These past few days have been quite odd, indeed. Of course, there are the usual strange bits of news that stray out of the White House, along with the stray tweet or twenty. There is still plenty of oddness felt throughout the magickal world around us, with all the weirdness that goes on with that. But for me, the most impactful news story was the death of Senator John McCain.
I was a touch bit shocked by his death. Not because I didn’t see it coming down the line, but that it happened so quickly after he stopped his cancer treatments. It brought me back to thinking of the memories I have of him, particularly in his runs for the Presidency. I can recall how much I admired his desire to buck the trends of the Republican party and approach much of his politics from his own personal perspective. I also admired his desire to reach across the political aisle from time to time in order to reach accord on some issues. That style and approach are not dissimilar to my own within life, which allowed me to view him as a kindred spirit of sorts, even despite the fact that our politics are extremely different. I admit I admired the man. Even when he added Palin to his second attempt towards the Presidency, a move I believe cost him a better chance at defeating the eventually President Obama.
Militarily, John McCain was an officer, a combat pilot. Me? I was an enlisted airman, working on computer information systems. There was no denying his status as a hero. He endured far more than any individual I have known in the United States armed forces. His style was reckless and bold – a far difference from my more meek and cautious approach in my own career. Still, as with any other military member – I considered him to be a brother in arms. As you can see, there was a lot about McCain that I liked, even despite the differences.
When I found out about his passing, I started taking a longer look at aspects of my own life. We were nearly thirty years apart in age – he passing at the age of eighty-one, myself about to turn fifty-three in about a month. I also have medical issues – high blood pressure, diabetes (Type-II) and high cholesterol. Lately, the pressure at the job has ramped up tremendously, which hasn’t helped any of this. Two days ago, I sat at my desk at a little after three in the afternoon, feeling light-headed and nauseous. At that point in the day, all I had to eat and drink at that point in the day were two cups of coffee, and a Hershey’s candy-bar I got out of the machine at 10am. I realized I needed some food, and that the symptoms I was feeling were due to extremely low blood sugars. So, despite the urgent pressure of getting work done, I went to the machine and retrieved another candy-bar. And as my symptoms started to dissipate and my brain-fog started to clear…I left work to get some food at one of the local fast food restaurants.
Much of my job is fast-paced, even though it shouldn’t be. But that is the symptom of something beyond my control – but there are a lot of other things that are under my control. When I eat. What I eat. Taking my medications on-time. How fast I let my world go around me. That’s right, how fast I let my world move. Let’s face a few things here….I’m not getting any younger. And while I am doing so late in my life, I need to do a better job to be able to stay around a lot longer. I’d like to live into my eighties, but that’s not likely if I don’t get control. And it definitely won’t happen if I keep letting things move at a faster pace.
This modern society is built around everything moving quickly. We schedule our lives on online calendars, plotting out nearly every moment of the day. We have to be here at this time. We can squeeze some time with this person in over a quick coffee at that time. Our entire lives can be mapped out and handled over a hand-held digital device. To make things easier, we can connect those devices to our vehicles so we can continue to be productive while we drive. We hurry from this thing to that. We only seem to observe the world around us when the traffic jam brings us to a stop as the sun rises or sets, and we see the beautiful colors in the sky. I admit I do this to an extent as well…sort of. I try not to plan my days down to the minute – though there are events and moments that do need to have times associated with them. Otherwise, if something needs to go on a calendar and no time-frame needs to be associated with it…I mark it as an all-day event. Otherwise, I have started to leave my days open – and I tend to only look at the calendar once a day – while I am eating breakfast.
All of this makes me wonder, with all the busy-ness of our lives – how much of that contributes to high blood pressure issues in people? All the stress of trying to get from point a to point b has got to be taking a toll on us in some fashion. Right? And all that rushing through life is bound to lead to mistakes, it has for me – in my mundane life, my work life, and my magickal life. Yes, folks, you can make mistakes when you rush your way through a ritual or some magickal spell-working – and sometimes the consequences of that can be quite dire. And we all know that the stress caused by all of that rushing through things causes problems in your life – mental, physical, and even spiritual.
I know I want to be around for a long, long time in this life. At nearly fifty-three, I already have had quite some time in this incarnation. I’m selfish, I want even more. And since I am not sharing this incarnation with anyone else, my desire is to wring every moment I can from within me. And that means taking care of me and slowing things down. Life isn’t meant to be rushed through and experienced in dribs and drabs between driving from location to location. Much like a good Norah Jones album, it is not meant to be run through at the speed of Slayer. Rather, you feel it, note by note. Sweet sultry intonation after intonation. Experience it. Don’t just let it pass by while you drive from spot to spot trying to tick off items on some stupid checklist. Stop everything and check your speed. Slow things down and enjoy.