What I Will Do Instead

As another work year comes to an end,  I suppose it’s human nature to assess things and assign value to them in some fashion. That’s what I caught myself doing yesterday afternoon while preparing dinner. How do I consider this past year? Four-and-a-half stars? One star? But it isn’t that easy. I’m not rating a product, a book, or a movie; I’m attempting to rate life.

There is actually just one fundamental difference between products that people usually rate and life, but this difference makes… well… all the difference. In a product, book, or movie, you can strip it down and really decide which bits are good or good enough to keep, and which bits are crap and should be tossed out. You can then proceed to giving an overall rating for said product. You can even go as far as specifying what to replace those crappy bits with so that the whole thing will become much better.

But you can’t do that with life. If you take out a crappy bit in life, whether it’s an event or a condition, you have no assurance that the rest of it will be the same. In fact, we pretty much have the guarantee that it will be different; just varying degrees of different. The network of relations between the various pieces that make up life is something that is currently beyond human comprehension, and may forever be so. However, we have enough empirical proof to conclude that even the slightest difference in conditions or in the chronology of events can have a huge impact on subsequent events.

With that said, we have no way of knowing if the crappy bits in life are any less essential because they may very well be components in the development of the good bits. And if they are, would we then be able to say they are indeed bad bits that we could have done without? If we can’t call them bad bits because they may be essential, are all the bits then good? And if so, is every life a good one then? But why the hell does it hurt so bad sometimes? As you can see, because of that one uncertainty, our logic turns on itself and ultimately collapses. We cannot come up with a final rating for life as we would for a toaster.

Because an overall rating for life is an attempt at futility, here is what I will do instead. I will celebrate the good bits because they brought happiness to me and/or those around me. I celebrate…

  • my family; the missus and the kiddies who make everything better
  • finally getting our own place (even if it’s a 3-year wait)
  • being home room teacher for the first time
  • teaching Mathematics… again
  • teaching Humanities for the first time
  • making a significant impact on the lives/learning of even just some students
  • being band teacher and getting to teach kids how to rock
  • actually seeing these students rock… and rock beyond expectation
  • teaching and learning from awesome students
  • hanging out with awesome students
  • working and collaborating with awesome colleagues
  • awesome colleagues who are awesome friends
  • getting to go to Sagada (with students) for the second time
  • getting to go to China (with students) for the first time
  • being appreciated for my hard work
  • finally getting an electric guitar budget (Yay, tax refund!)
  • and finally getting to share my music on Youtube (search for the joeytandem channel)

As for the shitty parts, I will gut and bleed them for all they are worth.

  • friends who are going away
  • the hectic deadlines
  • getting an NBI clearance
  • being cooped up in a plane for hours
  • stupid, stupid fires that scare my daughter
  • the mistakes I made
  • the difficult people
  • the indifferent people
  • the insensitive people
  • the insincere people
  • the spineless people
  • the selfish people
  • the thoughtless people
  • the people who sold out their integrity for image
  • the incapable people
  • the passive-aggressive people
  • the stupid decisions
  • the tragedies
  • the losses
  • the frustration
  • the disappointment
  • and all the fucking bile

I will make every one of them pay out in currencies of experience, wisdom, and fortitude. I will take all that for my own and discard the remaining husk made of regret, anger, and despair. Even though it was not a very good year, I am not walking away empty-handed.

And did I mention I already have some songs in the works for all that shit up there?