Over the past month, Zac and I have had a fair few intense conversations. About All the Things. (His life is in Big Change mode. He is, reluctantly and after hard choices, leaving New York for a spell.) Reaction. Regret. Assumption. Presumption. Family. Work. Life. Future. Past. Friendship. Love. The upshot is that there’s no end to Learning. (If you’re lucky.)
Some time ago I jotted down the following. I hadn’t looked at it in awhile, but read it to Zac tonight. He yelled at me for a sec’— Why hadn’t I told him sooner? Why hadn’t I made it clear? I only thought it was obvious. Everything, once you know it, seems obvious. Even though you still manage to sublimate or forget it for periods of time, as convenient. Here:
Life gets easier, a little, as you get older, because you learn the power of words as well as actions. You learn to edit, to weed. Yes and No are two of the most powerful words in any language.
In a pinch (and inasmuch as you can)—
Say Yes to situations, people, moments, &c. that engender
— &c. (obv. love)
Say No to situations, people, moments, &c. that embody
* * *
*The Hemingway draft, pictured, is more direct; more war-torn (from A Farewell to Arms.) That guy could edit like a MF.
You learn a few things as you go along and one of them is that the world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. Those it does not break it kills.