So here it is, 1:15 in the afternoon and I have suddenly realized that I must have (and do not have) a blog for tomorrow. Panic time. I seem to live a lot on Panic Time of late. There is always far more to do than there is time to do it in. It seems like every time I post a blog, it's time to write a new one. How do people with 9-5 jobs do it?
But I digress (oh, now there's a real knee-slapper!) What to write about for tomorrow? I'm using the first three thoughts that popped into my head as the title for this piece. Why? Why not? The first thought—humanity—is a bit broad and is, at base, the subject of nearly every blog I write. The second—eternity—is a bit beyond my intellectual depth. And the third...well, I probably grabbed at that desperately since I just went out this morning to buy some new shirts for my rapidly-approaching and greatly anticipated trip to Europe.
Aha! My trip to Europe! There's a winner! Once I start the trip, the question of what to write about for a blog will resolve itself. As I did on my last trip, I'll be keeping a running written and photographic journal of everything from the time I arrive at O'Hare to catch my flight to Budapest (Budapest! Me! I'm going to Budapest! Hungary! Wow! The little boy in me is truly awed.) until my return to Chicago 23 days later. And in addition to the 15-day river cruise there'll be the three days in Amsterdam and then the four days in New York to report on.
But looking over the paragraph above, I'm not sure if I should leave it in or take it out. It does sound a little...what?...arrogant. Nobody likes a braggart. I certainly don't, and I don't want to give the impression that I'm thumbing my nose at anyone and saying “nyaah-nyaah.” But like that little boy, who takes delight in being with his friends, I honestly do want to take you along with me, at least in spirit, and share it with you as much as I possibly can. And while words and pictures aren't exactly the same as being there, I hope you can draw on the “let's pretend” factor deep inside every adult.
Since I couldn't come up with one cohesive theme for this blog, I was at least hoping it might evolve into a logical-train-of-thoughts piece. While I'd envisioned it as a sort of sedate, reflexive journey on the Orient Express, I fear it more resembles Mr. Toad's Ride.
Which for absolutely no apparent reason leads me to the speculation on how important it is to me that you enjoy what I write. It's rather unlikely that we've met in person, or that we ever will meet, but I still feel an odd bond between us. Probably because the bulk of my writing is aimed at stressing how similar we humans are; how we all...all of humanity...share more than divides us. We are all, individually and collectively, a gigantic maze of contradictions which too often hide the similarities in our hearts, minds, and souls—in those elemental things which define us as humans.
Because that philosophy leads me to think, perhaps naively, of us as all being “family,” I truly want everyone in the family to like me. Fortunately I've reached the level of maturity that accepts that not everyone can like everyone else, and if someone does not like me, that it is not my problem. That was a big step for me, as perhaps it was for you as well.
For being part of a social species, needing and being needed by others, we as individuals too often feel alone...apart from everyone else. The desire to be liked is an elemental component of being human. It is a form of validation, of saying that we matter, that we have meaning. As part of our dizzying diversity, some people sincerely do not seem to need validation, or to care whether anyone else approves of them or not. They are in the extreme minority. I don't understand them, but I acknowledge their position and their right to be who they choose to be and believe what they choose to believe. I even grudgingly admire them, in a way. But I don't think I would want to be one of them.
And what of humanity, eternity, and new shirts? Well, we touched on two out of three, and at least mentioned the third. I guess we don't have to concern ourselves too much with eternity. It will be here long after humanity and new shirts are gone.