Monday, July 23, 2012

Looking for trouble......

You know that quirky finger move that expands your cell phone screen, the one that uses the thumb/forefinger action on the diagonal? I hear even some four-year olds have it down, no problem.

Me? Haven't mastered it yet for some reason.

Come to think of it, why would I want to make some of the images in my life bigger, anyway? Don't I have enough to grapple with, even on a good day?

Like last Friday. My accountant swore a couple of months ago that the IRS would repay me the $1500+ overpayment from the first quarter of this year. She even recounted a conversation she had with the nice person she spoke to about that money, the dollars and cents I desperately need right about now. It would only take about eight weeks, they promised.  (Stop laughing....I can hear you through my computer screen, and it isn't comical.)

I opened my mailbox and was ecstatic to get that envelope on Friday, and almost got in my car to take it to the bank right there on the spot. Wait, I thought.....I'd better open it first.


Yep. Just a tad short, and it probably cost them more than that to mail the darn thing.

Then there are the two cats in my house (out of the three that grace us with their presence) who need either drops in the eye or an antibiotic down the throat a few times a day. Each. The one with the eye problem has proven to be cooperative--for the most part--but the other one? Oh, my.

Picture a baby who doesn't want that yucky orangish-yellow squash that you airplaned into his mouth, no matter what funny noises you make as you stick that spoon in his mouth. He's not falling for it. So, what does he do? He takes that tongue and pushes it right out onto the floor (and you if you sit too close), none of it reaching its destination.

I have had cats let it ooze out of the side of their mouth, or jump down and throw it up as they walk away with great dignity. But never have I seen this. I swear he morphs into a human baby as that tongue starts pushing the food out of his mouth, along with the expensive antibiotic. Fun on a Friday, I can tell you.

Oh, there was more last week, but you get the picture. We all have these days, right? Nothing even remotely looks sane for a 24 hour period, and we wonder what we did to upset the universe. All we want is for it to stop. And, at my age, I know that it has happened before, and it will certainly happen again.

So, you all go ahead and make those images in your life BIGGER. I'd like some movement like that one that diminishes the trouble that seems to find me every once in a while, so if you have any cute devices that accomplish that, let me know.

The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.”
Bertrand Russell

Saturday, July 14, 2012

All about pacing.....

It wasn't a problem for a long time.....decades, actually.

When it became a problem, I didn't recognize it for years.

When I DID recognize it, I attempted to ignore it.

Finally, I accepted it with gritted teeth.

As we age, we find that our minds can outpace rings around our energy levels. At least that's the way it's been for me. In the morning, it sounds great to plan on attending an evening gathering with friends. Sure, why not? I say when I accept the invitation. That sounds like fun, and I like the people going, so count me in.

Oops. By about 4 PM, I realize my mistake. I've worked all day, intellectually at the office and then  physically at the gym, so I'm exhausted from head to toe and back again.

I was stymied by that for a lot of years, feeling as if I was exhibiting the "stick in the mud" mentality I was so often accused of in my 20s and 30s. (For good reason at that point in time, but the person inhabiting this skin isn't the same one who left the building a long time ago and I don't  like to be reminded of those days. I get a tad cranky when I even get a whiff of that phrase today.)

But then I realized that my energy  reserves were no longer at any "stick in the mud" levels (oh, the irony of it all, right?). It wasn't that I was sticking anywhere, to anything. My body simply couldn't keep up any longer. My life has expanded in ways that are often unrecognizable to me as I have aged. I dance, I engage in interval training that involves weight lifting, I seek out new adventures every month. I'm a lot more fun and I have fun in ways that I hadn't even dreamed of when I was decades younger.

I even hate writing this. It hurts. But reality must be faced, and this is it: We have to learn to pace ourselves as we move into the latter decades. (I did NOT say as we "get old," I hope you noticed that.) What that means on a daily basis is that I must view the events of the day, and into the evening, from a longer perspective than my younger years demanded.

If I work all day, hit the gym in the afternoon, and have some writing to do at home before I slide between my sheets to read before sleep, then I can't schedule a dance lesson that particular day. Or I have to change the gym to tomorrow, and dance today. And forget going out at night if I dance OR exercise within the same 24-hour block of day. Not going to happen. 

Yes, it's a hard reality to swallow. But those of you who are younger than me, heed my words here. You may think you are immune to what all of us ultimately face, whether it's cellulite in places you never even thought about or flagging energy levels. You're not. Sure, you can pay to have the lumps removed or buy pricey energy drinks, but the reality is still evident.

Thoreau spoke of keeping pace with our companions, and something about drums. I don't need to stay abreast of those folks. It just takes more energy to keep that drummer in sight at all.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 6, 2012

Shiny tabs......

A notebook with big rings that open and close. And tabs. Lot of tabs, multi-colored, with shiny plastic sleeves. That might do.

I've come to understand in this aging process that life has chapters, but not like those in a book. Those are organized in some way that makes sense to the author or central characters.

Our lives, however, are not so neat. So, tabs would be good, because we can move them around whenever we realize the moon and stars have realigned themselves without our permission--or even our knowledge--only to send the events of our lives into a tailspin. Again.

The tabs could also be slipped into folders that represent those mistakes we keep making. The organization would be amazing, don't you think? If only we could transfer that order and that ability to rearrange events and people to the reality of our existence.

One folder in my personal notebook would have to be labelled "emotional abandonment." And it would have several tabs peeking out, all lined up in their bright colors, maybe four or five of them. Actually, five at last count.

I've always thought that I was the one who walked out, leaving numerous relationships scattered behind me like used tissues. I have carried a lot of guilt about those tabs, too. With only one notable exception (NO, you may not peek into that particular folder), it was me who cried "uncle!"

So, recently I have been reevaluating my life, assessing where I am at this point on my timeline, when the clouds parted to reveal a new understanding of my messy notebook. There's a country song that says it much better than I can: "I'd rather be lonely all alone."

Emotional abandonment seems to be a recurring tab for me, and I think it goes way back in my experience. A significant other (actually, five of them) was sitting on the other side of the breakfast table buttering his toast, yet emotionally he had already left the building. Optomist that I am, it always took me a while to notice the subtle changes that take place when one partner is in it, and the other isn't.

What I realized, then, was that it had only been out of a desire to protect and preserve ME that I had finally issued a TIMEOUT! in each of these relationships, followed by a permanent ejection of the emotionally absent player. I became the heavy, the walker, the "guilty" one. I know what passive-agressive behavior looks like and I hold no tolerance for it. None of these people had the courage to be honest with me, but once I recognized my loneliness in the presence of another, I called the game.

Aging means many things to each of us as we travel closer to the end of the timeline given us. To me, it includes some reflective time, and reassessment leading to positive realignment of what is out of synch.  So, I take responsibility for five tabs in my notebook that shouldn't have been there to begin with.

I'm throwing the whole folder out today.

Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.  Victor Hugo