Halloween is over. I did what I do most years. I made sure I had candy on hand to give to roaming bands of tiny costumed raiders, should any appear, and made jokes in the office about coming to work as a “sexy [whatever-my-current-job-is]”, without making any changes in appearance. I giggle about it every year, and every year it is enough for me. I delight in the more involved efforts of others, children and adults both, and that is also enough.

Last night’s treat was the little girl a couple units down, who was the first trick or treater to my door. I’m not stingy about these sorts of things; there is fun in the excesses and wide-eyed moments. I dug deep into the heavy “black cauldron” of sweets at the door (it was actually my black enameled cast-iron dutch oven, adequately cauldron-y for the occasion) and pulled a crazy fistful of all manner of candies from the darkness. Her eyes went wide with surprise, and her little jack-o-lantern was well-filled with the additional goodies. She gave her mom a huge grin, and did the
“excitement dance” of wordless joy, and they headed off into the night. I think she was dressed as a princess… or maybe a butterfly… it was a chilly night, and she was wrapped also in a warm coat. I remember her delighted smile more than any detail of what she wore.

Last night’s trick was simply how tired I was. I crashed early, just as soon as the sound of children’s laughter was no longer reaching my door, after a shower, some yoga, some meditation – it was fairly early. I woke to the alarm clock.

The long commute is not an ideal fit for my long-term needs, and continues to reinforce my commitment to get into a little place truly all my own, either well-suited to my retirement needs, or more temporarily much closer to work. January isn’t that far away, and it is the last month on this lease. I’ve put time into planning next steps, and getting all the paperwork likely to be requested sorted out and gathered up. It’s a time for getting small details worked out, small problems solved, small challenges overcome, and of course, as they develop I add them to my list of things to get done, and each week I do some of them. It’s all very orderly – I like order.

My life in general improve greatly once I understood how very much I do like order, and how critically important it was for me, personally, to balance my desire for order with my inner chaos. I spent far too long chasing “good” characteristics that had value for someone else, but weren’t all that important to me in any direct or personal way. Gnothi seauton, people. Seriously. Do you, no one else will do that as well. Sounds easy, I know, and on the face of it that makes sense; I have all the knowledge necessary to know myself, do I not? Who else would have more? Yeah, I know. It’s rarely so simple, once we’re finished with painting ourselves into metaphysical corners, and wrapping ourselves in the concertina wire of the expectations of others, our feelings of obligation, and our assumptions about the world around us – what do we really know? I smile and sip my coffee. I know myself. I am irrefutably the expert on the woman in the mirror, and fairly comfortable with her, at this point, too. It makes for a firm starting point for most any journey. I’m glad I finally got here. 🙂

Take off your mask – Halloween is over. It’s time to face the person in the mirror, and know yourself. Today is a good day for self-knowledge, and self-awareness. Today is a good day to start that journey; there is more to know. Today is a good day to be mindful that we are each having our own experience, each wearing our own mask, and each walking our own mile. Today is a good day to take off our masks and face the world.