Sunday, September 24, 2017

Getting Older

Getting older is weird.  Because I don't feel old, really, I just feel like me.  In my mind my college experience wasn't that long ago, but it really was.  My high school just had a 30 year reunion.  I remember my high school self, so that doesn't seem distant, but the numbers don't lie.

I think about how when I was in elementary school I couldn't understand why people referred to kids in high school as "kids" since they sure looked like adults to me.  Now even college kids seem very young.  And what used to sound "old" doesn't seem all that old now.  When I was a kid, 50 sounded very old.  Today I have trouble seeing 60 as particularly old, but that's getting into retirement age for many so I guess I have to accept that fact.  I think about how my grandfather was 70 when he died, and that seemed okay at the time because he was an old man, but now I find it shocking he died so young.

The really sobering markers of aging aren't the ones I was expecting.  It's the odd bits of change and history that slowly slip by rendering all your memories out of step.  Realizing news events from my childhood that resonated with me are completely unfamiliar to many of the people I talk to on a daily basis is disconcerting.  I have to explain to my kids things like the eruption of Mt St Helens or the Iran hostage crisis or the Challenger explosion.  Those are peripheral tidbits that don't necessarily come up in school.  But they sound as ancient to them as my dad talking about seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium or people describing when Kennedy was shot did to me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Happiness may be a choice, but it's not always the right one.

When my husband and I decided to get married I didn't originally picture myself in a big white dress.  I seldom have interest in doing what other people usually do, and I was not one of those people who had her "big day" all mapped out in her mind ahead of time.  The marriage interested me, not the wedding particularly.

As the details of the event came together I learned a lot of valuable lessons.  There are certain rites of passage that remain in the culture for a reason, and how you handle them can tell you a lot about yourself and others.  I assumed from the start I would just buy myself a nice dress I could use again because that kind of sartorial practicality seemed like me.  But it also seemed like friends of mine who had married before me and chosen a big white dress.  One of those friends told me to just try one on, because why not?  When she had, she'd discovered she liked it.

To my utter surprise I liked it too.  Because it's fun and it's a way to set that day apart from any others.  I realized that my wedding day was the only day I could wear such a dress and have it mean something important.  I could certainly wear a wedding dress any other day I wanted, but it would only be an oddity or a costume.  I had one chance to wear such a thing with any meaning to it.  Why would I pass up that chance?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stray Thoughts in the Morning

Things are moving a mile a minute anymore, and any one of these thoughts could have been a post in a less hectic time, but in no particular order here are things I've pondered and learned from lately:

It's good to be able to return to a space that doesn't change.  Our cottage is that for us.  My brother was able to come with his family this summer, and he hadn't been there in almost 17 years.  He remarked immediately how amazing it was that it felt the same.  That's been by design--we've changed very little since my grandma died, and the place still feels like her.  She would lament that we've let the garden go, but someday we'll be there long enough to plant begonias by the front porch again, and weed some of the plants along the stairs on the hill.

It's also good that at the cottage the internet is spotty at best.  There is just enough of a signal from the neighbor's house that he said we could use that usually every other day I can upload email while I'm there and at least make sure everything is okay back home.  Otherwise being unplugged is a good thing for everyone.

My dad has been gone for two years now.  It doesn't really get easier.  I just don't burst into tears about it as often.  But damn I miss my dad.

My grandmother would have been 99 this year.  I miss her too.  There is so much I wish I could talk to her about.  It would have been so nice for my kids to have really known her. 

Grandpa, too.  I remember when he died he seemed really old.  But now 70 doesn't seem that old.