Category Archives: Symbols

Two Keys to My Kingdom

Many years ago I read an essay that said, “If you have more than two keys on your key ring, your life is too complicated.” At the time, my key ring was so heavy I was afraid it was going to damage the ignition of my car.

Today, for the first time ever: Two keys. One for the house and one for the car. 

And I have to say, my life is a lot less complicated.

I’ve had keys to storage lockers (the last one surrendered this afternoon), to my mother’s home, to post office boxes, to other peoples’ houses, to other vehicles, on and on and on.  Lots to keep track of. Lots of responsibility. None of it necessary. The only other key I employ on a regular basis is for my bicycle lock, but I keep that in my bicycle ditty bag. It doesn’t count because it’s not on my key ring.

Another indication of a life too complex is the amount of mail that arrives on a daily basis. There was a time when it took me an hour a day to process the mail. If I left town for a ten-day writing conference or retreat, I had ten hours worth of mail waiting for me when I got back.

Made me want to not come back.

Today’s mail brought one bill and an advertising flyer.

A life simplified.  Nobody owns me any more.

And because I don’t have all that flurry of questionably meaningful activity and responsibility, I have the time to concentrate on the important things. Study. Family. Leisure!

How many keys on your keyring? What would you have to give up in order to get down to two?

It’s a worthy goal.

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Filed under goals, Joy, peace, Possibilities, Stress, Symbols, time

Searching for a Personal Logo.

I was reading a book the other day and the author carried in his pocket a small token that he kept as his personal symbol. It reminded him of his faith, his mission, his purpose… in short, who he was in life. Or perhaps how he saw himself.

That got me to thinking. I used to have a personal logo, an anchor. The anchor is the universal symbol of hope, and as I was in the Naval Reserves at the time, it only seemed appropriate. I had it on my business cards, and thought briefly of having it tattooed on my ankle along with some of my shipmates. Glad we didn’t do that.

But then I changed business cards and didn’t carry the anchor through.

Today I see people wearing religious symbols on chains around their necks: crucifixes, stars of David, St. Christopher’s medals and what not. Theodore Sturgeon, my mentor in the early years of my writing career and the later years of his life, wore a Q with an arrow through it, which symbolized “Ask the next question.” To him, “What if?” was the only question a science fiction writer ever needed to ask.

Some people have a little icon that sits above their keyboard that provides them with focus, or purpose, or promise.

And I wonder: what is my personal logo today? With what do I identify myself so closely that I should carry a symbol? I have so many interests, so many roles.

And is identifying with one thing a little dangerous? If I wear a crucifix am I declaring to the world that I am a Christian and not open to the magnificence of other spiritual traditions? I eschew bumper stickers. Is declaring a personal logo akin to wearing an opinion?

I could dodge the issue by saying, “I’m a knitter,” and wear little knitting needle and yarn pins. Or symbols of a thousand and one things I enjoy. I carry in my purse a coin that I received on the anniversary of my sobriety, but that disease doesn’t define me, and that isn’t what the author who prompted this track of self-searching meant. He had only to put his fingers on that symbol in his pocket and he was reminded about who he was and what he was about.

The anchor doesn’t speak to me as it once did. I have a different view of hope today, but that is a blog for another time. At one time I thought the compass rose would make a good personal logo, but I’m not traveling the world as I once did.

So now I’m searching.

Do you have a personal logo?

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Filed under Symbols