Do you hear what I hear?
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…is this a cultural construct or the work of medieval religious institutions who wanted to regulate daily prayers, rest, and work schedules?
Well, let me just say not much has changed.
I feel regulated much of the time, not just by clocks, but my hormones!
Sssssh…I hear this retort repeatedly these days, as I randomly lament out loud about the incessant heat, and my persistent body odor. I have no tolerance for heat, microaggressions, and uncertainty. This could be part of the aging process, unexpected hormonal shifts, or simply a reasonable evolution of thought?
We’ll never be a hundred percent sure because if I’m not allowed to speak in my own home it feels as if my thinking has also been obstructed. #QuarantineIssues
At the current moment, there are no less than three conference calls being conducted within earshot of my chair, which is my lake house office, and I’m finding it difficult to focus with all this conflicting chatter.
Is anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?
On one of the calls my sister-in-law is tutoring someone in Spanish who lives on the other side of the state, my daughter is discussing a recently filed lawsuit about gender inequality with coworkers, and Looney is discussing a bloody crime scene, or no, maybe he’s forecasting for next quarter? Either way, it’s not a pretty picture.
Maybe I should paint my nails, something that doesn’t require critical thinking, but has a distinct bonus of looking eloquent while holding a wine glass. Win, win.
I’m determined to focus on the positives this week, clearly my morose blog on “dreaming of the life I once loved” was not appealing to y’all. If you missed it, consider yourself blessed.
“On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can’t remember it, who can? The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront. I can’t possibly keep up.”
This week I’m all about optimizing the time I have left, much less melancholic (not to be confused with alcoholics), and a more fertile use of my resources.
So I’ll be perfectly honest, I thought I would have accomplished so much more by the time I turned 60, but here I am in view of the finish line, and it feels as if I’m suddenly sprinting instead of taking a leisurely stroll, smelling the roses, tending to my arthritic knees?
Why is time passing so quickly?
This is hard to admit but I’m discouraged by my lack of accomplishments. I don’t know exactly what I was hoping would happen by my 6th decade? It’s vague at best. It’s not as if I expected to be rich and famous by the time my hair went totally grey but I thought I’d have more accolades than an apple award from the Cambrian School District and a picture with Donny Osmond? I guess my assumptions about this stage of life didn’t include a pandemic, travel restrictions, and such incertitude?
“Sometimes—many times—both in life and in marriage, you hope for the sunset overlooking the ocean off a deserted beach in the Mayan Riviera, but what you get is a drive to physical therapy. That’s okay. Maybe it’s actually how it should be.” Allison Winn Scotch
Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging says Maya Angelou. If this is true I have aged rather than matured.
I did think I would have done more with my writing? Hosting a blog for several years, writing almost daily, does not always lead to something more concrete. You know what I mean, like making the NYT bestseller list, which leads to an Oprah interview, and maybe a sitcom? A girl can dream…
What I’m realizing is if I want more out of my writing (or anything in life for that matter), I have to be the one to foster the opportunities and procure my goals, because my fairy godmother is suspiciously absent.
Maryanne Pope says, “the fact of the matter is: time IS passing very quickly. And I’m hoping that the sooner I can shed that which I no longer want or need (or is no longer serving me), the more time and energy I will have to focus on what really matters to me – the relationships, projects, causes & activities – in the years that remain,” from her post Is this what happens at 50?
So this got me thinking about what I want to focus on in the coming years and the things or projects that are “no longer serving me.”
Feels a little like wrestling with the devil, does it not?
Have you ever had these thoughts when reading a favorite book? I find myself savoring every word because I have this nagging suspicion that I won’t have enough time to read it again. Who thinks like that? Here I was aiming for a positive approach and now I’m just being surly.
I remember when I realized that I had been an Oreglia longer than I had been a Johnson (my maiden name) and today I realize I have lived longer than the time I have left in this beautiful world. Of course, I would never want to repeat some of those years, that should be part of the calculation, but the math gets complicated.
So here’s the deal, it’s time to weed out, let go of the things that are mere distractions, and allow that which is most important to come into focus. One day it seemed as if my life would last forever, I was accumulating people, things, real estate, and children like nobody’s business. Jessica Francis Kane says I reached a point where the balance of the past and all it contained seemed to outweigh the future, my mind so full of things said and not said, done and undone, I no longer understood how to move forward. I was tipped backward and wobbly, my balance was off, and this made sense to me. Life seemed so long, I couldn’t see how anyone proceeded under the accumulated weight of it all.
That being said, I’m not only weeding the garden, I’m weeding my life, and once that’s done I can sprinkle it with a little preen so the cultivated parts will survive.
An aside: this just happened in real-time and it’s applicable if you have an odd sense of humor.
Looney says, “Kelley can you help me with this?”
“My phone is all messed up, it won’t alert me when I get a text message.”
She walks over to his station at the dining table, looks at his set up and says, “Dad, when your earphones are plugged into your phone, that is where the sound goes. Your phone doesn’t know when your earphones are in your ears or not and therefore you can not hear the sound of an incoming text.”
I can’t resist, “I thought you had a smartphone.” Bahaha
I got the look.
As Nora Ephron claims writers are cannibals, they are predators, if you say anything funny, or if anything good happens to you, you are in big trouble.
Back to weeding, I’m starting with my bookcase, because books represent where you are in life. I’m thinking if I get rid of the how-to books; how-to parent, build confidence, get stains out of the laundry, feng shui the house, influence others, Knodo the closets, and cook on a budget, maybe dump some of the romance novels, and all those books on living a beautiful life, or how to write an exegesis on the Gospel of John, I would have room for my current obsessions. I would also like to order my books categorically so my travel guides won’t feel snubbed by the classics, maybe separate my cookbooks from the gut health guides, give the books about writing and publishing more space!
After the bookcase, I’m working on the trinkets, platters, and people. Maybe it’s time to let go of my day job, learn how to take amazing selfies, tell better stories? It would be an adjustment for sure, I’d be demoted to being a person, instead of an educator? I’d have to get new business cards.
I wake early, grab a cup of coffee, and slip into one of the patio chairs placed in the heavy shade of the morning, taking stock of my life, considering the things I can live without, and the ones I need to pull closer. I take a deep breath as if my nose has caught the scent of something beautiful, and I don’t know why but it makes me faint with hunger, a hunger for more time. I close my eyes and lean back in the chair, my vast emptiness exposed, and I sit here marveling at the endless space waiting to be filled.
Life is prodigious.
So here’s the question. What will we fill our emptiness with?
I’m suddenly giddy, like the time I flew in my dreams, I believe it’s time to ignore the clocks, toss the calendars, and as if helium balloons, let go of all these self-imposed restrictions. “In my own little corner, in a post COVID world, I can be whatever I want to be. On the wings of my fancy, I can fly anywhere, and the world will open its arms to me,” Rodgers and Hammerstein.
“The sun is setting on whom I was in order that I can become the type of person that I wish to be. The beauty of twilight is that it enhances everything. Personal change requires the courage to let go of personal security and venture into a new world,” says Kelroy Oldster. The truth is our vocations have called us and we’re tired of being away, the beds are made, the children are sprung. So, who am I now? Elise Hooper says I’m old enough to wear wrinkles and scars, but young enough to feel stronger and smarter because of them. At the very least I deleted my tictok app!
I’m Living in the Gap, the clock is ticking, and I’m not having it.
How you doing? Please don’t say you’re fine! Drop a few notes in the comments.
- “Put one foot in front of the other, no matter what. Enjoy the hilltop views, have courage in the valleys, pay attention to the bends in the road, cry when you have to, laugh when you can, be helpful to others, share your joys as well as your sorrows, and remember that God created you for a purpose.”
- “After staring at the ceiling for more than an hour, I was finally asleep, but I wasn’t in my dream. I was walking and walking beside a small stream, and only stopped as I saw a big rounded tree. What made me stop was that the tree had leaves the size of a palm. Bigger than any size I had seen in my life.
I stepped under its shade looking closer at the magical tree and found that my name was carved at its big trunk.
I was still surprised and bewildered at my finding when I felt the tree shake and a leaf fell in front of me. I was about to pick it up when more and more leaves started to fall, leaving the tree with only half of the leaves. I tried my best to stop my tree from shaking when I woke up from my dream. I was breathing heavily. My heart was beating fast. I was soaked.“My life, The leaves are falling one by one from my life.”
I said to myself, as I closed my eyes hoping for my life to find spring again.” Ahmad Ardalan
- Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese. – Billie Burke
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My friend, your post prompts many responses from me, but I fear you would block me forever I wrote each response you inspired. I will try to summarize, after some thought it seems to me that retirement or our age (I’m 61ish) has phases or stages. The first stage is when we celebrate we no longer need to know what day of the week it is and lament the loss of holiday pay. The next is looking ahead, that is planning which is where I am. Is this where I want to live going forward, taking stock of my health and how to keep it, splurging is edging toward conquering normal sensible spending, and the smelling the roses.
You strike me as age 25 in your heart and still raring to roll. Keep the smiles coming, I hear you. – David
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Good morning David, thanks for joining me in the comments and by the way I would never block you! And I agree retirement is a phases or stages sort of process (I’m 60 ish too) and feeling pulled towards a more exclusive writing career. Teaching remotely has very little appeal for me as my favorite part of teaching was the relationship with my students and this is difficult to foster on zoom. I’m ready to “forget what day it is and lament my holiday pay,” I love that. I think the planning step has been crippled by COVID but we have spent enormous amounts of time discussing where to live, what is possible, and how to maintain what we have: health, sanity, and resources. The easiest thing to maintain is our youthful hearts! Thanks for sharing David, good to know I’m not alone, C
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“How are you doing?” she asks!
I liked your last entity and did not feel it was morose. And in my self-centered Universe, I think my opinion counts the most.
You mentioned that you felt you would have accomplished more at this age. What would you have preferred to have accomplished? What are your goals? How do you measure success? Nothing wrong with an Apple award from the Cambrien School district (I would have issues with the Apple award from the Pre-Cambrian district.) I tend to feel life’s measuring stick is did you make the world a better place, and did you improve other people’s lives. Fame and fortune and everything that goes with it (S. Mercury) not so critical.
I agree with Maya Angelou. I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up.
I got a chuckle about the failure to alert Looney about the texts. I thought he was your resident techie.
On a serious note, there is no emptiness to fill. Life is rich. We live in a blessed world. If you ask your kids who you are, if they where serious, they would say a wonderful grandmother/mom/ teacher, who wants to have a positive impact on the world by writing (assumes people can read), teaching, while occasionally enjoying friends, fellowship and a glass of wine.
But you didn’t really ask for all that. You asked “How are you doing?” Proceed at your own risk, you will never get the 5 minutes back.
It was a Wednesday, a day like any other day…. Finished a long day at work, did some cardio and headed for the farm. We had had a bunch of rain, and more was in the forecast. What’s up with that in Missouri in July? Another sign of the apocalypse. Heard a strange whine coming from the engine that changed pitch with acceleration. Ha, maybe I am heading for some alternator trouble…? Understatement. As I neared the small town a mile from the farm, my dashboard started flashing a wrench sign, a battery sign, a lock sign and every other sign. It was as if there where sparks dancing on the instrument panel like an aurora borealis! (Scotty from Star trek)
Radio went off, wheel became hard to turn, lights went off and then everything came back on and then off. Made it up the hill and down the gravel road towards the barn. The whole thing shut down in the low part of the corn field. No cell signal. Downpour. After waiting a long while, hiked in the rain in gym clothes (it’s what I do) reached the barn and took the Ranger to the cabin. Called the boss (Gail) and then she got hold of AAA. They could meet us there at 10:45. Argh. Maybe I should wait till morning. (Dangerous to leave car there. Gail would get stuck in the mud going around it (did I mention the ongoing deluge, ….call Noah!) Then they could meet us at 10:15. Deal!
The tow truck arrives in the cellular dead zone, and start to hook up my truck and then the driver states, Hey can you steer while I load it? Sure, of course nothing works…Key won’t turn , wheel won’t turn unless it has a little power. The driver says “hey you have a battery around here to give it a Jump?” WTF! Can I provide the tow truck with a jump of my own car? He states “You should have told me to bring a battery. “ WTF, you’re a tow truck driver! Followed by “Oh, can I see your AAA card (expiration 7/24/20?)” We then try to hook up his 4-foot-long jumper cables (WTF) to my ranger (where is the Battery on that thing?) Can’t find it in the dark, pouring rain. Tried connecting to a hot spot on the Winch, no go (you try plugging in the winch control cable by feel in the dark while a driver is screaming to power the winch. Did I say it was pouring? As the time goes by Gail arrives (A text finally made it through, “We need help!”) She had been waiting a hundred yards away and was afraid of getting stuck in the mud pit. We are still afraid of the mud, so we go to the barn and get some batteries that are stored there that she recently charged and then we hook them up and lo, shocker, they are dead too! Finally, Gail risks the mud and we get enough of a jump to turn the key, steer the wheel. He loads the truck, and we unhook everything. I hear something drop but during the storm it sounds like a jumper cable. We both look and see nothing. I get in the truck to secure it and the tow driver starts screaming at me through his mask, (there is a global pandemic of course) and I roll down the window and we chat. Then the window won’t roll up (no power again.) Did I mention the rain? Then we try to jump it again and it doesn’t work. After clowning around again in the rain for another 25 minutes, we get the window closed and off he goes. We assess the damage, and head back to the barn. “Hey, where is my phone?” Gone. We drive back to the carnage zone and look around in the rain and it is not there (hypothermia is setting in)
Rachel arrives, I realize that I am not thinking clearly so we punt and go to the cabin. I fell like I am getting pneumonia which in July in Missouri buys you 14 days of unemployment and isolation. I think the phone probably is either in my truck or on the tow truck bed sliding around. We try to call the tow truck (not possible.) We try to “Find my phone” (no luck.) Oh well, thankfully it is all backed up to the cloud (Fat chance, who wants all that confidential shit floating around the nether web.) Bed time. No worries… If the Amish can live a blessed life without cell phones, then I can surely get by.
Next morning, I wake up, and Gail sends a text to the phone and it says “delivered”! So, it is still alive. We drive up to the scene of the disaster, and Gail spots the phone. Soaking wet, but it worked.
So, to answer your question of how am I doing?
I feel fine….!
PS Love Landslide
“But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m gettin’ older, too.”
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This is my favorite line ever, “and in my self-centered Universe, I think my opinion counts the most,” absolutely! And this could be a whole blog, “I tend to feel life’s measuring stick is did you make the world a better place, and did you improve other people’s lives.” I can only hope that with the addition of our children (your clan and mine) in the world that this one was a slam dunk! The grandchildren are the unexpected treasures or pearls of incredible worth.
Okay, this is an epic saga and should be made into a movie, to start with your weather is crazy, rain in July, it’s the epicenter of the story? Definitely a sign, then your dashboard lights up like the 4th of July, and the next thing you know your hiking in your gym shorts in the pouring rain. It reminds me of some alien movie, the audience is screaming don’t go in the barn, run for your life. But no, you survive the deluge, Gail comes to the rescue (she’s your Noa), and somehow (no help from the tow truck driver) you all end up at a warm safe haven! I hope to return someday, I miss your farm, minus the rain!
And the cell phone survives! That is hysterical. What a great story and told with such wit and humor, love how you return to the obvious, the rain again and again. I suppose the highlight of this whole ordeal is getting two weeks off, spent at the farm, watching old movies, with the family! Win.
Miss you two, maybe put a few bikes in the barn, something that doesn’t require a battery! Cheryl
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I’d like to say I’ve matured…..
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Thank God someone has matured LA because we can’t have a bunch of old people wandering around with no objective and lacking wisdom! C
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Very entertaining.. I think we have missed out just being the two of us and working from home for the last 20 years… time to get a dog again I think.. as to decluttering.. I love the process, finding treasures I had forgotten I had, and the joy in putting it back in the cupboard for another declutter in a couple of years time. Enjoy the post Cheryl…