Been There, Done That

When we’ve had an experience we don’t want to repeat, we might say, “Been There, Done That”. The reasons we may not want to repeat an experience range from “It was boring, I don’t want to do it again”, to “I tried that before and it didn’t work out or it was painful.” It’s shorthand for my personal story, my history: a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes. Do I sometimes feel “uncomfortable” when I think about some of the things I have done? Absolutely!  For fun, or at least for my edification I’d like to pick apart this definition because “history” seems to be quite the controversial topic lately. 

Chronological: arranged in the order that things happened or came to be . We often think of history as looking backwards, but history is actually created by going forward in time from one event forward to the next. As I lick the spoon, I think this chocolate sundae is really good, but what’s the history behind this sundae? If I made this sundae, the very first event in the sundaes’ history is my thought, “A sundae sounds good, I think I’ll make one.”  And then I got the ice cream out of the freezer and the chocolate sauce …. One action led to another and Bam! a chocolate sundae! I wanted a caramel sundae, but I settled for a chocolate sundae, because I was out of caramel sauce. This explains why the sundae was chocolate, but who would know this other than myself. Much of the controversy  around historical  events often centers on the question of causation. Of course, my example is simplistic, but worth considering when we look at the causes of significant historical events like the Civil War.  What came first? Just remember the last time you tried to explain the plot of a movie to a friend, and you had to backtrack many times to keep things in order and making sense.

Record : to write (something) down so that it can be used or seen again in the future; : to produce a record of (something). First, remember not all history is recorded in writing. People record what they perceive and experience, and of course, people differ on what they perceive due to physical, cultural, and social factors. Obviously a slave would write a different history of slavery than a wealthy plantation owner. Neither record alone tells the whole history, but each record is an equally important point of view. Are the lashes on the slaves back any less relevant than the slave owners “papers” of slave ownership?  Are you uncomfortable yet? I can spin my personal stories so I come out smelling like a rose, and may get away with it unless someone from my past speaks out and questions the truth of my story. On a larger cultural basis the powerful can spin history as well. Who do we believe?  Whose record is most valid? To pretend that all voices are treated as equal is folly. We tend to believe the stories we hear from people most like us. We also disagree on what is “significant”. Women feel differently than men about the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. In fact, often women have been left out of the history of  significant  events  because much of history was written by men with blinders on. What matters to an individual determines what significance to give an event.

What a mess we make when we attempt to record history, but the biggest morass is created when we attempt to explain the causes of historical events. It is so much easier to assert that the War of 1812 happened in 1812, than to explain what caused the war itself. It turns out cold hard facts aren’t so cold and hard . For myself, it is so important I know who is writing a piece of history so I can factor in bias. It is just as important that I know my own bias. Am I hearing from all the parties involved? Whose voices are the loudest? History is very, very complicated and nuanced. The story is never as simple as we wish it were. I have to remain open to adding new understanding of historical events. Perhaps if more adults understood how to face the facts and truths of history, our children could too. Denial of historical facts and the depths of causation means accountability and culpability are not addressed. If we and our children can no longer learn from our history, aren’t we “doomed “ to repeat it. Going forward, what history will we write?

Read a Banned Book

Do you remember English Composition in high school? It was basically a class on how to write. Here is my brief summary. I remember we had to write descriptive pieces; i.e., “The big yellow, fuzzy, slow-moving caterpillar crawled onto the tall, bright, blue flower.” Think adjectives! Then we learned about persuasive writing, i.e. “You should do this because it will help save the planet, the air will be easier to breathe, the water will be cleaner and if you don’t we will all die!’  Soon, we heard about plots and protagonists and antagonists. Protagonists being the good guys and antagonists being the bad guys. We were taught that stories needed plots which have beginnings, middles and ends. To our dismay, we also had to write some poetry which has iambic pentameter! Who the hell remembers what that is?  My summary is complete, as we were taught all summaries needed to be.

The written word. Your writing is your property. It is your creation, whether a grocery list, a 500 page novel, an article in the New York Times or notably, a page in your diary. I come from a family of writers. There would be a very tall pile of books, journals and diaries if we stacked them all together. This began with my Mother, who has written in many diaries and journals, and a lot of us have continued this tradition for ourselves. Recently there has been a rush to ban books, being proposed by “authorities” like parent groups and school boards. These books are controversial because they deal with racial issues, violence, and those who are perceived as “others”, primarily LGBTQ people. I saw a woman on a news show actually declaring, “We don’t want our children sexualized.” Yikes! Unless, of course, they are straight, white and conforming. It is laughable to think that our young people aren’t already quite knowledgeable about sex and race. Social media takes care of that! Certainly parents have a responsibility to care for and protect their children from harm, but is teaching children to be hateful and Intolerant responsible parenting?

Full disclosure, I worked for over 15 years in a book store. I was surrounded by a world of books. It was not my job to tell people that a book sucked, had tons of swear words or hot sex scenes, or was full of misinformation or lies.  If they wanted “Huckleberry Finn” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”, both of which have been banned at one time or another, I found it for them. I shelved “The Joy of Sex” and “The Joy of Gay Sex”. The teenagers that were furtively looking at either of  these books were not bad kids, they were curious kids. The book that I had a few qualms about ordering was  “The Anarchist Cookbook”, a book giving “recipes” for bomb making and explosives, but I ordered it without commentary. We did not stock it but ordered it if someone wanted it. Mark Twain said he wrote “Huckleberry Finn” as a statement against slavery and he used the “n” word because it was the vernacular of the time, but his American classic was often banned. His quote is one of the best I have ever read on censorship: “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”

Little Red Riding Hood was banned at one point because there was wine in her basket! “The Catcher in the Rye” has been banned more than any other single book, but it is considered the best book on the adolescence experience ever written. Read it if you haven’t read it, your palms won’t grow hair…. Remember that Isaac Asimov believed “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.”

In summary, (English Comp. 100 -this is how you end essays), today, it seems  the push to ban books is an overt attempt to “whitewash” our society and demonize those whose sexuality does not “fit “ into a heterosexual box. I believe  Alex Ponomarenko said it best: Despite insensitive and downright explicit themes that these banned books hold, they are mirrors to bitter and uncomfortable realities which we cannot simply censor or hide away. In fact, doing so will only cause more harm than good. A mind manipulated to think of only good things or see the world as simply black and white seriously threatens humanity’s survival.   

Blah

It’s the end of January and the snow is dirty and pushed up in the corners of parking lots. Perfect for playing “King of the Mountain”, but the adult in me says I’d get hurt somehow. There’s just enough snow and ice on sidewalks and streets to make running  treacherous. And there’s a new variant called “Stealth Omicron”, sounds like a bad science fiction movie, but its not. There’s a feeling nipping at the edges of my psyche, but I can’t catch it in the shadows and bring it out into the light. It’s all just dirty snow.

I’m writing, hoping I may get this feeling to reveal itself. Shadow boxing and a dog chasing its tail describe the futility I feel now. Why aren’t we grateful that Trump is not president and the horror that would be? I can complain, but brainstorming solutions draws a blank. My brain is not storming, its just drizzling. I know that looking backwards, or into the future, doesn’t bear any fruit, but standing still in the moment is uncomfortable. In this moment, I itch and squirm.  Tears might work to release tension, but I have no tears. What do I call this but ‘blah”?

Aha! Deja vu! I’m “in-between”. I’ve felt this feeling before and I put a name to it. I must have survived it because I’m still here! So I should be able to draw on my past experience with this feeling, but this time, I tell myself, it’s different. It’s not, I just want to wallow for awhile. This is part of in-between, sitting and feeling feelings. I don’t chase my tail, I sit and feel. Age seems to be slamming doors in my face—no you can’t do that, no you can’t have that, and don’t be a fool, that ship has sailed. I haven’t been questioning these assumptions. Maybe “no” doesn’t always mean “no” if it really means “I don’t deserve this”. I don’t deserve to do, have or be  “a, b or c”. My crisis of low self-esteem is based in large part on the limits I have placed on myself because I’m “too” old for whatever. I need to look at what I am thinking and question my own authority. Is what I am thinking true? 

As we know “Thinking does not make it so.” So I can confront my feelings and change my thoughts, but can I make the leap to acting differently? I doubt there will be a big leap, more like baby steps and falling on my butt.. and getting back up again and again. I cut bangs to change my hairstyle. I “like” more people on Our Time and Match, and yes it does take two dating sites! I write to reveal myself to myself. I make walking and spending time with good friends a priority. I test new behaviors and see how it goes. I do things that I may not feel like doing in the moment, but I’ve decided it is what I really want to do. I’m working on a book that is based in part on aging, so I’m taking the bull by the horns on this topic. 

We’re under a winter storm warning for today, February 1st, and it is snowing now. At least the dirty snow will be covered up with fresh, clean white snow for today. I feel a shift in my “blah” feeling,  more excited and hopeful. Though you will find me whining when its time to  shovel this new white stuff….

Cabin Fever

I suffer from cabin fever. Gotta get out of the house at least part of the day. This last week I was not feeling great on Tuesday, and Mother Nature deposited a layer of ice over Wednesday night— I think just to see if silly humans would go slip-sliding-away or fall on their butts. No way I was going out and risk breaking something. Thursday was still really slick so stayed in that day too.   1-2-3 days in a row I did not leave my house! Picture a woman with extreme bed head, a wild look in her eyes and too much time to think, and battling an ear-infection besides. Not a pretty picture. Oh yeah, there was no sunshine for 3 days too. I thought is this what its like to be old and frail? Shit! I am old and frail. Old isn’t some distant time in the future, and when I am not feeling well, I am frail, if only temporarily. 

I took a writing break, shed a few tears, and shook it off to get back to my keyboard. Did I come to any grand conclusions about how I intended to be a super-ager?  No I didn’t. I had a lot of feelings to wade through, like fear and sadness. There are reasons to fear growing old. There are no guarantees that I won’t get sick or injured, and need to  depend on others for help. Several years ago, I had to use one of those rolling riders that you kneel on, so I could keep all my weight off my foot. Talk about a lesson in humility!  I realized how awful it is to have limited mobility and having to ask for help. Roger was still able to help me in some ways, but I live alone now. I am not a doomsayer, but chances are I will have limited mobility at some point in the coming years. Will I be stuck inside like I was this last week?  No matter how positive my feelings about aging are, I will be challenged. I see many articles or ads about “superagers”who are smiling on their bike rides, walking along the ocean, engaging in their hobbies and surrounded by children and grandchildren. And there’s the very attractive gray-haired woman, who looks about 40, wondering how to find someone to date —and is encouraged to use the OurTime dating app. I really don’t like her!  Do I have to be a “success” at aging according to the advertising and life-style gurus?

 I am an average ager, with moments of excellence. I need to get that hand surgery done that I keep putting off, and I will need help for a time. I won’t be riding a bike and smiling my way through that. Will I get cancer like 5 sisters out of 8 did? I plan to keep moving, walking and jogging for as much, and as long as I can.  I live alone now and the silver fox I’m promised on OurTime may never find me. I do have a good circle of friends that I treasure, and they are, and will be, a good support. Grandchildren? Remains to be seen. Will my money run out before I do?  A lot of travel may not be on the horizon because of my financial limits. I have to navigate a path, while my circumstances are changing almost every day. I’ve decided that super agers don’t really exist, life just doesn’t work that way.  For me, the road ahead is not a high speed super highway with full throttle. I’m meandering through the years and I’m ok with that.

Your Vote Is Your Voice

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I  need to remember that it is more than just a day off.  We shorten his name to MLK and I’m afraid we also minimize his dedication to securing the right to vote for all Americans. We may think it’s a done deal that all U.S.citizens have the same access and right to vote. Not so. Certainly since the 2020 election and the “Big Lie”, voting rights have been under attack. The former president and his rabid supporters are pushing for voting reform to prevent a problem that does not exist, fraudulent elections. Certainly if he had won the 2020 election there would be no mention of voter fraud or intent to subvert the election by changing how votes are counted or certified. You lose the game, change the rules! This year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, an astounding 440 restrictive voting laws were drafted in 49 states, with the result that 19 states have actually passed laws to restrict voting. We sorely need the voice of MLK and for the voting rights bills to be passed in the Senate. Short of a miracle this will not happen.

Those whose voices are suppressed or silenced can not participate in our democracy. We will become a government for and by “some” of the people, an autocracy. As Orwell warns us in  “Animal Farm”, there is no more or less equality, there is, or is not, equality. I am not being hyperbolic, I truly fear that we are at a critical point in our nation’s history where our Democracy is threatened. There is no government by the people and for the people if some people are “more” equal than others.

I remember the year 1968, as a year of lost dreams. This was the year Robert Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. From the National Archives: 

1968 was a turning point in U.S. History, a year of triumphs and tragedies, and political upheavals, that FOREVER CHANGED OUR COUNTRY. (My emphasis )

2022 is another year that will forever determine the course of our democracy. We’ve already seen triumphs and tragedies and we all know how divided we are socially and politically. We are learning just how close we came to having our 2020 election overturned by the former president and his cronies. Despite their ultimate failure, this was good practice for how to overturn elections, and they may be successful this year if we do not enact legislation to thwart them. Many activists now believe who gets the votes may be less important than who counts the votes.

Throughout our history we have been gifted with great orators and writers;  Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Jefferson and many others. Words do matter and can serve  as the catalyst for change, but in the end it is action that matters more. MLK “lived” his words with actions. On this day, I challenge myself and my readers to hear his words and commit to action:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  And “The time is always right to do what is right.” 

Chocolate and Me

chocolate 

  • : a food that is made from cacao beans and that is eaten as candy or used as a flavoring ingredient in other sweets

Let me just say, milk chocolate is for wimps, but there are many kinds of fine dark chocolate. Chocolate has thrilled our taste buds since the Mayans concocted a drink from the cacao bean about 2000 B.C. We’ve had many years to get it right and I’m willing to keep testing until we attain perfection. My own history with chocolate is fraught with many ups and downs. As a child I could consume my body weight in chocolate, but soon my body weight became the reason I decided to deny myself chocolate. Too much chocolate could lead to bigger hips and zits . Chocolate became a “bad” food and I wanted to be good. Today I am a big fan of dark chocolate and have some almost everyday. I enjoy it and don’t need much of it to satisfy me. As I’ve aged I’ve chosen the  path of self-satisfaction over self-denial.

Chocolate isn’t the only thing I no longer deny myself. I don’t function well on the all or nothing, or never and always teeter-totter. The only thing that is not on any sort of continuum is death. There is no such thing as less or more dead. Today I think it distills down to my wants, what motivates me, and what fosters self-love. Simply, chocolate is “good”and I’m “good”. I may not run everyday, but 5 days a week is great. I don’t write for 5 hours a day but 2 hours a day is  pretty good. I’m much more gentle with myself and I’ve put the mental whip away. The cliche “Everything in moderation” doesn’t piss me off as much as it once did. Maybe I’m too tired to be outraged at myself. I’m not the lowliest, ugliest creature on this planet if I eat that chocolate cookie or buy myself something I don’t need just because I want it. The whole world and my personal world does not come to a grinding halt if littl’ ole’ me ate 2 pieces of chocolate yesterday.

Feeling awful about indulging in behaviors I considered negative actually set me up to indulge even more. In my eating disorder days I could go for months sticking to my strict eating plan, but if I slipped up and ate one morsel more than I thought I should, it was off to the races and a major binge. And then feeling even worse…. The highs and the lows took a toll on my well-being. What I hated the most was feeling out of control. I was O.K. If I felt in control. I got better when I learned and practiced self-love, and decided I was imperfect,but enough. Allowing myself to be a flawed human being,and occasionally  indulging myself myself with a special pleasure,is a much gentler way to live.

So I think we should talk some more about chocolate. Dark chocolate has an excellent nutrition profile, it’s a rich source of antioxidants. Couverture refers to the highest quality of chocolate, and I don’t think Iv’e ever tasted it so that’s on my chocolate bucket list. Both the texture and flavor of couverture chocolate is supreme. Really  good chocolate is a little bit of heaven on earth.

The Duck Test 1/6/2020

Ah, the duck test form of reasoning. This is its usual expression: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Yup, that’s a duck.You can argue that something is not what it appears to be; i.e., the animal  barking, peeing on the fire hydrant and licking my face is a duck, but I think we can all agree this assertion is absurd. In 1950, the United States ambassador to Guatemala said it this way, when he accused Guatemala’s leader of being a communist:

Suppose you see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird has no label that says ‘duck’. But the bird certainly looks like a duck. Also, he goes to the pond and you notice that he swims like a duck. Then he opens his beak and quacks like a duck. Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he’s wearing a label or not.

I rather like ducks, but of course I’m not really talking about ducks. In Cowboy and Indian movies, we could safely assume “We come in peace.”  was a lie when bullets and arrows  started flying. We’ve all seen hours of footage of the insurrection at the Capitol last year on Jan. 6.  We saw police officers being assaulted with flagpoles, fire extinguishers, bear spray and whatever else could be used as a weapon. Entry was gained by smashing windows, breaking down doors and pushing through barricades and ropes. We saw rioters carrying confederate flags,and breaking into congressional offices. We heard chants like“Hang Mike Pence” and “Where is Nancy?  and were told “Trump sent us.” We could all see the hanging noose on the scaffolding and the zip ties. Congress and Senators feared for their lives and were rushed out of their chambers.  During the siege, rioters defecated and smeared feces. Property in the Capitol was damaged or destroyed. 140 Capitol and metro police officers were injured. These are the facts. How do we know?  We saw it with our own eyes and heard it with our own ears. It was on live T.V. for God’s sake!

The night of January 6 and the day after, there was no disagreement on what had happened . Both sides of the aisle condemned the violence they had seen, heard and felt. And then, very soon, a la Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” theory, something sinister began to happen. What we all saw was not what really happened!  The rioters were actually AntiFa  dressed as MAGA supporters. Or it was a peaceful protest. Or the rioters were patriots trying to stop the certification of votes in a fraudulent election. The most blatant and sick confabulation of January 6 was by Congressman Andrew Clyde:

Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall, showed people in an orderly fashion in between the stanchion and ropes taking pictures. If you didn’t know the footage was from January 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said.  

Was he watching the same live T.V show or was he even on the same planet as the rest of us? I know—I bet he thought it was a duck!

As we get further from January 6, 2020, the unpalatable facts are being spiced up, and new ingredients are being added so the soup is more palatable. Maybe it wasn’t that bad? Our Democracy depends on our consensus of what Democracy looks like and what Authoritarianism looks like. We desperately need to apply the duck test. 

The Big C

No, I don’t mean cancer, I mean curiosity.

curious: \ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs\. :having a desire to learn, investigate or know more about something or someone; :strange, unusual, or unexpected.

I am insanely curious. My life is lit by a large neon question mark. It’s safe to say I am a lifelong learner, even though I haven’t set foot in a traditional classroom for many years. What’s great is that I don’t have to motivate myself to study whatever interests me. I don’t need that course in Statistics to get my degree any longer, so I get to set my own learning plan. I go where my questions lead me.

There are 2 kinds of learning: intellectual learning and emotional learning, and I have the most difficulty with emotional learning. The psychologist, Eric Erickson, believed humans have 8 life stages, and each stage of life involves learning tasks that help set up readiness for the next life stage. Having failed to learn what I needed to learn, I grew older but was still emotionally stuck in prior life stages.  In this sense, there is a learning plan and emotional lessons for a fulfilling and successful life. It was my curiosity, my questions about why I consistently made poor choices—and my desperation, that led me to therapy’s door. At first I resisted looking at the “Why?” of my behaviors and preferred blaming others for my problems. Following my curiosity to self-awareness was a bumpy ride, and satisfying my curiosity was often painful. I was the ostrich with my head in the sand and not the least bit curious, because my fear was paralyzing. I am so grateful to those who gently helped me explore how I got stuck and helped me learn new behaviors. 

We all know that “Curiosity killed the cat.” Most often we take this to mean that curiosity is prying and intrusive and leads to bad outcomes. BUT did you know the complete saying is “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.”? The edit cutting the second half of this quote changes it’s true meaning.  The real meaning actually encourages people to be  curious instead of killing their curiosity, and especially when they can learn about something  new which is “satisfying”. Consider these quotes: “Curiosity killed the cat, but when humans are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.” by Harry Lorayne; or “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it sure saved my ass.” by Michael J. Fox. Can we be “too” curious when our intention is to use the information for gossip or to harm someone? Certainly people have a right to privacy and we all know how devastating damaged reputations can be. I want my private life to remain private. Does privacy trump, pun intended, incriminating and dangerous information risking the public good and safety? What  do we have a right to know? The Freedom of Information Act includes what information?

All world and life changing discoveries began with a question, a curiosity about what we didn’t know. The polio vaccine and penicillin were created by curious scientists asking questions and testing and more testing. What if they had said we don’t know and there is no way to know? When there is a cure for Cancer and Alzheimer’s no one will say “I wish we had stopped looking for a cure, we shouldn’t have been so curious.” The little boy and girl staring up at the night sky and wondering about the moon grew up and helped put a man on the moon. Justice depends on investigation and needing to know who is guilty. Justice is blind but forensics can not afford to limit investigation when there are still questions. Just think about how many people have been exonerated by DNA testing which was not available when they were convicted.

I live and learn, and my life is enriched by what I have and will learn. Of course, I accept that what I know is  infinitesimal to what is knowable, but I won’t stop learning.  I’ve learned things by reading, doing, and feeling and using all my senses. I don’t want to stop being curious even when what I am most curious about is “What happens when I die?” Now I have to go look up the Freedom of Information Act because I’m curious about it.

Eat More Cookies

Last week my sisters and I ended our weekly zoom call with the chant “Eat More Cookies!” Christmas cookies of course. We had talked about cookie parties with masterful decorating by imaginative young minds and hands. It was a feel good topic and we had struggled with some news and topics that were definitely not feel good. We talked about “kids these days” and how sad it was that two local young men had died in a tragic single car accident. There were 5 passengers in the car.  Lives ended and lives forever altered. And of course there was discussion about the pandemic and the dangerous political and cultural divide. And you know…. Sometimes I’m afraid to take a deep breath for fear I might inhale too much of the toxic “air” in the U.S. and start coughing violently, not to mention getting infected with Covid. There is no use waiting for the canary to return from inside the coal mine, she’s not coming back. 

So how do I catch the “Christmas” Spirit? I think I take it from the macro level down to the micro level. I stop the broad focus on the state of this country and focus instead on my micro world of family, friends and food and shelter. My house is decorated for Christmas and I have more than enough food and expendable income to afford to make Christmas cookies. And I get to make cookies with my son!  A lot of the photos I take are of flowers and I love to edit them and zoom in on the center of the flower. There is beauty in only seeing the magnification of the flowers center and not the flower as a whole. Sometimes it’s hard to even recognize the photo as part of a flower. This is a way for me to think about how I can choose what to focus on. I simply can’t deny that there is a lot of “bad” in the world, but I don’t have to focus on the whole when there are parts of my world to focus on that are beautiful and joyful. The bad won’t disappear if I don’t focus on it, and it may even get worse, and I can always pull back and focus on the macro world if I choose to.

It could be that the world will simply go to hell if I’m not paying attention. Of course, this is quite egocentric, but some days I lose perspective and forget I don’t have control over anything but my attitude and my actions. I can eat that cookie if I want to, it’s my choice.  If Putin decides to invade Ukraine my level of influence is zero. This powerlessness drives me crazy sometimes! I spin my wheels and chant “Why doesn’t somebody do something? Four years of watching Trump get away with everything really showed me how there there may be no “somebody”  to “do something”. In turn this realization may make me eat more cookies to feed that frustration monster. The problem is that even I can get sick of cookies after a decade or so and then what?

I may run away and hide if I actually had the power to effect major world changes. Making mistakes on that level are not the same as choosing the wrong movie or restaurant. Now,at least I can sleep at night. My micro world is just fine, thanks for asking. I do have more and better coping skills than eating more cookies, but Christmas cookies are once a year treats so 

I’ll have that cookie, one of those, and the one with frosting on it. Please.

Everything Old is New Again

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again—Stephen King

Lately, I can’t seem to wrap my head around this “time” and “getting older” thing. Calling myself a time traveler is an overstatement, but it’s the best construct I can find. I’m at my coffee shop office and next thing I know I’m feeling emotions that are tied to an event when I was 5. I’m a little girl, with bangs cut straight across my forehead and big blue eyes, and I’m staring at the black board waiting for my brain to click on putting letters into words into sentences. And yesterday becomes today and I’m still struggling to put letters into words into sentences. My eyes are still blue, but today my hair is gray and I need glasses to read that black board. Am I 5 or 69? What if “years” is only one way to measure time? Einstein could help me  if I could just understand the space time continuum he theorized, but I’m limited to what my small mind can understand. Even if I could understand, I’d still have to live my life in whatever order it comes in.

Last night I was listening to music in bed, and if you read my previous post on Rod Stewart you’d know I was listening to his music. Of course I had to get up and go to the bathroom and as I navigated in the dark I had a flash of insight. I’m listening to Rod Stewart today and I started listening to him in my twenties. I have the same ears and brain I had in my twenties, but I know I hear and feel his music differently at 69 than I did at 20. That flash of insight I experienced? Rod Stewart looks like my “bad boy” from my twenties! I actually chuckled and said out loud ”Well it’s about time you figured that out!” It certainly is. The old me is new again. I should tell Rod about my insight….

I time travel the most in my relationship with my son. Being older myself, and of course knowing Tyler is older, doesn’t stop me from going back and forth to earlier times. Tyler is the sum total of all of his years and so am I. Sometimes I experience mothering a Tyler who is 5 or being a mother who is 40. I can be brought up short by words that come out of my mouth that seem out of time, from emotions that originate from years before. And I don’t have dementia. Time may be more of a spiral than a straight line and the spirals overlap. I’d like to think that my emotions are as mature as I am, but in a “debate” with Tyler I can get very immature. I’m a grown up, but you may catch me feeling and acting like a child in spite of my calendar birthday.  I know our bodies are older than our minds. Our outsides, our bodies, and our insides like our brain, heart and soul don’t usually match. This is why we often say “I don’t feel that old.” or “Who is that old person in the mirror?” Sometimes I even think that Tyler may be older than me in some ways. One thing I know for sure is that Tyler and I renew our relationship each time we interact.

new: recently born, built, or created; being other than the former or old; having been in a relationship or condition but a short time; made or become fresh. 

When we talk about fashion we often think that a lot of what is old becomes new again. The clothes we wore in the 70’s and 80’s have come back into fashion again. Bell bottoms are a good example of fashion being recycled. So if the clothes I wore as a young adult are new again can’t I be recycled into something new. We talk about being born again or re-born and that is surely “new”. When we create things we are bringing into existence something that has not existed before, a new thing or idea. Whichever definition of new we use, if we are constantly creating and building our lives, then we are not truly “old”. I intend to renew my life daily.