So Many Pretty Lights


Years ago, after graduating from UC Berkeley, I was disillusioned and hard pressed for a focus in life. My father at the time said, "You know what your problem is? You have too many options."

It's funny how patterns follow you through your life and manifest at different levels. Perhaps we have a core internal structure or hard drive, and it is set early on. I remember when I was very young, I lived near a shopping center. I suppose by 6th grade my friends and I would be driven over to the mall where we could use up a few hours and our parents could have some free time. I remember if I had $5 or $10 to spend, I would gather lots of little things that made me happy. I rarely would spend the whole amount on one item.

I used to get the LA Times delivered. I would go through and cut out what I wanted to read. If I read something in the process I often wanted to cut out a specific quote and save it somewhere so the delight I had in that moment could be revisited at another time. When I moved out of my Hollywood apartment I had a huge stack of precisely cut articles I never had returned to and read. Of course, I did the same thing with New York Times articles saved to read later that I never got back to either.

Recently, I got fed up with the fact that my 2008 iMac Pro was freezing up and shutting down. I'd been told last year that I had to nurse a computer made in that year. I couldn't have so many files open at the same time. I shouldn't have numerous programs cracked open simultaneously either. Apple told me then I'd need a new machine by the end of 2016. As the months have been progressing, I've been keeping track of the crashes, documenting carefully, feeling the impending pressure of needing to hustle up the money for a new computer.

A month ago I noticed one picture on one man's profile that attracted me. I don't usually like to write to men first, because I believe that however advanced modern society is, and whether a man is metro or manicured, his primitive soul resonates with his undeniable need to hunt and conquer. Sure, if he happens across leftovers on a picnic blanket in the park, he'll forage for what will satisfy him in the moment. Anyway, that's my pattern.

I discovered that this man was a computer expert. Since I'd met him in my tiny local one-of-a-kind cafes (I don't meet at BRAND locations), I'd been able to ascertain that my gut instinct said I was safe inviting him to my home around the block to look at my computer. He told me he could fix my computer so I could get another five years out of it. If I'd invest about $200 in product, I could bypass trying to gather up the $1500 for a new machine.

I could write a book on how I save money, nonetheless, this option was very exciting for me. We ordered a Crucial SSD drive and a Cyber Power 450 VA Surge+Battery. Since they forgot to send the install kit, my new friend and I would have to wait a week to actually do the install.

I showed him the sign the computer had put up when it last crashed. He asked if I still had lots of files open on my browser. With great embarrassment I showed him, even though I'd shut down at least 15, that I still had about 40 open. He laughed. I explained that its a lack of focus and perhaps adult onset ADD and a list of other reasons I tend to clutter up my life with many projects instead of the task at hand.

He said, "You just like the pretty lights." Immediately I realized it was the same comment my dad had said 34 years ago. I do have so many options. Even though I want to walk first thing in the morning, if by chance I sit down at the computer first before I get outside, I often don't get up till noon. In the process, I've opened up another 5-10 things I want to look at and feel the pressure to perceive since it caught my eye.

He said, "Just make a list of the 10 things you need to do that day. That's what the big CEO's do." It seems so limiting, so narrow, so restrictive, but the fact that my machine is crashing and
I still haven't fixed the tendency I have to gather and not refocus and disseminate my findings, and it could still affect my health, I'm game to start anew tomorrow, with a list of 10 things to do.

I guess my hard drive is all about expanding wisdom and knowledge, not necessarily finessing one format, program, or subject matter. I've figured out the reason I have CLL early is because I gather information but don't put it into a new format and share what I've learned in bite size pieces so others can glean the realizations I've painstakingly gathered in a short and succinct story. I wrote a number of blogs here on HP about this connection with the spleen, lymph, CLL and my internal system getting just as clogged as my browser, bookshelves and pages in my book. But to go through my many blogs to find the exact paragraph and link it seems exhausting. Streamlining is not my forte. Neither is editing.

Yet, I'm liking life very much these days. Being 56 is an amazing age because I have a huge history of events and experiences that have provided incomparable story lines and emotional lessons. Having gotten through two difficult treatments and discovering I didn't die, I feel hopeful that I have time to tie all the threads together so they make something pretty that is able to hold value in a concise message.

Does anybody else out there gather and stack books and lifetime opportunities without necessarily reading them or finishing the free offer before its expired?