My Friday Lament

I want to be young again, but I really don’t want to re-live all the lousy stuff that occurs in the normal course of growing up.

I want to be old enough to fully accept that ‘legacy’ has nothing to do with what I did for a living, but what I did with my life – and that it mattered.

I want to find my waist again.

I want my waist not to matter as much as the shape of my soul.

I’d like to have no regrets, yet I regret that I think one can’t live without them.

I want to be remembered despite not having any wish or intent to go anywhere which would prompt people to miss me.

I wonder when I’m going to feel like I’m making my mark, yet delight in doing nothing but watching two fawns practice leaping in my backyard.

I miss the sounds and smells and demands and affection of having little boys, though my sons as adults delight me as no other adults can.

The rain is welcome, despite my wish for the sun.

In my head I’m far younger than the mirror suggests.  I find that a little insulting, and adds still more dissonance.

I want to read and read every book, blog, essay that grabs my curiosity and still take time to relish every sentence that I love.

I want to travel more and still cocoon at home.

I want to dare more though I’ve never been known for  being particularly intrepid.

Nobody gets everything in life; yet everything in life is not worth having.

The ebb and flow of extremes.  The push and pull of our hearts and minds.  It’s ok to grapple with this confusion, I tell myself.  It’s that insistent feeling I have that somehow, we’re supposed to ‘know’ by now.  The irritation I feel when I find that when pressed, I really have no clue – and the smile on my face as I realize that I’ll likely never get off this swing, so while I’m on it I’m just going to see how high I can go.

78 thoughts on “My Friday Lament

  1. Ah yes. Why is it that we are suppose to know by now? The older I get the more shifty the ground of what I once thought was important becomes and I sometimes get stopped in my tracks by a pretty bird in flight or a glimpse into Cody and Carter’s secret world of play and I try to internalize it. That right there, I say, is it, is what this is all about. Some people get it, I think you are one of them, but other are too busy to see.

    • I think that life can make it very hard for those who want to hold onto the moments that matter – and arguably there are many who don’t even think that way perhaps. At the end of the day, if we are able to capture and internalize those magical times, when it all crystallizes for us, we’re very very lucky..

    • Good to hear from you as always Shimon…thank you. I will enjoy the high and the funny feeling one gets in the stomach as the swing begins its arc…and then hurry up and start pumping my legs again so I can continue to swing.

  2. There must be something about this week because almost every one I know is grappling with what you’ve once again put into words. As a composer creates a symphony, once again, your words have a timbre and a pitch that touches the soul. In Newsday this week – not the greatest most impressive resource – there was mention of a concert that I actually will be going to Saturday night with a girl friend from high school. The writer dared to encourage those of us of “a certain age” to attend. The performers are Don McLean and Judy Collins – need I say more? Anyway, we all look in the mirror and can’t comprehend the face that looks back at us because it is older than our minds say it should be. We talk about renaissance and still having much to do. Maybe its okay to do what we want when we want and if we aren’t wanted somewhere then maybe there’s a reason for that, too. Sometimes I wonder if its because we were guided by messages from parents, friends, family – ok, some of us were shoved – into directions of what they told us our dreams should be. Smart enough and young enough to shout “do over” many of us took a second chance to grab the brass ring. Realizing my parents didn’t know everything and that I was the boss of me didn’t happen until I was in my 30’s. And, for me, that second chance had more to do with luck and timing more than anything else. Perhaps, if among the messages we received in our youth was one that led to it being okay to take a breath and pamper oneself (and that pampering looks different to everyone) or that maybe there will come a time when doing nothing is enough, we wouldn’t have this ongoing conversation in our heads. The guilt borne of being lucky enough to retire from the work that defined us for so long at such young ages gives us the gift of time; time to rethink “what should I be doing now because for sure I should be doing something” or my own personal “I’m not done yet” rewinding and rewinding or better yet, for those of us of a certain age; like a needled stuck on a record.

    As for our waists, I say let’s not waste anymore time mourning their disappearance (tho’ you’re pretty darn cute and petite still).

    And, finally, what resonates most with me is “Nobody gets everything in life; yet everything in life is not worth having”. While it certainly isn’t time to throw in a towel, it may be time to embrace time. Take me for what I am. How empowering to not have to prove anything to anyone anymore. Even more empowering will be the moment when that actually becomes intrinsic.

    Beautiful ride on the truck today. The rain stayed away and while the skies remain overcast, this I know; even nature will get a do over tomorrow 🙂

    • “It’s time to embrace time” – yes sweetheart, yes. Celebrate you. You have achieved the pinnacle of professional success – you made this world a better place for the children who crossed your path. You are already empowered, for now the time is for you to rejoice and take in all that you may have sacrificed along the way..

      • Ah, yes, the sacrifices. It would be nice to be able to erase the tapes in my head; the one that asks “was it worth it” and the one that nudges “would you do it that way again. These tapes turn themselves on at those times when I’m cruising along thinking “life is good”. And, it is. I’d like to share one of the most beautiful cards given to me over the years. After a particularly trying year when I had to rethink teaching, learning and deep understanding applying all three with a population to whom all three meant very different things. You’ll recognize the author for sure and for me I think I will take it out of its folder and keep it on my desk. Perhaps, it will force the memories, validate that the sacrifices were worth it, (i.e. Jenna turned out okay and my husband still speaks with me :), and maybe I can take the first baby step with confidence into the next chapter.
        ” To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
        And maybe this should be enough
        To the moon and back

      • That is the quote I was thinking of when I wrote you Jo – and I guess you figured that out..You have succeeded – many many times over…all there is..

  3. I stand in awe of your ability to find the exact right words to describe feelings–and how you always hit on what I think (hope?) are the universals. I keep wondering when my internal dialog is going to sound like a grown up.

  4. Another post worthy of savoring every word. Bravo! I’m a slow learner in this thing called life, but there is one thing I think I’ve finally gotten right. I invest my time with those who, no matter how silly, strident, heart-felt, crazy, mushy, sad, stupid, childish, or whatever way I act, think,or feel, still love and accept me. That has made all the difference in my life. Thank you for being one of them, my friend.

  5. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    Another post worthy of savoring every word. Bravo! I’m a slow learner in this thing called life, but there is one thing I think I’ve finally gotten right. I invest my time with those who, no matter how silly, strident, heart-felt, crazy, mushy, sad, stupid, childish, or whatever way I act, think, or feel, still love and accept me. That has made all the difference in my life. Thank you for being one of them, my friend.

  6. I am pretty sure that just earlier today i said, “Yes”…and then another yes. To those, I add more! And, I think you are already leaving your mark. And this… “I want my waist not to matter as much as the shape of my soul.” This I love. Eloquent and sums up so very much. You just know how to say it Mims, you really do. xoxo

  7. “The ebb and flow of extremes….the push and pull of our hearts and minds…… and the smile on my face as I realize that I’ll likely never get off this swing, so while I’m on it I’m just going to see how high I can go.”
    Another great quote to include in your book 🙂

  8. Sounds like a thoughtful time…we are young in our minds and heart. We need to complete those tasks that we desire, yet know each day is a gift…if we have another we are blessed!

    Great post my friend!

    • Thank you Tina…perhaps the universal outline of our humanity is that we are first and foremost, a contradiction in terms. Have a great weekend!

  9. This post is great and sounds like what goes on in my head before I fall asleep and get in touch with myself. I review and usually conclude that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and everything is okay. For that I am grateful and for you, I am grateful.. You have made your mark with me, Mimi!

    • I love that you conduct a nightly review – and actually think it’s a great idea. Maybe I’d sleep better!! Yet another example of all that is right in my world – you. xo

  10. I have to say I’d like to see my waist again too – just so I can wear the trousers and skirts that I can’t get into these days ( I never throw away the clothes i love !)

    • I don’t either – well, I did recently give away some of the clothes I wore when I was a US size 2 – that just isn’t going to happen again. 😉

  11. I seriously relate to the “should know” syndrome. If anyone had told me when I was a kid that all the adults were just …well…us!!…it would have blown my mind, and sense of security all to hell.

    You never feel grown up, I guess. You just do “older” things.

    A wonderful comparison post–and universally anecdotal.

    • Isn’t it true? I remember my mom telling me that no matter what we ‘saw’, in her mind’s eye, she was still a ‘girl’. I get that now – and feel the push-and-pull all the time.

  12. This is an awesome list of your thoughts on legacy and growing older! I am very impressed and think it is also funny! Like can you find your waist, well in my forties I could not, now in my fifties suddenly I am thinner, loss of bone mass and some changes…. But mainly I like that you told us a lot of honest and “real” things. Great post!

    • Ah, I had a waist in my forties – and even the early part of my fifties. Now that I’m on the wilder side of fifty though, everything seems to be shifting..Ah well…So glad you enjoyed the post!

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