A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. … At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.*
Unlike cynicism, hopefulness is hard-earned, makes demands upon us, and can often feel like the most indefensible and lonely place on Earth. Hopefulness is not a neutral position either. It is adversarial. It is the warrior emotion that can lay waste to cynicism.**
I’ve just been trying to remember how to insert the
symbol on my iMac keyboard.
I’ve done this plenty of times, but
it had gone for a wander this morning.
No, not that way,
Not that way either.
I’ll google it –
What do you call it?
As you can see,
I got there.
I can forget a lot of things;
It’s one of the things I notice as I get older.
I shared some days ago how we go into decline
sooner than we think as we move from
fluid intelligence into
Arthur Brooks likens trying to remember something to asking an old librarian to find a book.
They disappear for ages,
Finally returning not only with the book you wanted,
But also with an armful of other books:
“I thought you might also like to have a look at these.”
One of the funny things is how,
With some arthritis in my fingers,
I can misspell words because sometimes certain fingers
work more slowly than others,
And the first letter I want ends up being the second or worse –
It’s like what used to happen to typewriters when you hit too many keys at once.
It doesn’t mean it’s the end of meaningful life;
It can be quite the opposite,
but first we must show ourselves some compassion,
Or friendliness as Oliver Burkeman prefers to think of it,
here quoting Iddo Landau’s reverse golden rule:
don’t treat yourself in ways you wouldn’t treat others^.
We need to embrace our flaws and weakness and mistakes –
But don’t wait until you’re my age before you begin
you can finally relax a little. When you are honest and humble about your weaknesses, you will be more comfortable in your own skin. When you use your weaknesses to connect with others, love in your life will grow.^^
These are not boundaries that stop us in our tracks,
Rather they are thresholds that lead in to something
unfamiliar though hopeful,
unnerving though invigorating.
*John O’Donohue’s Benedictus;
**Nick Caves The Red Hand Files: #190;
^Oliver Burkeman’s blog The Imperfectionist: The reverse golden rule;
^^Arthur Brooks’ From Strength to Strength.