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STOIC POETRY | No second chance

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 14, 2019

Dear Eric,

There's great satisfaction in success. But only if that success resonates deep and echos back to our ears with the same voice and confidence we used to utter our claim of victory. That's because the Homunculus - the little man or woman within - isn't want to chorus our vain hopes, and will either remain mute or echo discontent when we tell lies. And sometimes our stories of success are lies. Even we know they are lies.

Hitting all the checkboxes Is ultimately... A quite unsatisfying way to live

So, we speak of our obvious success and are met with quiet from within. No congratulations from the small voice. Or maybe, just a slight "good job" offered like a consolation prize. And that's what it is...small consolation for the hard work of heeding instructions not truly our own, offered to us by the cautious and fearful pack, by the example of sane and sober precedent and the thin, shrill voice of our own fear. "Take the safe way... Be safe. There's no such thing as too safe".

Now, at midlife, the Homunculus has withdrawn. Not gone. Just retired to a more inner bunker. Our little man or woman has followed our lead, has modeled our example, has found safe harbor early and deep as we showed it the way.

"Knock knock..."

"You in there??"

Do you remember when our answering voice was so near before? Just under our skin when we were young; and when the vision behind our eyeballs was so clear, seeing such bright colors! The early Homunculus was then hot with life just below our every surface. We could feel it. We called it then "youth" and proclaimed it's voice innocent and dear and vain and fabulous. "It'll pass" they always said. "Just give it time... Wild oats you know. Oats of every sort..." They were right. That energy and life does pass. But mostly because we fail to keep up with it's long, purposeful, disconnected strides. We stop along the way, asking after our departing fellow "Where are you headed off to so boldly??" To be told "Out there" as our youth points vaguely to the frontier of a distant dense and wild copse. "That looks dark" we timidly ask "and is it safe?? I was told to be safe." "It's not safe" replies the Homunculus moving further on, gaining some distance from us, it's strong voice a little dim now. "Are you coming?" it questions without looking back...adding. "I won't ask again."

Years go by...

"Knock knock..."

"You in there?"

Faintly, from deep within... "What is it..?"

Timidly... So timid now. Our voice quavering with age and fear and tired and worry. "I think...I think I want to go with you now. Did you ever enter the copse?"

Barely audible..."I never went. I could not go without you."

Long silence...

"Perhaps a cruise, then?"


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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