Written By: Charles - Jan• 08•23

Winter and the Wolf Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Breakfast with Jen, Ruth, Gabe, Barb. Driving back up the hill. F1. The MIA. The Walker. The docent program. My many years there with good friends and art. Acting class. Creativity class. Origins of North America. Finding the volume of a Mountain. Korean. Pruning moving forward. Interior painting, early February. Probate. Still moving. slow. ly. The Good Life. Scott and Helen Nearing. Eudaimonia. Kristen Gonzalez. Psoriasis. Mark and the USPS. Mary in Kobe. Ancient Brothers.

Sparks of joy and awe: Eudaimonia


Human flourishing. Eudaimonia. Satisfaction. More important than happiness. Duty is just another word for cultural norms received and accepted. Obligations. On the other hand. Imposed. Why do we do what we do?

Assessing the life that is neither heroic nor mediocre. Since that’s where most of us end up. No need to measure ourselves against the ends of the bell curve. No need to measure ourselves. But can we be at peace with a life without comparisons?

As for me, I choose eudaimonia. Flourishing. Satisfaction. And, yes. Duty plays a role. Family. Sacrifice. Friends too. Being there. Wherever love is, there is duty. To be honest. Sincere. Kind. Helpful. To support the best for the other. Right down to the end. And by implication to support the best for yourself. Also, duty. The unexamined life is not worth living. Yes. A duty to yourself to know thyself. And to thy own known Self be true.


What’s interesting for me right now is how much a sense of duty has played in my life. Oh, no! The original oppositional defiant guy admitting to a sense of duty. I who even rebel against my superego. You can’t make me!!! Yes, duty.

A minor yet significant example. As a convinced feminist of the Betty Friedan/Simone de Beauvoir second wave. At the age of 26. In seminary. Went to the Rice Street Clinic late on a Winter afternoon. A scalpel I felt on the first cut slashed my vas deferens on both sides. Shutting down sperm from my testicles. Being responsible for my own contraception.

Another. One I’ve mentioned before. Fits here. No. I don’t want a Johns-Manville full scholarship to college. Managing people in a large corporation is not me. Will never be me. High school.

Once convinced of Vietnam’s sturdiness as a nation, one that had held back China for over 3,000 years. No. I will not fight, nor support that war.

After reading a convincing study about the future job prospects for Ph.D.’s. No to graduate school.

Family. Staying in the fire with Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Kate in later life. Mark. Yet also. Cut your hair or leave! Leaving.

These may not at first reading seem like duty. But they are. A duty to myself, to my own understanding of how to be present in the world.

When I realized Ruth and Gabe needed us in Colorado. Broaching the idea of a move. Kate on board. Following through.

Those two and a half acres in Andover. Leaving them better than when we bought them. How? Working it out with Kate over the years. Together. Staying the course with the full cycle of responsibilities throughout the year. Each year.

And, dogs. Living into their lives. With them from puppyhood to death. Oh. Sweet duty. Painful duty. Life realized in full.

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