Writer Dave Donelson left his successful business career in 1999 to become a full-time freelance writer. In 2020 he both completed a memoir of his life growing up (entitled Fathers: A Memoir) and began a daily journal where he posts his thoughts, observations, and insights each day. Titled “The Journal of My Seventieth Year: A Memoir In Real Time,” all four volumes of this daily diary are available in eBook, paperback, and hardcover editions for purchase on Amazon. We are pleased to share with agebuzz readers select individual posts from Dave’s journal, as well as his photography and illustrations that accompany the journal entries. Below are his latest selections for us.
Job Of Work
You can’t live in this moment when you fixate on the next one. No matter how hard I try to slow my life, I still rush from task to task. Can’t sleep because I am compelled to get up and get to it. Can’t relax because I’ve got too many things to do. Can’t type a sentence with a subject as well as a predicate because I don’t have time to shift and hit the “I” key. What’s next? There’s an hour unfilled till dinner-better do something productive. Learn a song; write a journal entry; critically read an essay; crop a photograph; draw a picture; build something, anything.
It has been so all my life, but now is the time to change. Slow down, Wipe clear the calendar. Erase the to-do list and don’t make a new one. Today, I begin the day with good intentions, slept in until 6 AM, then fell into my old ways and made a damn list before I caught myself. I had everything on it done by noon- wired a new light fixture in the shop, found and marked downed trees for firewood in the woods behind the house, emailed a sales tax exemption certificate to a library vendor. Not exactly a take-it-easy morning.
Where are the interludes I want to find? They are hidden by my compunction to work. Everything I do, every moment of my life, becomes a job of work. I play golf like I was paid to do it. I garden and work in the woodshop the same way. Am I obligated to produce? Required to achieve? Prohibited from rest? No, but I act like I am all of the above.
After lunch, I was at a loss without anything left on the to-do list. I thought about starting a new list, but decided that would be counter-productive. I have to take control, dial back my life, find a little peace. Today is Sunday and even what’s-his-name rested on the seventh day.
I stumble over the kitchen rug. My head floats as if it floats on ocean waves while my slipper-clad toes search the seafloor for a safe path, invisible under the dark water and hence unseen. I trip but don’t fall, just another tiny failing. This disconnect of head from toes comes with age, I am told, like bristly eyebrows and liver spots on the back of my hand. My body obeys the tyranny of time but my mind rebels, futilely, against the relentless bastard.
I stand off balance, my head wobbles on its axis, unable to stay plumb. The slightest movement spins my vision, tilts the horizon, upends my verticality. Gravity applies, but not uniformly. It pulls to one side, then the other, never equally anymore. Every day, bit by bit, I totter more. Sometime in the indefinite encroaching future, I shall simply totter over like the red oak on the hillside near the barn whose roots have been weakened by slow, steady, unforgiving erosion.
Perhaps it is from age. I am aging, after all, and well aware of it. Knowledge, though, hopefully accompanies age. I expect as I grow older to have a greater understanding of life and the forces that shape it.
Or perhaps age has nothing to do with it. Maybe I have simply become more attuned recently to the movements of the earth through space. The globe I stand on rotates quite rapidly, about 1,000 miles per hour. The planet simultaneously whirls around the sun at 67,000 mph and the sun drags the earth and the rest of the solar system through the Milky Way, destination unknown, at 448,000 mph. I suspect it is not traveling in a straight line.
So maybe I am not just dizzy. Maybe I have simply reached an age where I can sense the myriad movements of our cosmic tilt-a-whirl.