Privilege Blog

The Greatest Privilege, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:23am

I keep a manual to-do list. Today I look forward to rewriting it. Maybe that’s just foolish morning optimism, as often on waking I feel joy for no clear reason. But maybe it’s just been a difficult few months. When I’m neither overwhelmed nor enraged some part of me likes managing hard projects.

The greatest privilege, it seems to me, is having enough reserve capacity – either from genetics or experience or extended family and friends – to observe and infer. Even during very bad times.

Ah, I am sure the greatest privilege is never to face impossible times.

But I do feel lucky to be learning from what’s been going on with my mother’s Alzheimer’s. Looking outward, I realize just how much everyone fumbles. My family’s belief in and attempts at excellence are not standard. And raging about that gets one nowhere. Looking inward, I see how weak I am in a fight, and how sturdy in simply going along. Particularly when there is someone to care for.

I also see what a hard time I have listening without jumping to conclusions. My  desire for meaning often outstrips what I’m able to absorb.

Anyway, as I said, now’s my favorite time of year. As spring is to colder climates – a promise, a time outside of time – so is early summer to California. Every bit of our bones cries out, “Dry me! Blast out whatever decayed in the cold!” Or, lower-key,  we murmur, “How nice to be warm, and dry, and out under the long blue.”

Have a good weekend everyone. And boundless joy for no discernible reason whenever possible.

28 Responses

  1. For me: rewriting a to-do list would be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
    Hope you’ll have a nice weekend!

  2. Sadly, no one never faces impossible times. It’s part of being alive.

    I’ve been in the middle of an impossible time for a while now.

    But I know that life goes on and I look forward to being able to experience boundless joy once again.

  3. I make mental to do lists every morning. So, of course, they are never that long. Today I have 3 things on my list besides meal prep. Right now I am sitting on our back deck enjoying the sunshine, cooing doves, chattering squirrels and all the green. Soon, I will have to tackle my list. Not just yet.

    A glorious weekend to you!

  4. I know no one who has not faced challenges in life…I think by the time we arrive at midlife or beyond much of what we have become is shaped by these events. The trick is not to let these challenges define us or make us garde and bitter. Your waking joyfully on a Saturday morning is evidence that you are a sturdy survivor.
    Enjoy your weekend and writing your do list!

    1. That’s very wise – we do become in time shaped by these difficult events in a way that we can’t predict, really, early on.

  5. I just nodded along reading each paragraph. Agreed with it all. Enjoy the sun.
    PS. despite keeping an eye out for your Sydney doppelgänger, haven’t seen her since last December!

    1. Thank you. And, maybe it was me in Sydney, making some kind of “in my dreams” voyage. I mean, probably not, but no harm in pretending:).

  6. Welp! The rent is due on the first of the month and I don’t have it. Been working on a project where there is great payoff that takes a while. I can ask a friend for the money. They have offered and I’m reluctant.

    In the middle of this incredibly trying time, I have to stay in the moment instead of looking ahead for icebergs.

    I’m looking forward to the simple pleasure of not worrying about money anymore. I will get there and I will appreciate it every day.

    1. @Anon, You will get there. Hard to know what to do about borrowing from a friend, my sense is your gut will tell you the answer. All possible good fortune to you.

  7. I am sorry to hear about the challenges you have been going through.

    A support group for family/caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s is an incredibly powerful and useful (and safe…) place to be. Think about visiting one.

    Here is a website to look for the group in your area:

    You can come, and go, whenever you want. A safe place to vent with people who understand.

    I am a checklist diva. It is in the only way when you are trying to live your life and be a caregiver. I have found that I get a lot of satisfaction from scribbling off boxes on my checklist. So I always start with some low hanging fruit.

    So inspired me to revise my checklist this morning. And it will start with “Take a shower”. Yes…..

  8. Nice post :-) I am an inveterate list-maker. I love having paper, pens, pencils around me and with me. There is always something to note or a letter to start, or a reason for a haiku, be it a passing snowy egret or flock of ibises or gasp!—a Roseate Spoonbill!
    Joy is such a blessing. And contentment in the midst of whatever our circumstances.
    Not a fan of summer, though :-/
    Hoping for daily thunderstorms.

  9. “and out under the long blue”….a California sky perfectly stated. thank you. xx-hb

  10. Lol, you made my day. Funny thing is, right after I read that, and then was driving home, the sky grew darker and darker and the wind began picking up and I saw lightning flash in the clouds. Am home now and hearing thunder. Hopefully cats and dogs soon to follow… so thanks:-)

  11. I said, it before but I AM RIGHT BEHIND YOU and it appalls me at how people areNOT EDUCATED and DONOT KNOW how to answer your questions!!!
    In the process of LOOKING for a NEW place for my MOTHER…………
    NO FUN!

  12. I also find lists very helpful…on several levels. Keeping a list and checking off accomplishments as well as adding new actions shows you are making steady progress and keeping track.

    When others see you keeping track they are likely to be more focused and accountable. Good things happen when a list is used to guide efforts.

    I’ve also been known to create a checklist of needs to evaluate whether or not others can meet my needs.

    Speaking personally, the more complex the situation, the more important a list becomes. IMHO! Susan

  13. @Diane, I came across your blog through They thought I’d enjoy it, and I do. I wanted to let you know that so much of what you write resonates with me. I adore this passage: “Looking inward, I see how weak I am in a fight, and how sturdy in simply going along. Particularly when there is someone to care for.

    I also see what a hard time I have listening without jumping to conclusions. My desire for meaning often outstrips what I’m able to absorb.”

    It’s always strange when you come across someone that is not oneself, articulating feelings and emotions as if they were.

    Cheers! Diana

    1. Diana – It’s a pleasure to meet you. And imagine now that you write a blog and bunches of people who share your perspective! Highly recommended;). Even when we disagree, if we do it well, it feels great. Thank you for saying hello.

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