“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you.
…’It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
Well…I still have my hair, and my eyes, and I hope I’m not too shabby. But I do feel myself becoming real, in ways I’ve never been before.
Some things seem easier…a lot of issues just drop away. When I filter everything through the lens of life and death, the questions become very basic.
~What is worth doing?
~Who do you love?
~How do you choose to spend your days?
And some things are harder. The big unknowns of life…well, there are so few concrete answers.
~Why is life so difficult for some, and easy for others?
~What happens after death?
~Where exactly do we go?
I find myself feeling disinterested in many of the conversations around me, or on social media, or in the news of the day. We talk so much, about so many things that just don’t matter.
If we fill up the silence with enough words, does that keep us from noticing the emptiness of lives spent on trivia?
I am incapable of caring who wins an Oscar, or what pundits have to say, or about the latest fashion. None of these things is real.
Real is about caring for other humans, living with integrity and dignity, and being more invested in a life of giving rather than accumulating.
That’s it. I would rather have a simple life, and touch a few people along the way, than spend my life chasing success, or money, or some metric that says I’ve achieved. Ultimately, whatever we do, if it can’t stand up to the test of serving, it won’t last.
I often say I’m a late bloomer and a slow learner. I don’t think I’m special or better, not trying to be deeper or wiser than anyone else. I’m just hoping to be real, in the end. Because when everything peels away, real is all we have left.
Loss can help you see, strips away the frivolous and the unimportant.
Are you real yet?
Thank you, Alex. You gave me many gifts in your lifetime. You are giving to me still.