The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
. . . still studying and learning how to live

Latest Rambling Thoughts:
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Personal Reflections ...

I used to be a “journaler”, for about 5 years in the late 1990s. It seemed like a good spiritual practice; a Catholic Benedictine priest/monk, for one, told me so. I kept it up until I started this blog in November 2002 (hard to believe, it’s almost my tenth anniversary with it!). I guess this blog became my “dear diary”.

Anyway, I now have a dusty stack of those marble-pattern composition books, filled will all sorts of self-indulgent thoughts. I almost never look at them, seldom ever read what I wrote. Nothing all that surprising or insightful when I do. I guess that I wasn’t as interesting as I thought I was.

Nonetheless, I recently came across my entry for September 12, 2001. I didn’t write anything on the night of Sept. 11, but here are some excerpts from “the day after”.

Well, Black Tuesday happened. The WTC in lower Manhattan is gone. A symbol of the business world, the place where Top Gun people wind up [I had recently completed computer training by the Chubb Institute in their “Top Gun” placement program for middle-career people like myself; the training went well, but the placement in the info tech world never followed.] So yea, I was shaking in the office [I was working once again at the New Community Corporation on Market Street in Newark, where I had spent over 10 years prior to joining Top Gun in late 2000] on Tuesday AM after [going outside and walking to a point where I could view lower Manhattan] seeing the one tower standing, pouring out smoke like a chimney at a power plant. Chic [my boss] was grim, wouldn’t say hello. Our world was under attack. The social fabric was torn.

Yea, me and Mike R [my cousin] saw it being built, when we wandered lower Manhattan in search of the remnants of the ferryboats [we were both fans of the old Hudson River ferryboats that ran across to Jersey City until the late 1960s], memories of another world. The WTC was a new world, the world of jet planes and freeways. And it was jet planes, all rounded and white, that did them in. I remember seeing the big hole in the ground [in downtown Manhattan] when they first started construction. Now that hole is gonna be back, 30 years later.

Maybe it’s just as well that Top Gun didn’t transport me into that world.

Well, in the Franklin planner page for yesterday [Sept. 11], the “cheer up” thought was this: “tough times are like speed bumps, they slow you down but don’t turn you around”. Or something like that. Just before the new construction secretary told me that a plan had hit the WTC, I was reading my draft letter [to a contact person in an academic institution] about my plan to get a doctorate in urban poverty studies. I dunno, was fate turning me away, or just slowing me up?

[It wouldn’t be 9-11 that would stop me from going back to school for a doctorate; my mother was starting to lose her independence, and would require another 8 years of intensive financial and administrative support from me, to complement the commitment my brother had made to directly caring for her in her home. I was unhappy for a time about this, but it was probably was a blessing in disguise; I would have used up all my savings, which now form the cornerstone of my retirement plan, to get a PhD that may not have given me much in return. Most likely, a low-paying associate instructor position at a community college.]

If I were ‘normal’, I’d have a wife and some kids, one of whom would want to do a doctorate in urban poverty studies. Yea, this is a dream that arguably belongs to the next generation . . . But hey, I just wasn’t meant for kids. So I’ve gotta do it . . . if the time is ever right. We shall see. For now, I’m still alive.

[So, you can see that the big 9-11 calamity didn’t shock me out of my self-absorption. I was still thinking about my own future, and not pondering the fate of what seemed like an America under attack. I obviously didn’t think that war was finally coming to American shores, that the neighborhoods and lives that we knew were going to be decimated, like Europe in the early 40s. And I was mostly right about that, thus far anyway.]

School just began for most kids. For me, this time of September was miserable. And now, the tables have turned. Learning is the only thing that gives my life meaning . . .

[Ah, and thus the “eternal student of life” theme of this soon-to-be-born blog!].

PS, actually, the entries in this diary over the next few months tracks how I got a job interview with the local Prosecutors Office and then left New Community for it. Now it’s been over 10 years for me with the staff of “chief law enforcement officer of the county”, and somehow I’m still there, keeping very busy, maybe even getting some things done and doing some good here and there. I would have never believed it, as summer ended and autumn began in that fateful year of 2001. I may actually have to sit down sometime and re-read that diary!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 2:51 pm      

  1. Jim, Not quite sure what to comment on/how to comment on this entry. So maybe I’ll take the more-than-one aspects I see here and have a short say about each.

    First, I remember vividly watching the WTC on TV—the building wobbling-¬literally, saying to the person with me, it’s going to fall-¬and, of course, it did. Not only one fell but more than one fell! I’ve often tho’t of the people who were in that building, feeling that wobble; and I wonder did they actually feel it? They must have known they would make it-¬or not make it, more likely. These things are almost too difficult to want to remember.

    Seeing that tragedy, I tried to get hold of you by email. Finally, left a phone message, hoping you were OK; one never knows if another could have been in that place. I’ve often tho’t that if I felt the way I did, watching things on TV, what must your shock have been seeing it first hand. As I say, all this is sometimes too difficult to remember.

    As to the “journaling”: In my own way I’ve done my share of it too-¬but from a different standpoint. Somewhere along the line in the 1970s, I think it was, I decided to write down my dreams. I had been doing a lot of study about dreaming. So I now still have on my shelves 24 years of typed dreams from those days. I remember how absolutely essential it was to me during those years to do that writing of my dreams. Then, along the way, in the 1990s somewhere, I stopped my dream journal. Just didn’t need it any more; it had served its purpose; so I was told by someone I consulted on that point. OK, I tho’t; that makes sense.

    I too have seldom gone over those dreams-¬and the few times I did pour time, effort, and attention into them, I found “studying” them to be perhaps a mistake. I’d misinterpret them I’d find later-¬that is, when I deliberately attempted to interpret my dreams. I *did* find that interpretations of my dreams would pop into my head at appropriate times and be amazingly accurate; I often would be somehow “prompted” to check out something I’d written. Then I’d come to some realization that was important for me, but never when I deliberately sat down to do it, but almost always when I followed the “prompt”.

    Some time later, not sure when even or how it started, I found that slowly, I began once again writing my dreams again-¬but not every one of them (as I had during those 24 years) just those that somehow seemed particularly important. So I figure it must be the writing of things down, not the reading back of them to oneself, that’s important. The writing of things down likely makes some kind of imprint subconsciously and allows one to go back when it’s important; *then* one finds the essentials that are so important in one’s life and living.

    On another, different point: I was one who *never* found school uninteresting (looking back I think, how much of a nerd could I have been!). I *always* found school wonderful-¬except for one year when my teacher had no control over her classroom. That year was miserable for me. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve come back to “liking” learning, to finding that it’s part of the growth process of being a human being.

    And lastly, in this attempt to comment on the several points I see in your blog/journal this time: It’s amazing to see how one’s life takes its course, how one plans for certain things that don’t work out; yet it doesn’t matter that things don’t works out; one’s life somehow is made better for the way it goes. I’d say your life, altho it has not necessarily gone the way you would have had it go, has certainly been a successful one—the care of your mother, the work you do. Somehow these things have come through in your life and it seems others (who knows how many!) and your own life has been better for what you’ve done with/in your life. That’s a wonderful thing to be able to say. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — July 14, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment:


To blog is human, to read someone's blog, divine
NEED TO WRITE ME? eternalstudent404 (thing above the 2) gmail (thing under the >) com - THE SIDEBAR - ABOUT ME - PHOTOS - RSS FEED - Atom
Church of the Churchless
Clear Mountain Zendo, Montclair
Fr. James S. Behrens, Monastery Photoblog
Of Particular Significance, Dr. Strassler's Physics Blog
My Cousin's 'Third Generation Family'
Weather Willy, NY Metro Area Weather Analysis
Spunkykitty's new Bunny Hopscotch; an indefatigable Aspie artist and now scolar!

Powered by WordPress