Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All of it

In On Writing, Stephen King recounts an attitude he had when he was an alcoholic. At restaurants he would notice another diner with a half-drunk glass of wine, and be seized by the desire to march over and ask why they weren't finishing it. Alcoholics don't measure how much they're drinking. They drink all of it.

This weekend, I noticed that I have the same propensity to eat all of it, especially when "it" is meat. I was informed in some health class or other that meat is worth a hundred times its weight in grains necessary to produce it; I feel bad letting it all go to waste.

Or do I? I decided that I'm some kind of a foodaholic if I can't stop myself from cleaning my plate, eating all of it. Not wasting food is a red herring. I can just take less to begin with if that's the real issue. So I see myself as rationalizing away my addictive behavior.

I also noticed that when it comes to political blogs, in the last month or more, I've been getting really bad about reading all of it. It's cut into my work and family time, and the benefits I gain don't match the time I'm losing.

I think I get obsessive at times, and I need to learn to let things go. I need to be happier with what I have.

There's another one: remembering all of it. I realized this weekend as my parents were telling stories about their families and childhood that I have a lot of stories no one else knows, stories that are intensely personal and even unique. I have boxes of things I've saved, ways I saw myself. I feel like I should annotate them or something, like they're a window into my world. Save my remembrances. Put them in secret scrapbooks. Enjoy my history.

I don't know whether to be frightened that what I've done will be forgotten, or just to let it all go. In a way, I feel at loose ends with myself when I've forgotten my life, like I don't exist, or like the footprints I've made in the world are slowly washing away in the tides of time.

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