Halfway to 100

 

Happy New Year everyone! I have been absent from here and have set my New Year Intention to spend my time with more purpose; less Face Time, more face-to-face time. Basically, be mindful and be present. We’ll see how that goes.

Last month, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 50th birthday, which is by far my most highly anticipated birthday ever. Turning 50 was basically a miracle for me; I never thought I would live much past 21. I’ve spoken before about how becoming pregnant with my son saved my life, by taking me off a path that was heading straight for heartache, misery and ultimately, death. That was a huge shift in my thinking, my priorities and the beginning of the end to my selfish, all-about-me attitude. It was time to grow up and cast aside the foolish, dangerous ways I’d lived for years, step out of the darkness and into the light. Even after I had Devon, there were many dark nights of the soul, so to speak and I was never sure if my will to live and love for my son would be strong enough to ride out the overwhelming desire to sleep without waking. So – that is one reason I celebrate this birthday, the grey hairs and the frequent midnight bathroom trips all with equal vigor. It is a gift, all of it.

I hear other women refusing to tell their age, cease celebrating birthdays, lie about their age, become seriously depressed at the prospect of another birthday. I know a great deal of this is the obsession of society with eternal  youth; Frankenstein would have a never-ending supply of willing subjects if he advertised for a “volunteer subject” for a product testing that promised eternal youth. We see it already in the multitude of products, procedures and poisons available at any beauty counter, drug store, gym, department store and possibly even Dollar Tree stores. I have also set an intention to judge not, whether aloud or to myself, so I am not going to disparage these women. I don’t know them, but I feel for them. Aging is a privilege, it is not guaranteed nor is it a right that we all have. It is largely a series of choices, attitudes, environment and that “other” something that cannot be explained, which I mark up to faith.

I don’t know how many years I have left to live but I do know that I will celebrate each and every birthday until there are no more. Every year, I receive gifts of new friends, reuniting with old friends, creating wonderful memories and learning lessons, usually the hard way. Each day I find beauty in everyday places, I see hope burning brightly under a mountain of darkness; I see kindness in strangers and heroes in everyday people. I see angels among us, fighting for our very souls. I see children educating parents and educators teaching compassion and social conscience; I see the never-ending battle of good vs. evil, in all forms and fashions.

This gives me hope, helps me to realize that I am not an observer or passive participant in this life, unless I choose to be. I have power, I have compassion and I have a voice.  This isn’t to say there are not still dark nights/days of the soul and mood swings that make me question everything, rude neighbors, ignorant individuals and racist jerks who flip a switch in me that is red hot and would definitely earn me a spot on Santa’s Naughty List, if the thoughts were made into actions. I have moments of absolute, pure rage in traffic and I’m certain that wouldn’t enrich the lives of those around me if I were to voice my thoughts and frustrations. I just know now that I can choose to jump into those moments of madness, a willing participant in an exercise that ends with me feeding myself tons of poison and expecting the other person to die or I can choose to breathe and let it go. The moments of unpleasantness, pain and depression do not negate the positive, which includes hope for the future. I can’t control the world, but I can control how I choose to live; my intention is to do just that. No longer a leaf at the mercy of the wind, I will set my course and with determination and intention, arrive at my destination, wherever that may be.

Thank you all for following me on this grand adventure, for your generous praise and for all that you do.

You rock.

But you already knew that. 

School Daze

“Two great gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, itty-bitty birdy feet; two big eyeballs rolling down a dirty street and me without a spoon…”

Out of all of the things I could remember from grade school, this is the one thing that just instantly pops in my head when I think of those early days of being a kid in the 70’s. I know there are different versions, depending on where in the world you grew up and so there are variations on the theme, but in general, it’s just plain silliness and I love it.

Whenever I think of school, the first thing that comes to mind is the crisp Autumn air, the leaves turning color and the back to school shopping, which was hands-down my favorite part of it all. Some kids want new shoes, new clothes and backpacks. I, on the other hand, looked forward to new pens and fresh, unmarked notebooks and piles of binder paper, just waiting to be filled with the endless stream of thoughts and ideas I always seem to find whenever faced with a blank page. I loved the new beginning, fresh start and endless possibilities that awaited me with each new school year; it was like New Year’s except without the hangover and the pressure to make resolutions. It was a chance to learn, to strengthen existing friendships, make some new ones and exercise my brain, while learning new concepts and discovering new worlds that I had not previously known. It was an escape from an unquiet, chaotic household to a world of order, clearly defined rules of behavior and expectations. It was a world of learning and because I was (and still am) a huge fan of learning, I received a great deal of praise and encouragement in those classrooms. It was a place that I felt I truly belonged to and some of my most formative lessons growing up took place at school.

As an adult, of course, things are a little different, but I still love learning. I have to work harder than I did as a kid because 5o is just around the proverbial corner and because (as you all know) my mood swings around like dancers doing the Lindy Hop.

But there are rewards that by far outweigh the effort put forth; the sense of accomplishment, of facing challenges and overcoming obstacles that you just don’t get when you run away or quit. It reinforces the belief that I am capable, intelligent and have some serious moxie.

mox·ie
noun NORTH AMERICAN informal
force of character, determination, or nerve.

I love that word, moxie. It’s so cool. Makes me think of old school gangster movies with Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Bogey.

Sorry. Shiny thing distracted me.

At any rate, school will always be a place that I love. I may not like the teacher, the subject matter or other miscellaneous things, it is a happy place for me and the memories of playing dodgeball and hopscotch will always be some of my all-time favorites. My first slumber party, becoming a song leader (cooler dancing sister to the cheerleader) and playing volleyball are some of milestones that made me the woman I am today and the teachers who were endlessly patient with my endless supply of questions nurtured the desire to learn in me and allowed me to explore my intellect and question what others called the truth.

Doodles. That’s another thing I love about school. Doodles are awesome.

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