying about whom I offended. Now that I participate in so many Facebook groups and discussions I find it harder to keep track of everyone’s alliances, contributions, accomplishments, or positions they refuse to compromise on. I worry more and more if what I will say or write will be taken out of context and maligned by others who may have their own agendas, and sometimes these are my allies. I’m used to enemies doing this, but things get a lot more complicated when folks you think are on your side start to question you and your motivations.
So this weekend I was able to re-center myself. I was allowing myself to be too influenced by worrying about the opinions of others, or what I perceived those opinions to be. I was not writing for myself and my creativity and inspiration suffered as a result. I also believe this compromised my mission. I didn’t realize that until I reassessed what my mission was.
My mission is to get to the truth and reveal it so others can make informed decisions.. Getting to the truth needs to be my guiding principle going forward, regardless of who claims to own that truth or whom it empowers or whom it diminishes in the short term.
When you rationalize the shading of information, the withholding of information, or outright lies you embark on a slippery slope. It’s easy to become accidentally corrupted when trying to use the argument that the means justifies the ends. I would argue that it’s inevitable.
I think that is probably the primary problem with our political system today. We have Democrats and Republicans, for the most part both sides are well intentioned, but both sides are demonizing the other and lying about themselves about their own success, records, and motivations in the pursuit of power. I think both sides sincerely believe this will be for the betterment of their fellow countrymen and country, but I think they’ve lost track of the truth in the process. Without truth, without honest measurements and feedback, how can anyone be sure which way we are going, or if it’s the right way?
When pilots fly into a fog, as John F Kennedy Jr. did on his way to Martha’s Vineyard in 1999, they have to rely on their navigational instruments to know which way they are going. When those instruments don’t work or the pilots fail to understand how to read them, even if they know which way they started out, they have no way of knowing when they get there, or if some factor buffeted them off course. Pilots even have to rely on their instruments telling them which way is up and down.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the plane had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard, the probable cause being pilot error: “Kennedy’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation. Kennedy was not qualified to fly a plane by “instruments only.” The crash occurred in conditions not legally requiring such qualification. Other pilots flying similar routes reported no visual horizon due to haze.[
I want my political leaders to keep this in mind as I have resolved to do. The journey is just as important as the destination. You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know which way you are going. If you don’t have access to truthful information, you fully understand, you might crash when you get there, just as John F Kennedy Jr. did on July 16th, 1999. But when you are a political leader, you’re not just crashing a plane by yourself, you may be bringing along your wife, your sister and all your constituents and their families too.