the lost man chronicles
book two: the art of love


Find your focus. For your focus is a mitigating factor that determines contemporary happiness, and ultimately, imbues meaning into your life.

It is too easy to get distracted, and inevitably despondent over what you are not doing. Your focus really should be a limited combination of focuses, each one being a channel to satisfaction in a different realm of your life.

As soon as you discover something that instills glee see to it that you recognize its worth and allow it to simplify your life, so that you might expend energy towards ends which are priorities.

For example, for several months now when I get home from work I make my self the same sandwich: same cheese, same spread, same bread. The meal is simple and satisfying. And not only is it delectable, because it accords with the time-tested palate, but it is tasty to me because I do not have to waste time thinking about what I should eat.

The same goes for the clothes I wear. I avoid dawdling at the start of each day by deliberating the way I want to present myself the night before. Furthermore, during the Fall, my wardrobe consists of but a few suits and half a dozen different dress shirts, of which I own two or three of each. Admittedly though, if I could I would simplify it even more by buying six of the same black suit, with a dozen of the same dress shirts to match.

Alas, I work for a conservative corporation and I know that I would rankle the rank and file just as much as Hawthorne's Minister with the Black Veil perturbed his community. Even fashion has no immunity in this stodgy setting, as I know this would unsettle my colleagues who would for some odd reason find it either strange, deranged, and disturbing should I merely rearrange my own idiosyncratic and inconsequential world order.

Casting other's frivolous concerns aside, the point is that focusing gives you one less thing to worry about.

Ironically, this is the inherent dilemma underlying contemporary relationships. Once we find someone that triggers the frantic creation of a million new synapses, one who encourages us to see everything old around us anew, that person who you find yourself thinking about constantly—at dinner with friends, when rehearsing, when merely walking casually down an empty street, when washing your hair, your clothes, even your feet; and most of all when you close your eyes futilely attempting to fall asleep, even though you well know thoughts of him, thoughts of her will not blur or dim the lights, but merely make everything all the more lucent and brighter.

Thus, the irony. Because inevitably she or she becomes that beautiful focus which disperses the loneliness and the desperate need to keep on looking. Yet, this skewed and glossy-eyed outlook will not be the forward looking purview that helps keep it all in perspective.

No, usually that elective is reserved for despondent retrospection.

Perhaps, than, the key to sustained happiness with any single person is to figure out, understand and embrace and engender the predilections that pique you. Likewise, it is vital to realize that she or he cannot be your everything. If anything, there may be a limited number of areas in which he is the absolute and all, but as we sing and skip along it is best to remember and recall that it is wrong to believe she will wield any everlasting and pervasive power.

So, in order to safely fall into this black hole it is most prudent to make and effort to keep your life focused. Don't unnecessarily involve the new belle or beau in areas you've already figured out, because involving them might move you to compromise your happiness in order to half-satisfy theirs.

Rather, it is advisable to determine the roles they best befit and to stick with them. Let friends be friends, lovers love, teachers teach, and muses inspire. For should you futilely try to have them play one too many parts, both of you will eventually tire and doom your ensemble performance from the start. He cannot play the lead, a fool, a knight, the king, just as any lady in waiting cannot also be the queen, Juliet or Dulcinea.

For such romances of all-encompassing hope inevitably prove nothing less than quixotic delusions.

the art of living the art of living the beginning the art of love the art of love

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