The weekend is winding down, as a matter of fact; this blog entry will be the last cognitive task I will perform until Monday morning. The week end was a good one but I find myself being robbed of time – I cannot seem to accomplish as much in a day as I once did and it is such an unpleasant realization – this is not what I imagined, this getting older stuff. I have had to lower the bar just a bit on what I hope to do during the day. I suppose this will become a normal setting for me soon but for now, it is a funny feeling. To counter this bit of less endurance I am going to rev up my plan to simplify and try to get rid of some of these shackles that I acquired in my youth. I am appalled at the amount of stuff I have – ashamed really, these things are nothing but anchors in my life – things to see about, things to rob me of time and money that I have to spend maintaining worthless pieces of inorganic material. I don’t care much for TV but I like to drink a cup of coffee and watch House Hunters International in the afternoon – enjoying glimpses of faraway places and cultures. I am always taken with the amount of small spaces international buyers are okay with and, in contrast, the enormous amount of space Americans “need”. We are leaving such big footprints and as I’ve said before, I played that game in my youth and I am so regretful. I regret it on all levels – the most being the example I have given my kids. Lucky for me, however, it seems they are, for the most part, not overly concerned with materialism, they are much smarter than me – anyway, there is a Chinese proverb about planting a tree, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I missed the first train but I’m jumping on board now.
|just an image from long ago that makes me happy
The twins have been gone for nearly a complete week and I am feeling much better. What is the saying about a mother being only as happy as her saddest child? Well, with that in mind, I am feeling happy. I am happy for all the obvious reasons – safe arrival, good apartment, everyone is nice, great school, but, more importantly, I am at peace over the “other” things – the pursuit (and hopefully acquisition) of independence, the display of creativity, resourcefulness, growth, experience, and the satisfaction of “getting through” – all of the things we , as parents, want for our children .These are the tools we hope to give them, for we cannot give them their “success”, they have to earn that on their own or it is never theirs, we can only give them a few useful tools and endless support.
I, like a certain football player in the news, thank God for this little spot in my life – this little place of peace, a place that is difficult to locate, illusive and I know, fleeting. I will rest here for a moment, however brief, and be grateful for my time here. I know there will be “rain” again and I know I have little control over how this all turns out but I also know we have to try in life, that’s the easy part, to keep trying is what separates winning from losing.
I am not referring to my twins at this point, I am just babbling in general rhetoric that their situation reminds me of – I just have noticed that most all of us “will try something once” but few of us will stick to something that doesn’t give instant gratification – the ones that do, however, I think, achieve success. I have lived long enough to see this happen. People that begin on modest little footpaths of life, nothing special, no obvious road to “prosperity”, find success and satisfaction when others, seemingly more prepared, do not. What you don’t see is that determination to stick to “it” and after time, they have arrived at a place that is far ahead of those who have bigger promise and potential but lack the discipline and commitment to “stick to it”. I see that often in the school setting. Disadvantaged kids – disadvantaged on all levels, socioeconomic, family situations, and health – achieve far beyond those kids that were born into privilege. I think of that nearly every day that I walk the halls of the high schools – opportunities and success are not promised to a select group of people, it is something only a certain kind of person can achieve, a person with discipline.
Something else that is giving me continued contentedness is my nearly zero spending exercise. I, of course, buy groceries – but not a lot, mostly fresh produce – and petro and materials and services for repairs around the house but nothing superficial. It is so freeing to just say no to all that I am bombarded and threatened with, it’s not my concern. Keeping more of my money is great but it is really way beyond that for me – it is a lifestyle choice. I have, in the past, consumed more than my share, and I regret that about myself, but, henceforth, I hope to continue to be mindful about my purchases. I draw from the examples of my mother, my grandmothers, and a wonderful friend and mentor, Miss Sue – they all, for whatever the reason, practiced conservative spending – frugality – and I believe, it is a trait to be revered. It’s very easy to spend; it takes discipline and real character to “make do”, however. Anyway, I am slowly withdrawing from the addiction of consumerism that is gripping our society and overriding our purpose. It is freeing.
So, there, two goals, both requiring very much discipline but, I believe, offering much reward in the long run – sticking to something you believe in and turning away from the propaganda that is trying to define you (and rob you). I suppose I have just “verbalized” my resolutions without really meaning to!
The twins left yesterday morning but not before a flat on the truck and tears in my heart. Boulder or bust. It is such a conflicting internal struggle for parents this letting go, saying good bye – our heads and our heart don’t see it the same way. I am trying to allow my head to win this battle, this conquest of freedom and independence that I so want for all of my children but my silly heart still sees them at two, toddling around with buster brown haircuts and chubby little hands that were so warm to hold. Yesterday was rough. Today should be better, today I will paint and pull weeds – two great cures for all that troubles me.
see you later
The second day of the year is already here – life doesn’t wait for us does it? I have so much whirling around in my mind right now – no resolutions just sketches of footpaths and affirmations of where I am and what I am doing. There’s something about the fresh scrubbed beginning of the new year that rejuvenates us – I can take it a step further and celebrate each new day and I hope to this year. I have just recently written an “artist bio” for a show I have been asked to be in (yay!!) and it was a great exercise for me – it made me sort through some things and in the end, it made me feel good about my art. I suppose there is some merit to writing things down – it becomes a visual of your fabric and it helps to “see” who you are. I also found an old journal from college last night – it “randomly” fell to the floor in my little office while I was gathering tax stuff. I shared some of it with my twins – it was fun and connecting – their mom at their age. I read two entries about two of the paintings hanging on my wall – telling me when they were completed and how I felt about them – so wonderful to recapture. Ahhh, the written word – where will it be, is it a thing of the past? Anyway, enough about nothing, I need to get busy and capture this moment before it ends up in a journal.
Sept. 26, 1974…”I finished the painting of the two Malboro men for my dad today…”
“I love best to have each thing in its season only, and enjoy without it all other times.” Henry David Thoreau Dec. 5, 1856
Here’s another: “There is hardly anything natural in the food stores anymore. The grains are puffed, pounded and supersaturated with sugar for boxed breakfast cereal. The meats are injected with hormones, colored and full of antibiotics. The juices are filtered, flavored and carbonated. The overprocessed canned fruits are sweetened beyond measure. …The raw vegetables in the stalls are sprayed and dusted…” Taken from The Good Life 1930s