One Day at a Time

So yesterday we got WAY more people than we counted on for our little improv party for #1 son.  Not that this was a bad thing.  I’m glad though that we decided to have TWO cakes, and 20 lbs of chicken legs, or we’d have been left in the lurch.

The party completely overrode our tiny little room and spilled out all the way down the hallway.

The last person left after one am — partly my fault as we engaged in conversation — and the boy is most thoroughly 25 now, which still makes me a little confused.  He still has five to seven years to finishing his degree fully and be a fully productive member of society.  Which is hard on the hyper-responsible young man who wants to pay his own way, but that’s the path he chose.  (And he’s borrowing most of it, but we’re paying his living expenses, of course.)

Woke up way too late this morning, which means we just had brunch and we have a panel at four.

This is not how I intended things to go today.  I have a Portuguese sf anthology I promised to read, look over the bilingual editing, and write an introduction for, which will probably mean I’ll be burning the midnight oil today as well.  I intended to get that done by noon today.  It won’t happen.

But it will hopefully get done by midnight — I got to talk briefly with Larry at the party yesterday and he approved my plans for Grant (mwahahahahahaha) — and I might get to meet with/talk to Larry int he meantime.  IF not that will be tomorrow.

One day at a time.  I won’t say I don’t often get furious at things going slow.  The little time I’ve had to devote to writing in the last two years of packing and moving moving moving moving, has cut down on my production to ridiculous levels, on top of the slow down of illness the two years before that.

I get annoyed and impatient, but there isn’t a hell of a lot more to do than take it a day at a time.  You know the thing about the journey of a thousand steps?  And the only way to accomplish it is to take that single step and then go on putting a foot in front of the other.  Just a foot in front of the other.  Sure, sometimes you’ll jump back to avoid a tiger, or take a detour around an obstacle.  But you try to generally keep moving.  One step at a time.  Towards your goal.

We all understand this in our private lives, even if sometimes the setbacks and detours make us despair.

Why is it so difficult to do in politics?  Why do people start from “I want it all and I want it now” like they all become Freddy Mercury?

Oh, I know, it’s because the history we learned telescopes all those steps into “and then the glorious conqueror walked a thousand steps and won.  The end.”  And because movies and books have conditioned us to this, too.

But Narrativium isn’t life, except in very small and marginal effects.  Life is a lot of boring, small things that push, push, push, getting us to the goal in steps so small that you sometimes don’t see yourself taking them.

And that’s what happens in politics, writ large.  You push push push and sometimes you don’t see the results for generations.

Our current clusterfilk is the result of pushing that started more than 100 years ago.

To want it all now, no setbacks, not halting, no walk arounds is to have no concept of the rate at which societies move.

It’s to want to toss the baby AND the bathwater out, in return for —  This is not clear as none of that will achieve the goal.

Though I suppose as a Latin woman I do understand how satisfying grand tantrums and dramatic exits are, in the end you just have to restart the journey again.

One step at a time.

It’s not grand or dramatic or interesting.  It is however what we have.

One step at a time.  One day at a time.  You do the best you can and you discard regrets.  And you move forward, though sometimes you can’t even see it, towards the goal that’s always far away.

One step at a time.  Here’s my hand.  I’ll help you on, if you help me on.

Towards those lofty goals.

Our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.  We’ll bet them all, and we might lose them all.  But we’ll move forward.

One step at a time.

56 responses to “One Day at a Time

  1. naaah nana naaaaah

  2. “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  3. Here’s a hand… Given the choice between the death of the thousand cuts, and the journey of the thousand steps – I know which one to choose. Even if there are a thousand rocks on the journey.

    This is why I described this place the way I did on the blog roll. Thank you for another day, milady!

    • “I hereby sentence you to a journey of a thousand steps, at the end of which you shall in the appointed place be put to death by a thousand cuts.”

      “Wow. Tough room…”

    • The difference between the journey of a thousand steps and the death of a thousand cuts is the difference between who’s doing the doing and who’s the done to.

  4. sabrinachase

    Something that hammered home History as She is Wrote was following Pepys’ diary, reading each day’s entry on the day it happened (Month and day, that is, obviously not year). He lived in stirring and troubled times, but it all happened verrrrry sloooowly (wind powered boats, lots of walking and gossip, and NO INTERNETS!)

    You and your two-cake privilege… 😀

    • The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage is interesting on the topic,because when it changed was at the introduction of the telpegraph.

  5. BobtheRegisterredFool

    It sucks, but at least they aren’t killing hundreds of people at once, and getting away with it here.

    I dunno.

  6. You know, you can always throw out the party crowd at a predetermined, pre-announced time. They usually just find another place to transplant the party.

    OTOH, it is just barely possible that the Glorious Hoyts really needed a party and Staying Up Too Late. In which case, you did the right thing by seeking catharsis.

    • sabrinachase

      Alibis. They needed bulk alibis.

    • This is why it is useful to have an album handy to put o the system and signal everybody that the party is over.

      Tommy Roe’s Greatest Hits is usually effective, although it risks leaving you with just the karaoke hipsters remaining.

      • The English had this weird, fun musical movement called Northern Soul, where the DJ’s in the 70’s and 80’s were playing really obscure Motown-era songs that were flops in the US. (But the songs were actually good.) A lot of these obscure folks ended up with unexpected European second careers, and the lady who sang the original version of “Tainted Love” married one of the guys from the UK band T Rex.

        Anyway, in the not-so-wee hours of the morning before people had to leave the dance clubs, the DJ’s would play the “3 before 8”: “Time Will Pass You By” by Tobi Legend (later covered by Kylie Minogue), “Long After Tonight Is All Over” by Jimmy Radcliffe, and “I’m on My Way” by Dean Parrish.

        Finding out about Northern Soul has explained a lot of later UK pop culture to me….

  7. Joe in PNG

    I’ve seen a lot of concern about vote fraud, but got to ask- how many of us here have plans to either work the polls, or become an official poll watcher?

    If you can, now’s the time to sign up.

  8. Must be the weather. My post today was about pushing the reset button – again.

    The state in which you worry about everything is not a state in which you can accomplish anything.

    • Reset buttons, oh yes… Next time I maintain the blog roll, yours is being added.

      That post reads almost like my (almost) daily log… (Sigh, I need to read the previous one too, obviously – I haven’t gotten up my author page yet for lack of a decent photo, which is hard to get in my usual state these days. We don’t have A/C, only evaporative, which is not particularly useful when the monsoons come in.)

      • Next on my list is to finish picking a photo (part 3), and then retouching it (part 4), and I’ll put up the photo, however it come out (the best I can do with my tools and photos).

        Unless the one I have is better. In which case, I’ll leave it and move on. I try these things – and eventually they settle in. Doesn’t help when I lose 4 days to life.

        And thanks for the blog boost – let me know.

        • I am tempted to retouch my photo, when I have it – but probably won’t except for removing any odd artifacts. The hair is at that point where the gray just looks old, not dignified…

          I’ll probably be doing maintenance on the blog roll sometime next weekend (not this one). I have a planned next story publication for a week from now, besides a rather long post on covers (which grew in scope, so is going to be at least a day later than I had hoped).

          In any case, thanks for the welcome!

  9. Funny you mention Freddie Mercury (ie, not y — he doesn’t wear a fedora and sweater 🙂 ), and one of my personal favorite Queen tunes.

    It isn’t quite the “gimme that it’s mine” anthem some people mistake it for; it’s more about “doing stuff now, so things are better later on”:

    I’m a man with a one track mind,/
    So much to do in one life time (people do you hear me)/
    Not a man for compromise and where’s and why’s and living lies/
    So I’m living it all, yes I’m living it all,/
    And I’m giving it all, and I’m giving it all….

    While credited to the group as a whole, it’s know this was written by Brian May, the “philosopher” of the group (he even has the hairdo for it 🙂 ).

    For the full experience: . 🙂

  10. Good cakes, those were.

  11. Christopher M. Chupik

    “I want it all and I want it now”

    I’ve come to realize that one of the chief differences between Left and Right is that the Left wants everything now now now, while the Right stops to ask what the consequences of that might be.

    • Joe in PNG

      Leftist: I want it, I’m entitled to it, you need to give it to me
      Rightist: I want it, what do I need to do to get it?

  12. Poor Grant. His rising civil service career undone by a scheming, exotic foreign woman…

  13. One of the benefits of getting on in years is the gaining of perspective. What seems a lot of “two-steps-forward, three-steps-back” and what were known in less enlightened eras as “Chinese Fire Drills” can, in retrospect, prove to have been very productive, while “Clear sailing, full speed ahead” can become familiar as the command issued just before running aground.

    When dealing with toddlers it is very easy to become lost in the “Now” and forsake hope of the child ever learning life’s essentials — a concern which, when viewed from the perspective of one certifying the end product proves mistaken more often than not.

    I’ve equally become convinced that political change is generational and derives from cultural change. No responsible faction can promise immediate results, and the extent to which one or both parties does so is the measure of its irresponsibility. But one aspect of living in a “Now” economy, one in which every ephemeral desire can be served with very little effort is we become accustomed to wanting immediate gratification even for things which have to bake the full allotted time — turning up the heat won’t make those biscuits bake faster.

    Cultural change takes time and is built on trust. Like trying to drive on ice, you have to respect the situation, put it in the right gear and remember that giving too much gas results, at best, in just spinning your wheels.

  14. Why is it so difficult to do in politics?

    Because the sense of injustice evokes a quite different response from that evoked by the sense that the house is getting cold. Yes, a gradual whittling-back of the injustices is the best we can do for now — if, indeed, we can do even that much. But that’s the response of the strategist, not of the ordinary schlump who feels he’s being raped. He wants the rape to stop right now, and he’s got a perfect right to demand exactly that.

    Alongside that, we have the demonstrated failure of gradualist initiatives these past decades to achieve any whittling-back at all. Even the Reagan Administration, as highly as we regard Reagan, grew the government, increased its rapacity, and further reduced Americans’ liberties. So while gradualist initiatives aimed at intensifying our bondage have proved effective, we have had few or no demonstrations of gradualism as a freedom-restoring tactic.

    It’s all perfectly logical and consistent — and it’s why violent revolutions always surprise even the shrewdest, smartest onlooker.

    • So while gradualist initiatives aimed at intensifying our bondage have proved effective, we have had few or no demonstrations of gradualism as a freedom-restoring tactic.

      One area where the thousand steps liberty-restoring process is demonstrated is in the arena of gun rights. While the gun haters have been doing the thousand-step march of gun control for a century or more, and are still at it with their UBC, ‘no fly, no buy’, etc., gun rights proponents have been pushing back for about the last three decades. Starting in Florida in ’87, ‘shall issue’ permitting to carry has pretty much swept the nation and permitless carrying, now styled Constitutional Carry because it’s so much easier to say than ‘Vermont, and Alaska, and . . . to nearly a dozen states Carry’ is a growing phenomenon. Also the spreading of Castle Doctrine and so-called Stand Your Ground measures.

      The gun fight is not over by a long shot. It may never be over completely. But gun rights supporters are actually winning some battles rather than not losing, or not losing too badly.

    • I think this boils down to a fundamental strategic imbalance between Conservatism/libertarianism (status quo) and Progressivism (change). Being an ideological battle, there is no concern for attrition, so the agents of change are in a state of permanent assault. Failure isn’t ‘not an option’; it’s meaningless. At some point, the defense will give.

      As tcbobg points out, the 2A rights movement has performed well under constant assault, but it is fundamentally a status quo position. It simply will not hold. A team with no offense can’t win. This is the reason the Left requires a steady supply of victims of oppression – a constant motivator for change.

      I don’t know the solution to this particular problem, other than to wait for people to forget the old status quo.

    • Joe Wooten

      Maybe a first good step is to get rid of the federal bunny inspectors…..

  15. If you want to do the “move forward” part you really need to hang on to the “lives” part.

  16. I’m totally on board with one step at a time. It’s much harder to do than other more dramatic options (because it seems too modest, and the results are delayed – tough for those who want immediate gratification), but it’s also more effective.