M., my daughter, sent me this message today as a follow-on to the revelation post yesterday: “life is to be enjoyed, not understood.”
I just realized that I grew up in a household in which science and truth were important. My father was a research scientist in geology that led him to discover minerals from asteroid impact on the earth at a time when astronauts gathered specimens from the moon. That seems like so long ago.
Being the eldest, I think the search for truth that permeated our household was something I absorbed under my skin, and which has both helped and haunted me all my life. Being rational and wanting to be the smartest brain in the room has both helped me in a late-blooming biotech career to, well, being avoided in order for me not to pronounce some direct “truth” that people may have preferred not hearing.
Be that as it may, I realized today that my bias, if you could call it that, was to reflect and ponder things in order to understand in my own way, what’s happened in my life. Little did I know that sometimes I’m right and often, I’m not and furthermore, that some things are just unfathomable: like why family dynamics were what they were without the benefit of being able to ask and having the departed weigh in from the grave.
Today, by chance, while surfing channels to see what was playing live from the Olympics, I came across Woody Allen’s movie, “Hannah and Her Sisters.” I’m not a Woody Allen fan as I tire of listening to his nostalgic jazz soundtracks and even more, dislike hearing about his personality quirks and life history that seem to have to be included in every one of his movies ad nauseum.
The reason I’m talking about him, though, is a scene in which Allen accidently shoots a mirror while contemplating killing himself in a low moment and in which he then realizes that “life is to be enjoyed, not to be understood.”
Okay, so you mean I don’t have to understand things in order to move on? I no longer have to ferret out what accounted for something happening and why people behaved the way that they have in order to live? This may sound like an exaggeration but honestly, it never occurred to me that I didn’t have to understand things in order to process them in my life. That’s a lot of hours, days, weeks, months and years spent pondering things when I could have been doing something else!
Now, because of a dumb Woody Allen phrase, I can give myself permission to enjoy life rather than understand it? Who knew?
I didn’t. And today I’m glad to begin experimenting with an alternative reality. Better late than never!
P.S. There’s nothing like puttering around in the kitchen on a snowy day. Here’s a photo of the peach crostata that I just took out of the oven for tonight’s dessert. Threw together some thawed peaches I had in the freezer for smoothies with a little flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, dotted with butter–combined with a Pillsbury pie crust, unrolled and patted into a small springform pan sprayed with Pam. Fold crust over peaches, sprinkle with coarse sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Leave in heated oven and serve warm pie with vanilla ice cream.