We rarely miss the 1st Friday Art Walk in here Bend, Oregon. It is an easy couple of hours walking around our beautiful downtown, running into people I know from various venues and participating in generalized festivities. On fine weather evenings, which is nearly every evening here on the 3,600-foot altitude desert, people are dressed comfortably and having a pleasant walk-around. There are lots of tourists and lots of visual arts to look at, and some of the artists remember my name and start talking to me spontaneously. This is becoming more of a problem for me because my memory for names and other things is slipping away with my increasing age. It doesn’t bother me too much because, all in all, I am enjoying my life more than ever.
On that issue, it appears that what makes my current situation feel better is that I am working on several projects I feel are important. The one I am about to go public with is the project where I help people stabilize their life, and to start with, their weight. I know these methods work because I have personal experience so I feel confident about talking about them even though there will obviously be a lot of contention.
The strange reason for this change of attitude was the reading of several survival stories of people in a sustained prisoner-of-war type situation. The most recent one was Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. This book had added relevance for me because of my reading last year of Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (Hoover Essays) by James Bond Stockdale, and my own rendition a couple of years ago of Epictetus’ Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living, found here on this blog. One of the key ideas in each of those books is having an important project to work on. It is more than just having a job, a family, a community; it is more like being a functioning part of the Universe and doing something that promotes that kind of grandiose purpose.
I know that this needs to be done, I want it to be done, and I am doing it.