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Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Fifty-Three — This Condition of Being Human

When's the last time you looked in all the pockets of your suitcases?  There's some stuff in there you may want to get rid of.

When’s the last time you looked in all the pockets of your suitcases? There’s some stuff in there you may want to get rid of.

We all have baggage.  Some we carry around for decades—a snarky, hurtful comment is like an old tube of travel toothpaste that we find when we dig out a suitcase to go somewhere.  We look at it and think, I’ll just keep this in case I need it again. 

Despite that its freshness is gone and the expiration date is past, we cling on to it. We find comfort in these just-in-case things.  Then, when we’re ready, we stop seeing the value of holding on and we let (it) go, wondering why it took so long for us to do so.

Everything Has an Expiration Date

We are the only species who come into this world and know, after we grow into thought-seeking and understanding individuals, that we have an expiration date.  We ignore that fact for awhile, tuck it away. Think irrationally that “it” happens to other people.

Then we realize our mortality.  It happens abruptly—this realization—usually, when we’re older and some major life thing occurs and we’re left thinking — “Oh, I’m not going to be here forever.”

Human condition—loss. We learn how to move about in a life that doesn’t have that someone in it. After the shock of acceptance, we get on with the sometimes daunting task and at the same time, absolute joy of living. The dichotomy of it never ceases.

We learn to treasure those insanely happy moments—laugh out loud, fall in love, not care what people think moments.  We focus more of our time being with and enjoying those people who get us, love us and think we’re worth loving, even at our worst.

It’s great when we learn this.  Virtual high-five.

Others, the people that come in and out of our lives, are just the “extras” on our life’s stage — them too going through their own condition of being human.

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time. - Vicktor Frankel

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time. – Vicktor Frankel

Human condition—the realization that no one else is to blame, for the most part, for who we are or where we are; and, if we are born into circumstances that do dictate the results of how we end up, we still have the human capacity to choose how to live our lives.  There’s numerous accounts of these special individuals.  We know who they are—they are the ones that help us better understand ourselves—the human condition, its frailties and strengths  Thank God for them, yes?

We rush to accomplish this or that.  Make lists of things we must do.  A fierceness of purpose sets in until we understand, finally, that it’s not a race. It’s life and all that comes with it and we’re not going to get to do everything we want.

This condition of being human — stark realities, joy, despair, panic, anger, love, loss — all lumped into complex layers that make us who we are.  We love, we lose, we love again.

And on it goes.  We leave impressions here and there, each of us palimpsests of our own lives. When I leave a place, I know that someone else will be taking up the space I left.  Looking out at the view I did with a different set of eyes.

We are connected and the thing that connects us is this:  We are each on our own, discovering our true selves, alone. It’s not such a lonely thing though, is it?  It’s a human thing, a condition of being the magnificent SELF we each are.

The Places We Go (and Others Too)

I read Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh! The Places You’ll Go, when I was a child and it sits on my bookshelf now, reminding me of where I came from, where I’ve been and the wondrous places I’ve yet to explore — whether that be from a book or a journey—literally—or within myself or my mind’s eye.  We all have some “flax-golden tales to spin,” don’t we?

 My father!—methinks I see my father. And when Horatio asks him,
”Where, my lord?” Hamlet replies: “In my mind's eye, Horatio.”

 My father!—methinks I see my father. And when Horatio asks him,
”Where, my lord?” Hamlet replies: “In my mind’s eye, Horatio.”

And, the knowing that I will be in places that other eyes have seen, countless times, generations  and generations before — all of us in our own human experience.  If you think about that, it’s wondrous, isn’t it—this condition we all have in common.  We get the opportunity every single day to experience all of this human, ever-evolving condition we find ourselves in.

This is a road that many people have walked.  I'm talking generations--hundreds of years.  They call them Oak Alleys where I am.

This is a road that many people have walked. I’m talking generations–hundreds of years. They call them Oak Alleys where I am.

“The road is long and in the end, it’s only with ourselves.”  Kurt Vonnegut.

Whether we’re in the heights of joy or the pit of despair, it’s simply a condition of being human.  Utterly, beautifully human.

What’s Your Condition?

There have been times when I’ve felt that life breaks little pieces of my heart.  We all feel that at waypoints throughout our lives.  But, we mend and learn how resilient and strong we are.  I’ve found the best thing to do at times is to just give into it:  Take it, break it, have it, Life and I love you. And scream/sing at the top of my lungs.

Give it try, it works.

Happy Monday everyone.


What condition is your condition in?  Describe it to me through poetry, prose or song. Or, just tell it to me — your way.  What do you find in your suitcase when you pull it out to go somewhere? Can you come up with a better analogy than the tube of toothpaste thing?

Oh, and how it’s going?


Photo Creds:
The Human Condition by Rene Magritte
Woman Face by Graur Codrin
References:  Shel Silverstein’s “Invitation,” Where the Sidewalk Ends.

About Brigitte



30 thoughts on “Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Fifty-Three — This Condition of Being Human

  1. Lovely to see a post from you, and what a powerful one it is. It’s too bad
    it takes the realization of the finiteness of life before we really start to enjoy the moments, especially those little moments that we often overlook when we’re young. But I suppose it makes sense to always be looking forward when we’re young.

    I like what you said about our aloneness. We are indeed ultimately alone, but as you point out, the fact that others are to unites us. It’s almost a contradiction of sorts.

    Lovely post, Brigitte.

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | November 10, 2014, 1:41 pm
  2. The condition of being human … loved this post. I find the music and visual of this video is wonderful for putting things in perspective and reminding us of the great big world out there and all that is in it — so much to explore, so much to ponder, and we are just one small part in it: http://youtu.be/r6qi393Z7L8 — and when life throws you down, a reminder to be grateful for the beauty surrounding us.

    Posted by Kat at travelgardeneat | November 10, 2014, 1:54 pm
    • Hi Kat! Thanks and nice to see you here. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. We forget that world out there at times, I think and when we do realize the vastness and what goes on it, we realize how much we have to be grateful for, huh? I do. So appreciate your lovely comment.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 10, 2014, 2:22 pm
  3. Beautifully said, Brigitte, and very much my philosophy. It is so easy to get lost in the everyday that we forget the now. Each second is a chance for rebirth, and our mortality makes those seconds precious. Thanks for your thoughts. –Curt

    Posted by Curt Mekemson | November 10, 2014, 1:55 pm
  4. Hmm, my current condition? I’ve definitely been better but it’s not the end of the world yet. Far from it, although there are days when it’s hard to see even a pinpoint of light at the end of the (job seeking) tunnel.

    You’re right though, that no matter what condition it is, the one thing we can be sure of is the condition of being human. Sometimes I think that being human is one of the most difficult things ever and that being able to think or feel so intensely is a disadvantage, rather than a gift. So then it comes down to the little moments of appreciation and human interaction to pull me back from that line of thought and give me some perspective.

    I suspect you’ve grappled quite a bit recently with this human condition thing too but nevertheless, your trademark thought-provoking post has resulted. Hope you have a great week ahead! 🙂

    Posted by lillianccc | November 10, 2014, 1:56 pm
    • Lillian! How are you? Job seeking can be soul-sucking at times, yes? Hang in there though, the right thing will find you. I know what you mean about feeling so intensely. I used to think it was a disadvantage but I don’t think so anymore. It means you’re sensitive, empathetic and caring and those are all very good things. It’s a matter of balancing those feelings I think and as you say, pulling or stepping back to gain perspective. I’d rather feel too much than too little any day! I hope you have a great week too and life is good, isn’t it?

      Thanks Lillian and wonderful to hear from you.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 10, 2014, 2:26 pm
  5. I’m so glad to see you here, dear Brigitte. And as always, giving us much to think about. My condition…mmmmm. I like how you said ” life breaks little pieces of your heart” …it does, but then it gets put back together again, and the light still shines through, just differently. It’s the putting it back together, with what kind of glue? Choices choices and choices and perspective. I’m bumbling and fumbling, trying to find my compass and reorientation.

    Now, don’t disappear again. I like the Frankel quote.

    Posted by UpChuckingwords | November 10, 2014, 5:06 pm
  6. This resonated with me, Brig:

    “Human condition—loss. We learn how to move about in a life that doesn’t have that someone in it. After the shock of acceptance, we get on with the sometimes daunting task and at the same time, absolute joy of living. The dichotomy of it never ceases.”

    My father’s death this summer was not a surprise, but his shedding his mortal coil was numbing for me. I feel very lucky that I participated in his hospice care and was with him when he drew his last breath. I function fine, I bath, work out, do my job, hang out with my friends, write my blog, etc., but I am shadowed by his absence. Mourning the loss of my last surviving parent, and then moving to the front of the checkout lane is heavy. My friend, Milton, is also an orphan. He told me it will probably take about a year to get through this. I’m very grateful that my parents gave me two supremely supportive siblings. When we were caring for our dying dad, my sister, Dovima, told me, “It’s up to us now.” She was dreading this upcoming Christmas, but my brother, Axel, said, “We’ll make our own traditions.” And we will. We’re a tight unit, the three of us. The loss of our father has made us closer. For me, that’s very comforting.

    Posted by lameadventures | November 10, 2014, 8:36 pm
    • And I’m glad you’re posting agian, too!

      Posted by lameadventures | November 10, 2014, 8:37 pm
    • Ah V, I know so much of what you’re feeling. It hits you out of nowhere sometimes, you know? It lessens over time but it changes you. I am fortunate that I do have my Mom but I get you with the Daddy thing. I feel more of an adult or something like that. It’s still kind of fresh for me as well but I remember your beautifully eloquent post about your Dad and it gave me comfort. You’re a wonderful writer.

      I’m so glad you and Milton have each other. He sounds like a one of a kind person. And, your parents must’ve been so cool. You and your siblings have great names that you don’t hear that often. My sisters and I have unique names too.

      Thanks for sharing and your lovely comments.


      Posted by Brigitte | November 10, 2014, 9:03 pm
  7. Brigitte,
    I so look forward to savoring your posts when I see the notification in my mailbox. I’d never really thought about the key commonalities of the human condition in quite this way, but it makes sense: what we all share is our unique aloneness. I think these days, I’m fairly comfortable with that. For the most part, life is good – except when I choose to scare myself about things that really don’t matter! 🙂 Besides, the cold never bothered me anyway!

    Hope you’re doing well, my friend. So good to see you here!


    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | November 10, 2014, 11:04 pm
    • Cathy, what a nice thing to say —thank you. I too, am comfortable, and that’s the plus side of growing older and wiser. ;). So it’s cold your way? We are in the low 70s but I’m ready for Fall and it’s getting here. I don’t miss the bitter cold and seriously, it’s weather and it’s going to do what it’s going to do, right? I hope you’re great too, Cathy and thanks for stopping in and your wonderful comment.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 11, 2014, 8:00 am
  8. Wow! “What’s your condition?” is a great question, and one I’ve never asked myself. I’m not sure that–as of this moment, anyway–I even know how to answer it. That’s not a bad thing by any means, but it does make me look like I’m dodging the question.

    I’ve read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and I can say without hyperbole that it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

    Posted by Smaktakula | November 11, 2014, 1:41 pm
    • Hi Smak and great to see you again! It’s been awhile since I’ve been active in blogland and I’m glad you stopped by. It is a tough question, isn’t it? I guess my condition is learning while being introspective and content. I’ve not read “Man’s Search for Meaning” and I’ve been meaning to for some time. This point in my life is probably the perfect time for me to do just that. Thanks, Smak.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 11, 2014, 2:29 pm
  9. Yo. Testing.

    Posted by UpChuckingwords | November 11, 2014, 2:50 pm
  10. So happy to see you! And I get, relate to etc. all of this. Perhaps a product of age? We have suffered more loss, hopefully seen more and loved more. All of that experience helps us to toss out the toothpaste???


    Posted by Maggie O'C | November 11, 2014, 5:28 pm
    • Hey Maggie, I’ve missed you too. Got to get over to your new project. How is your friend? How are you? So wonderful to see you and hope you and yours are great. I do think it’s a product of age. My Mom visited me recently and she is very calm about things that I still stress over. So this content thing and being grateful comes, it does, and that’s the part of growing old gracefully I think. That’s what I want. To do it gracefully, you know?

      I love that you said “We’ve seen more and loved more…” YES!

      And you get the toothpaste analogy—thank you, smart lady. Be well, my friend. xxoo

      Posted by Brigitte | November 11, 2014, 5:36 pm
  11. Wonderful to see another post from you, Brigitte, and one that shows you haven’t lost a single step. 🙂 My condition’s a bit frazzled this week with a major report deadline. But overall, it’s also getting used to a busier schedule and gradually accepting the knowledge and realizations that come with mid-life. There’s been some internal kicking and struggling at times, but I hope some wisdom is taking hold…. Time will tell, right? 😉

    Posted by jmmcdowell | November 13, 2014, 3:11 pm
    • Hey JM, why thank you and glad you enjoyed it. I bet you thrive under deadlines. I know I do. If I have one, I’ll grumble about it but it makes me get things done when I’m supposed to. And yeah, that mid-life thing, kind of difficult sometimes, but why fight it? It’s gonna happen and that’s a good thing. :). Thanks so much for stopping by—great to see you here, as always.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 13, 2014, 4:48 pm
  12. I am glad I waited until today to read your musings–the wisdom and observations are hitting me in just the right spot–I love your writing, and I love understanding myself a little bit more after reading what you write. It is odd to think that we have never met, yet have forged (in my mind, or third eye) a lovely relationship–it is one that I cherish and do not want to lose

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | November 14, 2014, 5:34 am
    • Lou! I’m glad you read it anytime and thank you for taking the time to stop by and do so. You know I love your writing (which btw always gives me food of thought and helps me understand more) and I agree with you. I feel the same and I cherish your friendship as well, in my mind’s eye and otherwise.

      Posted by Brigitte | November 14, 2014, 7:47 am

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