Present Tense

Reset, reboot….reject

resetWhat if we all had a reset button? Maybe in the middle of our forehead or more subtly placed behind our ear. You wouldn’t want to press it too often; maybe never.  But if you did, you would go back to your default settings.  Back to before you screwed up.  We could go back to how we were as children.

Imagine that.   No bias, no guilt, no pre-conceptions, nothing.  Just a clean slate.  I kind of like that idea.  I like it even though I’ve often proclaimed that everything that I’ve done in my life has gotten me to this very moment; lessons learned, mistakes made, success achieved, along with pain, guilt, and failure.  We are all the jumbled events of our lives and our choices and sometimes that results in a lot of unhappiness, doesn’t it?

Or maybe that’s just me.  I’m trying mightily to expunge the demons of my past.  Alcoholism and the pain and mistrust that it infused into my relationships are central to my struggle. So much from that part of my life still dogs me, even though I hope that I’ve put it behind me.  But, you never can because people don’t forget.  I don’t forget.  I can’t.

So, there are times that I’d like to jab that reset button and make it all go away.  To open my eyes after my reboot to a fresh slate.  To see things for the first time, the way a child does.  With amazement and curiosity and freshness.  No reflexive defense mechanisms, no automatic responses to anxiety or insecurity, no fear of being hurt or burned or rejected, no manic need to try and control the world and make it bend to my needs and will.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  But, life on earth means that we are forced to carry the burdens we’ve wrought and of course, to celebrate the goodness and happiness we’ve achieved. The reset erases everything good, bad or inconsequential.  So, most of us wouldn’t want to sacrifice the good stuff to get rid of the bad.  Some of us might consider it, though.

I mentioned my idea to my husband and he was unequivocal, “no, all that stuff has made me who I am”.  He’s right, but there are times when some of us aren’t too keen on ‘who we are’.  I look at who I was as a child and who I am today and I marvel at the stuff that seems to have glommed onto my psyche and has made me so different from the 5 year-old me.  Or the 10 year-old or 15 year-old, for that matter.  Let’s not mention the 25 year-old.  She is dead to me.

These experiences are like barnacles on a rock; after awhile, you can’t see the rock.  It becomes covered and misshapen and completely overtaken by the foreign organisms. The rock is no more.  But, it’s under there just like our essence or soul is there, buried underneath our life experiences.

So, how to break off the barnacles? How to re-emerge as the fresh, open, trustful, happy, innocent, loving, curious ‘me’?  I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s a process and it takes time.  I feel like I’ve at least recognized that I’m covered in barnacles and maybe I’ve been able to slough a few off with introspection, time and a little counseling.  The process continues and I guess we all have to reach a point where we just live with our past.  We acknowledge that being human, means screwing up.

The Buddhists say that as humans, we are born to suffer.  It’s unavoidable and so we must learn to deal with it, regardless of whether it’s self-imposed by bad choices and behavior or is dropped onto us by other suffering humans.  Being born means we need to expect it, accept it and do what we can to lessen our own pain and the pain of others.  Rather than push away the discomfort, swim in it, observe it, feel it deeply.  The alternative is probably not as healthy, particularly if it involves drugs, alcohol, food or other self-medicating behavior.

So, no reset button.  We all have to live with our choices, even though a lot of them suck.  Here’s to moving forward with better choices, eh?

May 13, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , | 7 Comments


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