May 18th, 2008

Ping-pongSo, what’s been on my mind?

Making do with less,  gracefully…

Fewer excursions, lighter meals, dwindling health, smaller budgets, and less time left… always less time left…

Maybe it’s the Right Time for Time Left…

What am I babbling about? Let’s see…

  • 1. I’m swapping a job that pays considerably more for a job that pays less, so as to be able to live with Ann down in Georgia. Despite Ann’s assurances that this will not cramp our” wild” style of living, I worry. I wince every time I buy gas or food.
  • 2. I’ve been wrestling with a new health issue; shoulder impingement. My left arm has become painful to raise and move in certain ways. The problem has been chronic for several months now. Ibuprofen and injected steroids have helped, as has physical therapy, but I don’t think this is going away. So,  I have to consider the impact of that problem on every activity I tackle.

Time left…  My mind-set is one of entering a working retirement. The new job is full time, but chosen to be easier work than the job I’m leaving. I’m really looking forward to shorter hours, and a shorter week. More frequent extended weekends… These are the thoughts of someone getting older. Did I mention I have one of those dreadful divisible-by-five birthdays coming up next week?

My world seems both larger and smaller at once as I think about moving to Georgia. This part is harder to explain. I’ve had a few friends in Durham, sort of. “Sort of” because I haven’t seen much of them. One couple is new to the area, and busy getting set up. That, and they’ve had crisis after crisis the past six month.  Another couple has been too busy to be close in other ways. There is a friend who’s life is like mine; over-loaded with travel and work. He and I will chat at times. Another friend has fallen silent altogether. Then there’s a trio of folks who have been fun to dine or sip coffee with. That’s the inventory of friends I’m leaving behind in Durham. My world will be smaller in proportion to the distance from them all; larger in the sense of room for new friendships.

I ask myself if I will fill that room, or not.

As I think about emptying the physical space of the house in Durham, there are parallels to the matter of clearing one’s life of the intangible of associations.  I’m not thinking about the “dropping of friends”, but I am thinking about the “not thinking about” them. Are they going to be “distant”, whatever that means in this shrinking world?  I can say hello to anyone on the planet if I have their address in one form or another. But mental distance grows when you depart a given place in real space.  If you allow it to happen.  One doesn’t plan to grow distant. It just happens. If you allow it.

I think I’ve spent more time in my life than the average person trying to maintain connections to people I’ve been fond of. Just a few weeks ago I found myself thinking about someone I was in junior high school with, and googled on her name. Vicky has left her mark on the world, as had her first husband, Mark,  and so they were to be found in Wikipedia. So I was able to drop her a “hello”.


Ping is computer-parlance for sending a signal which elicits an echoing signal in response. I’m sure it derives from the technical language of sonar.

Heading into the Georgian coastal desert, to be with Ann, I’d like to try to make a habit of pinging my friends. I’m here! Are you there? Yes, I’m here! There you are…


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