One Thing or Another: Still Life with Benefits

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all. 

By Mark McNease

I read once that the most revolutionary thing we can do is slow down … And now, in the woods, with darkness and animals just on the other side of the wall, I am doing that: slowing down. It is revolutionary. It changes and transforms.

It’s that time of year when custom encourages us to take a look back over the past twelve months and contemplate what we’ve been through.  It’s always a lot. Have you ever reached the end of a year when there weren’t events of great significance? January begins with hope and December ends with surrender—that’s the annual passage we take again and again until the journey ends. Some of us lose loved ones, some of us change jobs, some of us find joy above and beyond simply waking up each morning slightly amazed we’re still here. I don’t know about you, but that’s really how I feel most days when I find myself conscious once more: what in the world is this? How did I come to be, and how am I able to ask that question? It’s as miraculous as anything will ever be.

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One Thing or Another: Straws and Camels

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease

There are shadows overhead for all of us, and we sometimes live our lives as if those shadows will suddenly grow larger and darker as something dreadful finally swoops down to take us away. But we can choose another way.

I can’t name a specific date and time, but at some point the past few months I stopped paying attention to the news beyond what I need to stay informed. Is there a significant natural disaster nearby I need to know about? Has a foreign invader breached our northern shores? Have scientists discovered that drinking eight cups of coffee a day leads to a long life or that it causes permanent memory loss? There’s the local political stuff I want to know about, like who the next governor of New Jersey might be, even though I haven’t registered yet to vote here, and which dismal choice I’ll have to make next year for health insurance. But the overall big picture, the cloud of dread and anxiety that is our current 24/7 news cycle? I just can’t indulge in it anymore. Very little of it uplifts me and much of it depresses me. It’s as if, given the possibility we are not living in the end times, we’ve collectively decided to make it appear as if we are, like that Buck Owens and Roy Clark song I remember from Hee Haw, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me …”

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One Thing or Another: Calamari Wishes and Cashier Dreams

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease 

Life is about downsizing now, reducing the number of things someone will have to have hauled off when I’m dead.

Readers of a certain age will recognize the title reference from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Robin Leach’s hit show about the rich and infamous that ran from 1984 – 1995. It was the granddaddy of celebrity voyeurism, the original orgy of window shopping into lives we would never experience, caviar we would never eat and champagne we would never drink.

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One Thing or Another: Hope, Renewal and a Miracle Cat

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

A funny thing happened on the way to despair: our oldest cat Jessica defied expectations and lived to meow another day. If you’ve ever had a pet diagnosed with a grave illness, you know the odds. You also know the futility of hope—they might get better with a daily pill, they’ll need some insanely expensive surgery you can’t afford, you’ll spend a few weeks or months believing they’ll recover, then you’ll cradle them in your arms in room #3 at the vet’s office waiting for a syringe of Permanent Sleepytime. read more…

One Thing or Another: Auld Lang Anxiety (So Long 2016)

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

One Thing Logo FINALI’ve witnessed the end of a few years in my time, but seldom have I welcomed their passing as much as I welcome the final days of 2016. It has been both a year to remember and a year to forget, the way one allows painful memories to fade. While I wouldn’t trade the year for, say, a wrinkle in time that caused me to jump from 2015 to 2017, I can say without hesitation it’s been a year of cataclysm, change, overwhelming emotion, and degrees of stress I hope to never experience again.

I could write about job loss for the year, the death of one pet and health scare for another. I could write about getting shingles that still itch. I could write about an entire year consumed by political news that went from the entertaining to the grotesque, to the utterly heartbreaking. And that would be just the beginning.

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