For last year’s birthday, my thirtieth, I decided to write about my fears and perceived shortcomings. Taking an unusual starting point, I modeled my problems on FDR’s famous speech, the Four Freedoms, and called them the Four Failures: expression, worship, want, and fear. Now that another year has passed, it’s time to revisit the issues.
- Failure of Expression (Marriage): Well, I’m still unmarried and uninvolved. Plus, I’m a year older, which makes things more difficult; I’m lower in market value. I have begun to be serious about dating and marriage, since I have to make up for years of neglecting those skills. It takes time and effort; after all, I didn’t become good at model building, for instance, by just wanting to become knowledgeable or experienced.
Am I ever going to be marriageable? I noted last year, “I must change my market, improve my score, and/or reduce my expectations to match my standing.” Thus, I have. As several females have noted, I’ve lost weight, about 20 pounds, and look much better. Further score increase has resulted from reducing self-hatred and changing my mannerisms towards attractive ones. Once I complete my degree, any new position with more prestige ane money uplifts me as well. Research has improved my knowledge of the market, including the myth of Mr. Darcy. Right now, I don’t feel I’m marriageable. Thus, I made it one of my two resolutions for 2006, and I suspect next year’s report will show progress.
- Failure of Worship (Catholicism): The news from this front is less heartening. February brought a tough transition. In April, Ratzinger’s election extinguished almost all remaining hope for progressives like me. And it’s not like the Escrivites have gotten weaker! Catholicism now has a leader who was in the Hitler Youth and fought for the Germans in World War II, a leading cardinal who personally intervened to prevent the trial of dictator Augusto Pinochet, and a basically unchecked group founded on destruction and pain. I have searched for Goodness and Beauty in hierarchical Catholicism, but there is precious little to find. It’s not my failure, but it is telling.
- Failure of Want (Work): The talents to be a good research statistician are not within me. I’ve accepted that, just like I accept that the talents to be a
good NBA player or roofer. I also must accept that I’m a very good instructor, and a very good consultant, despite my best attempts to sabotage myself. When I go to environments where those skills are respected, I do well. I feel well. Realizing that, and finding available work opportunities where those skills will work, that I might even enjoy, has been a big help. Like the first point, I’m not doing better, but the future is brighter.
- Failure of Fear (Death): Having a survival desire is weird. It’s new for me. For a year or two in my twenties, I used to fall asleep thinking “another day closer to God.” Now, as Catholicism looks less and less moral, my faith in afterlife wavers. (Wavers, not disappears!) Also, as I like myself more, I like living more. Now, I fall asleep hoping to win the battle to wake up, or that may be it, and cheer when I win.
That morbid thought brings me to my other 2006 resolution, Every Day Joy. Basically, I’ve already spent over 11,000 days alive. Actuarial tables give me thousands more, but there’s a large deviation. This might be my last sentence, for example. Guess not. I don’t know how many days are left on my clock, and I have wondered if I’d like to know that number. Would you? It’s still some count. Thus, I want every one of them to be great, every day joy. Thus, I have decided to search for everyday joy, the pleasant moments of each avoidance of death. (Like wordplay involving spaces.) Relentless positivity will hopefully break the remaining edges of depression and lead me to a great year, and a great another if I’m blessed.