Some Things Never Change

The laugh’s on me:
this year’s man
is last year’s man.”
—Ching An

Today was the first real day of autumn, in my opinion. Yesterday was blustery—windy, damp and grey—but that happens year-round in the Midwest. Today, however, dawned almost crisp—chilly enough to watch your breath curl in the sunlight, and dry enough by midmorning that a walk across campus sent the first yellow leaves skittering from underfoot as I went.

Those who know me know I love this time of year best … so why did I greet autumn with a touch of melancholy?

This summer marked the busiest on record for the Thorp clan. We traveled east and west to see family and friends, we played baseball and soccer, we volunteered, we practiced and performed tai chi, we celebrated and mourned with friends, we closed and liquidated a day care, we freelanced, and we did our jobs. We worked and we played. And occasionally, we slept.

What I didn’t do was write—or at least, not the things I hoped to. I wrote speeches and papers, and I’m mostly done with an article for the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. But my book stagnates, my fiction blog is just a shell, and this … well, you can look to the margin to see how much I blogged.

The truth is, with so many priorities, we scrambled through the summer just getting the day’s “musts” taken care of. When everything is a priority, nothing is.

I’m overextended, but what else is new? I always overcommit, always underestimate the time involved, and never, ever accomplish everything I’d like to. I know this about myself and can’t seem to compensate. This year’s man is last year’s man. Some things never change.

4 thoughts on “Some Things Never Change

  1. Oh, I don't know about all that…you've accomplished a LOT, as far as I can tell. You've made some wonderful memories with your kids. You've done some things with them that they will never forget and that they will tell THEIR kids about someday (or their parishioners ;)). You've recorded your adventures here, on this blog! Hey, pssst? that's called “WRITING”, DUH!
    I feel like I'm a better person for having gotten to know your family a little more this year. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
    I doubt very much that, if you were to have spent a lot more time brooding into your coffee, hunched over a keyboard, writing out your profound thoughts into great works of fiction or memoirs, you would have had the time to foster more friendships and enjoy family time together this summer.
    The fruits of all of your labor this summer/year will reveal themselves so far into the future. They will last so much longer than some dusty story, tucked away and forgotten under someone's couch (not that your stories are dusty…flow with me here)!
    Anyway, this is just my way of saying “thank you” for your friendship and for the love you've shown all of the people in your lives. I am inspired by that, far more than anything you could have written.


  2. Oh quit whining! Just stop helping others, and spend less time with your family! After all, they have the rest of their lives to spend time with you. And someone else will do all the work you have been doing.


  3. This is what autumn is for, I suspect; it's for reflecting on the year that has nearly escaped, relishing what was wonderful, reflecting on what was not so… I like to think that when the mornings dawn crisp and cold, it's a slap in the face reminding me to look around at god's breathtaking creation, to see the changes happening before my very eyes as the earth transforms from summer's bounty to winter's challenge.

    The squirrels scurry, the ducks and the geese abandon us (the smart ones do, anyway), the leaves sigh and finally, gracefully, accept their inevitable fate, as we all will one day.

    I love autumn. I love it's call to reflection. Even the faces of those I see every day seem more beautiful in autumn. Something about this season causes me to cherish so many things so much more. Thanks for putting your electronic pen to paper, Mr. Thorp. After indulging tonight, looking forward to the cloudy, rainy, crisp weekend before me.


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