Hello, my Posse loves! I’ve been thinking about A Life – most especially My Life – as I sort through a box of pictures. Recently there’s been an uptick in ‘reflections’, on this blog as well as in everyday life. I’ve noticed so many people ‘assessing’ (beware: there are likely to be a LOT of words and phrases in italics and quotations in this post. deal with it ;-). A lot of it is for those of us who are reaching milestone birthdays or are just taking a look at Life from a different perspective, as we age (which, if you think about it, is an everyday occurrence. As my dad used to say ‘you get old or you get dead’ – truer words never spoken. I’m not immune to this type of musing, especially during the late Winter months. Interesting thing, Late Winter; in Early Winter time is usually spent just dealing with Winter itself. But by late February you’re pretty sick of fighting the weather that never seems to STOP! so… ennui starts to set in. And Too. Much. Thinking – and thinking dumb.
Like: what have I done with my life? Why am I not (fill in the blank – mine usually starts with someone like Oprah. Or Marie Curie (a thought which I quickly discard because…OW! but you get the drift). Now, I think this is not unusual, especially in these days of Social Media showing us ALL THE FABULOUS! but… really? Is that really how I want to spend my time, comparing myself to celebrities and influencers and Floydknowswhoelse? How ’bout I take a look at Me. And what better way to do it than with pictures.
I started sorting a box of photos while Alexa played my bizarroworld playlist (yeah – try going from Shirley Horn to some K-pop in the space of 3 minutes. Let me know when your head unexplodes! lol!)…. anyhoo – the sorting of this box was fascinating. Jumbled as they were, I would come upon an old lover … and then come upon a photo of his (later) family… a photo of my dad, taken when he was 20 years younger than I am now… so disorienting. Me… at the baptismal fount (and I’m Catholic, so you know that was an infant dunk)… people who, at the time of the various photos, completely dominated my world…and now I struggle to remember their names. Photo after photo of people important (and once important) to me, then I come upon a photo of a chance acquaintance and suddenly… a memory flash of such blinding clarity that it leaves me gasping.
My Life in Houses. Pretty much everywhere I ever lived is in a photo. My first loft. In a nanosecond, my entire young adult life came roaring back – all the hopes and dreams for my first marriage, even as I knew it wouldn’t last. The delight of my first ‘adult’ friend group, at parties in our first house, too many of whom are now gone.
You want Reason/Season/Lifetime?? Look at your life’s pictures.
I came across photos of my first ‘real’ love while (unironically, I hope) Sam Hunt sang ’23’. “No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I’ll never be 23 with anyone but you’. I thought it would depress me – but, you know, it didn’t. Unless you die at 22, everyone gets to be 23. And after that, 23 becomes a memory. And that’s how it should be. At 23 I was madly in love with a young man whom I Very Nearly Married. Looking back … omg. What a disaster that would’ve been. I would’ve been miserable, and I would’ve destroyed him. Yoiks! Later he married a much more suitable woman.
But he’ll never be 23 with anyone but me.
Here’s a weird one: decades ago, I did several paintings of a group of people at a beach. My mother is in those photos which, weirdly, I always forget – but here’s the kicker – I did this whole, HUGE, painting… and never once realized that my mother’s first husband is also in that photo! Finding the photo and photos of the paintings brought back the memory of my 7yr old self in absolute shock at finding out my mother had married prior to my father. Don’t forget, this was the Jurassic Era where divorce was not the venerable institution it is today. And I grew up in Beaver Cleaver Land. People simply did. not. divorce. (newsflash: they did. they just didn’t talk about it). Even weirder? I never noticed that my mother’s first husband bears an uncanny resemblance to my mother’s second husband – my father. They could be brothers. They could be twins. Obviously my mother had a Type. Gorgeous, bonkers men. Hmmm….
So. Many. Dogs. Including a photo of my dad, in short pants, and his dog, Wompy, taken 91 years ago. and .. I don’t know that dog but I know that dog. And I love that dog. Because he loved my dad. And my dad loved him.
Anyhoo – I thought poking at those photos might be a trip down Misery Lane – instead, it’s simply a testament to a Life. A life spent observing, a life spent doing (those paintings didn’t paint themselves, those cakes didn’t fall out of the sky), a life full of love, touched by tragedy (and whose isn’t?), a life of dreams realized – and dreams deferred.
In short, A Life. And I’ll bet that each and every one of you, reading this, is tripping just a bit through your own lives. As well you should. Because last time I looked, this is the only life we have. Like most of us, on occasion I will ask ‘is that all there is? – is this all I am?’ – then I remember that it is (or should be) okay to Just Be. Do you, whatever that ‘you’ is. I’m reminded what one of my favorite bladesmiths, Burt Foster, wrote in a blog post What if the physical products of my work serve their purpose in this time and though doomed to eventual destruction, the work itself – the attitude, the passion, the blood, sweat and years are themselves eternal?
Now. I’m not a Master Bladesmith but I get his point. What if this, this Life? What if it is enough? I am a person who is living her life, even if it’s just walking Yet Another Dog. And trying to do it in grace and with honor. And, when you think about it, isn’t it enough to just live?
So. Life. Yours. Live it. And while you’re here, tell me how you’re doing with Life right now! Hope it’s going good…. good-ish? … great? (that would be great!!!)