My “re-education” ironically began turning to philosophy even though I stubbornly refuse to label my new thinking a ‘philosophy of caregiving’.
Hey, I was a 30 something American male! In the “new age” USA of the late 80’s and 90’s, “what about me?” thinking seemed to surround me. The increasing isolation of caregiving was confusing.
I knew I had to push thinking about “me” into the background. I became intrigued with the Roman Stoics trying to pursue a path toward a Stoic indifference to my own existence. “Trying” is the operative word.
If harmony could be achieved by balancing a conscious “indifference to my own existence” with the demands of caregiving and parenting that certainly seemed a path worth exploring.
It sure beat the despair and loneliness that swallowed me each night when the day’s tasks were done.
Always hearing words like handicapped or disabled started to rub me the wrong way. What Patti was going through and we were going through as a family was not “dis” anything. In Friedrich Nietzsche, I found encouragement reading that tragedy gives us nobility, power, and heroism.
“Life is a fight with fate as well as passions,”
practically became a mantra as the years rolled by.
It was refreshing to hear that the “struggle” itself was noble rather than the stereotypical American view that it’s all about achieving success.
I dusted off a life long fascination with Henry David Thoreau. Half a dozen times in my life, I’ve made “pilgrimages” to Walden Pond. Pictured I’m hanging out with a statue of ol’ Henry when I took Megan for my most recent pilgrimage.
On my first visit as a parent and caregiver, we skipped stones across the surface of that transcendental eye of the universe, Walden Pond, and found fresh meaning in the often quoted line from the conclusion of "Walden".
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Caregiving is unquestionably the beat of different drummer.
Choice unendingly stalks the caregiver. Feeding my mind helped, and seasoned the recipe for my gumbo metaphysics of caregiving.