The Tom I Know

I’ve started so many of these over the last few months that it almost seems pointless to try. I suppose the effort of writing is as important as the act of writing or, anyway, it’s the same thing. It’s putting in the work, even if this particular work is never published.

Not that it needs to be. I am a writer – anyone who writes is – but I’m not a professional writer. I don’t write content for money. I don’t link to advertisers or get a penny a word or anything. I write because I enjoy it. Or, at least, that’s the reason I normally write. There was that one month, you might recall, where I wrote a 400-plus word entry EVERY day of June on a bet. I was churning out content. I was churning out content because I enjoyed it.

I think my friends still owe me a beer for that one.

The last couple of years, I suppose, it’s become something more of a “should” than a “want to” except for the occasional inspirational muse. There are still days when the words come to me at 2 am and stay with me until 4:30, when I finally push out of bed to just start writing. Just not as often, not as often as before.

Why? I think part of it was the OBT and part of it is a measure of complacent contentment in my own life. Part of it, surely, is that I like to write when I’m full of positive vim and vigor and lately it seems there’s been so much negative drain. The hits, as they say, just keep coming. Death. Disappointment. Disillusionment. I am made of lightness and everything has been so dark.

Think about it, when I started TBT I had it made. The Rams were on the upswing, now they’re in the loo. We had a ridiculous, unstable president in Trump, now we’ve just got boring, steady Joe. Life was a constant party, then the pandemic slowed the roll. I rented, which meant less responsibility, but now I own. I was a young, passionate 48-year old and now I’m a middle-aged, settled 55.

Some of that plays in, sure. Half-joking, obviously, but like with all satire there’s a spine of truth throughout. A web of honesty. I like making light-hearted and somewhat rambling blogs and it seems, anymore, that lightheartedness is dishonest and focus is essential.

Dark. Deep. Driven.

That’s just not the Tom I know.

Tomorrow is Ryan’s celebration of life and though I don’t think “closure” is the right word, there may be a lightening in the wake of his wake. He will never be forgotten, things will never be the same, and I’ll never be able to move on, but I do have to move forward, and he would want me to. He would insist upon it. “Don’t be such an asshole,” he’d say. Even to yourself, he’d mean.

I don’t know that the world has changed, but things do feel different. The pandemic is over, but it made an indelible mark upon us all. If possible, we’re more fragmented, more polarized, than we’ve ever been. There are too many gun deaths. There is too much intolerance. Too much hate and fear. And bad leaders and dishonest media stoke that division and paranoia for power and profit.

But I still believe this is a bump in the road. I still believe the long arc of history points towards progress, and that every time of crisis leads to a new high. A period of trust, of acceptance, of prudence. I believe that time is coming closer every day and is approaching sooner than we think. The old way of thinking, as always, is ebbing. The next generation is better, with fresher thoughts and ideals. In democracy, this is always the way. Don’t let that die; things only stay the same in autocracy. Hate leads to autocracy. Fear leads to autocracy. Our guns do not protect us from dictators, our ideals do.

Ah, there he is. That’s the Tom I know.

I doubt this will start a writing trend. I’m still in a deep place. Still a little dark. Still very …  sad. But I won’t stay in the hole forever, I never do. There’s a great big world of hope and wonder out there and I relish it. I love this planet. I love humanity. I love you.

I guess I finally wrote enough again. I think this one will fly. I may not be back, not as a daily or weekly routine, but it looks like I’m still here. Present.

We do no honor to the memory of those who have left if we leave, too. Even metaphorically. To them we owe persistence. Authenticity. Flourishment.

So let us persist. Be ourselves. Make better tomorrows.

It is the very least that we can do.

20 thoughts on “The Tom I Know

  1. I’m in the midst of a dark emotional period as well, filled with illness, death and family drama. This too shall pass and I do my best to find the light. It’s really all we can ever do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, my friend, best wishes for a quick resolution for those things that can be resolved, and my condolences on the rest. Life is, if anything, a trial of perseverance. Luckily, we are well-equipped to do just that, you and I. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Tom…another derp and heartfelt piece that is poignant yet trying to walk through into the light. You will get there my friend.
    Love to you and Suzie.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Why so long to have a celebration of life? The world lost Ryan in December no? Great tribute to him btw. I actually had to start seeing a counselor because I got very lost in the dark for awhile. Slow but steady Tom. You are one of the few that brighten the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, that’s good advice!

      His family wanted to wait until it was warmer, which was fine with us all. Glad they did wait this long, too, because warmer did NOT come quickly this year. Hope you’re doing better now! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe AI will usher in a post-scarcity rebirth of charitable forbearance and tolerance.
    Bah! Who am I kidding? Society is headed for a true downfall.
    But maybe AI will align itself with the writs of society, ours and other nations’ Constitutions, and determine that the Egalitarian features noted therein have not been realized. The AGI will take over the world’s economic systems and redistribute the world’s wealth to those who generated it.
    Bah! What a crock! That ain’t never gonna happen. Society will melt and the uber-rich will skate over the corpse of humanity, biding the decades until they can crawl out of their compounds and cry about how being at the top of a pile of shit smells just as bad as the bottom.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I’d commented sooner. I like the old Tom–the light one, but the current Tom is just as good. The arc of history bends toward progress and it seems like Tom bends that way too.
    Also the reason history moves toward progress is because of people like you who refuse to give up hope that things will get better. If I may go on a bit of a tangent here, years ago when I was grieving a loss I read The Epic of Gilgamesh for the first time. You could say Gilgamesh was the original superhero–the sort Stan Lee would have written. Dark. Brooding. My decision to read his story was prompted by the fact that someone told me Gilgamesh, after the loss of his companion, goes through the standard stages of grief: denial, anger, and depression. He finds himself in total darkness and runs for three days then stops, and it’s still all darkness. He runs for another three days then stops. Still all darkness. He runs for three more days and finally, in the distance, he sees a light.
    He still has to deal with bargaining before he finally reaches acceptance, but you get the idea. Even when he stops it’s only temporary.
    I also refuse to give up hope, and I know that you, Tom, will keep running.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christopher, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. ❤️

      Loss and grief are as old as time itself, as evidenced by the oldest known story produced by mankind, that very story of Gilgamesh. I had a dream that, like Gilgamesh, I journeyed into the afterworld to find answers or the soul of a friend. Denial. Anger. Depression. Bargaining. Acceptance. I suppose, in stages, I’ve been through all of the phases more than once in the last few months.

      I’ll get through. I’ll move forward. I’ll keep running (between stops).

      Thank you again, Christopher. You always lend me perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tom, what you wrote was well done. It spoke truth and that’s what I always look for. I remember one time thinking things out on your blog and it helped me through a tough moment. Thank you for that! I’m glad you’re a force for good. I’m sorry about Ryan. My son’s name is Ryan, too, sooo, I have a special affinity for the name even if I didn’t know your Ryan. Grief and growth — can’t go under it, can’t go around it, can’t go over it — gotta go through it. We ask for none of it, but that’s the price for caring and for being human. So much better than the alternative. You do what you have to do. You continue to be what is true for you, even if that changes over time. It’s important to change and grow. We are tempered with all that life throws at us. The goal is to learn from those hard times. To become more resilient. It makes us appreciate the good. Life ain’t easy even in the best times. (Damn, I’m starting to sound like a bunch of bumper stickers run together. Even bumper stickers can have value, though.) Remember, you are made of star stuff. It’s only fitting you are a source of light even when you’re down and life feels dark. I personally use dark humor to get me through much. What you wrote here is going to help someone, give them a reason to cogitate over difficulties and make it to the other side intact and better off for it. That ain’t half bad for a post, my friend! Hugs, Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The goal is to learn from those hard times.” It’s so very true that when we are tested those are the moments we can best choose growth. Often we don’t, and that’s a pity.

      I won’t be swept under; I have too much life left to live. But grief and loss come with you as you grow. The loss cannot be reversed so it stays with us, ever more distant but always present. What lessons have these months taught me? I’m still exploring. When I know, you’ll know. 😉

      Mona, I’m grateful I could help you in some measure through my words. Thank you so much for responding and letting me know that I had! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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