When life frustrates me with a problem I cannot solve, I often turn to tidying up. I am not a tidy person by nature. I sometimes leave clothes lying around in folded piles. I stack books in haphazard piles on the floor near my bed rather than on my book shelves. Unopened mail accumulates on my nightstand. But when I am frustrated or stuck, I often begin to clean. I shred the credit card offers and crumple the adverts and pack away the greeting cards in boxes for a later time when I might actually want to go back and read the funny card my friend got me on my twelfth birthday. I shower and brush my teeth as though a part of me thinks that if everything around me is clean, my house, my body, my mouth, then the answer will be clearer.

It doesn’t always work, but the people I live with sure are happy.

I don’t put my hands in my pockets when I have forgotten to zip my pants. I might forget my hands are in my pockets and begin to gesture. And if my students laugh, it is not because I am terribly funny.

I traveled around the world trying to find out who I was, only to end up back home a different person anyway.

I never sit down on a toilet seat that I don’t know who sat on it.

When I meet someone new, it is better to learn who they are before I begin to tell them who I am.

No man is perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to be. I try to laugh when I remember it.

I make lists of things to do each day and check them off as I go. They give me direction and help me keep score, and later, after the years have passed I might find one or two of them tucked away in some old drawer and although I may not remember the details, I will know I accomplished something.

Every highway has a service area. I stop and get a cup of coffee, stretch the legs, go to the bathroom, but I don’t stay there forever.

No matter how dark it gets, I can always see the flame of a candle.

The finest moments are not those I plan, they are the spontaneous moments when I am vulnerable to true joy.

© Seth Crossman