Today, being Friday, I am off. I will spend most of the afternoon in Dallas with my mom at Ashley's Court, the rehab place where she has been for almost two weeks.
Ashley's Court is off Oaklawn in the heart of the Lemmon/Oaklawn part of Dallas. I have memories of this area. When I was a junior in college (The University of North Texas), I decided I was going to quit school. School was out for the summer and since I was going to quit anyway, I got an apartment. I was working nights at UPS, loading trucks. Of course, it takes a lot of money to maintain an apartment and car, etc. So, I worked all day as well (Hunt Oil Company) in downtown Dallas. By the end of the summer, after working day and night just to pay rent and a car payment, I decided that this lifestyle would never work. So--I was motivated at that point to finish school.
Now, thirty years later, this area in many ways is the same and in many ways is very different. Lots of stores, restaurants, business, people, a huge gay population, etc. Urban. The week before last, I spent some time in a la Madeline on Lemmon, with a cup of coffee and a book. It was interesting--very interesting as I would catch pieces of conversations here and there.
Putting myself in different environments helps me think--really think. If I am always home, always in the same environments, etc. everything seems to predictable. Too much predictability only seems to deepen my ruts. The older I get, the more intentional I have to get about staying out of a rut.
Doing repetitive work or tasks of some kind is not necessarily bad. I do not, however, want to get to a point in my life where I am mindless. "Living" (I question the use of that word in this instance) on automatic.
I use an iPod. I listen to some podcasts, music, sermon messages, news, etc. It has been very helpful in a lot of ways. All of this, as you probably know, is downloaded off the Internet. I choose what I download. The other day I was thinking, "Why am I downloading this? Is this material going to interesting, helpful, stimulating, or enjoyable in some way? Or---am I doing this because I did this the week before and the week before that."
I do not want to live or die in a rut. Today, I want to choose to be alive.