Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Editing My Life

April 8, 2015
Day 343

So I'm in the process now of proofreading and editing my third book ahead of a hoped-for June publication date.  I'm on page 95 of 313 pages, so I still have a ways to go, but it's a fun process for me, especially since this is the first time I'm even reading the book!  When you write a book, you're moving forward constantly, so you can't read it as a whole until you're done.

Strangely, that's not quite true for life.  We do review our lives all the time--we even edit some of the details too, at least publicly.  We say things are fine when they aren't, we cover up lies or embarrassments, we leave out details, and even lie to ourselves from time to time.

You can't really edit your life.  You can't go back and change your story so you never met that person who hurt you so much, or make it so you meet that other person even sooner.  You can't undo your job history or fix your grades or other struggles in school.  In my case, I can't un-fail out of high school, or go back and decide against giving four years of my life to the church as a monk.  Neither can I stop myself from gaining weight as much as I did, or throw a hand across my mouth to prevent me from saying that hurtful thing to a loved one.  Try as I might, none of it can be undone.

We can't just edit our lives after the fact.  It's just impossible.  What we can do, what we should do, is edit as we go: stop ourselves from getting angry as we're getting angry, calm ourselves as we're getting upset, and think a bit more when our hearts or mouths start running away from sanity.

Self-editing the book of our lives in a hundred little ways is always possible if we keep the possibility, like our mind, open all the time.  There won't always be an eraser or delete key handy to take back an angry word, gesture, or truth, but we can always add more words to our life story: sincere apologies, expressions of regret, and all new storylines filled only with love.

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