I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD-SLAPS, SPEED-BUMPS and LIGHT-BULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.



Saturday, December 27, 2014

Countdown


When I was little I wondered about tomorrow. I couldn’t wait for next summer with its afternoons of nothing to do but be a kid. As a teenager summers were still the best, but it was also the anticipation of the next school year, dance, holiday, family vacation or birthday. Like skin after a sunburn, I peeled my weeks and months away, for something fresher, better and pinker.  I always discounted the warmth of today and looked forward to the next big burn.

When my kids were born, I couldn’t wait until they smiled for the first time, crawled, walked, talked and ate real food. Then it was hurry up and wait for potty training, three wheelers, a full day at school, two wheelers, high school and driver’s licenses. Graduation, college, graduation again, jobs, marriage and grandchildren. All of it here and all that time of wishing and hoping gone. The memories of some of it are printed on little scraps of newsprint in my mind, the rest have been swept away in a flash of waiting for the next big burn.  

Where did all that time go?

They grow up so fast, parent’s say over and over again. But we grow too. We age and our lives fill with the complexities of relationships, our minds bulge with the responsibilities of advanced adulthood, and our hearts wish for more time, and yes, we do regret that which we wasted, while waiting for the next big thing.

One Saturday, as a fifteen year old, my mother let me stay in bed until three in the afternoon. She never let me sleep/doze/lull in bed, except for that one day. When I finally got up she suggested that I think about the half day spent in bed, not because I was sick or tired, but simply because I believed I had the time to waste.

“The day will come when you will want that half-day back,” she said. “The time will come when all the minutes and hours you spent doing nothing, will become like a raided piggy bank, when you need the chits for time. Don’t waste it,” she said, “don’t wish away your life.”

When in the midst of waiting and worrying and in the midst of wasting, I often recall my mother’s wise words and wonder, how much used, how little left.

At the end of my life I imagine I will jiggle the piggy bank and I hope I have some spare change to claim a few more, certainly not years, but maybe a couple of months, days or even minutes, when the last big sunburn begins to warm my skin. And yet I know that if I am in pain, or because of infirmity, causing pain to my family, I may throw away the precious gift of time and wish for it to be over. I will not be afraid of the endless summer to be a kid all over again.

When I turned sixty, a switch flipped. Like I have often said, on that birthday I realized that the bulk of my life and my ass are behind me.  After six decades on earth I began to ponder the amount of time I have left and what I want to do with it. Do I face my fate in a minute - expiration mid-keystroke - or do I have years left, to think about, how many years left?

Life expectancy for women in the US, and taking into account my family history, has me making into my eighties. Not much time, I often think, and yet, a lifetime can be lived in minutes when that’s all you have. As friends (RIP Jose) and family members depart I am left with time, to not lull but live. For me each minute is a gift.

As the countdown to the end of this year approaches I am want to look back and smile, and cry, and ponder the choices I have made over my lifetime which have, for the most part, been good choices. If the bad ones, and especially the bad ones, have brought me to where I am now, then they weren’t that bad, they were meant to be.

Now, is where I am, now is at my keyboard, not wasting but living and loving the chance I have to communicate all the ‘stuff’ which fills my heart, my brain and especially the sweet cream of my soul.

Because I cannot have the time back I have wasted, I will exploit that which I have left, by doing, by loving and by sharing.

Happy New Year to my on-line writer friends who have so graciously read what I have written, expressed concern for my personal travails and laughed at my wacky sense of humor.  For all of you, may next year last more than 365 days and be filled with love, righteousness, kindness and prosperity and lots and lots of  time.  

2 comments:

  1. I love the stuff that has filled your brain my friend. We don't see one another often enough but I think of you and am very proud of the woman you have become and in awe of all of your talents. You haven't wasted time as you might think - you have worked hard to be where you are. I don't think you have anything to look back at as wasted time. As you said even the bad brings us to the place we are at now. I wish there was more time ahead but your piece has helped me think that I too have come miles and miles. Because of this piece I think I won't regret so much of the past that I've regretted over and over, but look at all of it as a stepping stone to becoming the person I am today. Thank you for such an eloquent piece.

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    Replies
    1. Such kind words, my friend, thank you.
      I often wonder why I always wanted to be further ahead, somewhere else and doing something other than what I was doing. Now, not so much 'wanting' and more appreciation and gratefulness for what I have, where I've been and where I am. Although more money and a smaller house would look pretty good right now. What did I say about 'wanting'?

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