Reworking the image of a mid-life crisis

6 Comments

I have noticed a few things about myself as I gracefully grow older, particularly over the last few years.  Grey hair and wrinkles notwithstanding, my perspective has evolved from the relatively carefree attitude I once enjoyed.   Gone are the days I flippantly put that first toe into the soothing waters of a hot tub and let my body follow.  Public pools are a distant memory and the frequency of my hand washing has increased exponentially.  Hell, these days I even avoid soaking in a bathtub.  I refuse to call myself a germaphobe but, if the label fits, I have three letters for myself – O C D.

I don’t know when this nuance in my psyche first began to form but it has taken root and branched out at an uncomfortable rate.  I haven’t reached the breaking point of color coding my closet or having my remote controls in a line at a 45 degree angle, yet, but I do notice the trending pattern and it has become somewhat disconcerting.

Perhaps this is a natural evolution from childhood to adulthood.  Maybe this is simply my acceptance of dealing with reality from an educated viewpoint.  Or just maybe, this is my mid-life crisis.  Conceivably I am taking things far too seriously but I cannot seem to access the earlier frame of mind that allowed me to live with reckless abandon.  I am stymied by my overwhelming urge to retreat from public spaces and the sharing of any bodily excretions that are emitted into public water.

midlife crisis(image credit:  someecards.com)

I can only hope that the misgivings of my mid-life irrationality will subside.  I hope to be able to, once again, access that childhood abandon that allowed my to enjoy my life without second-guessing it, or at least bring me reasonably close to that feeling again.  If not, I fear I may be sending my future blog posts via Skype from the bubble I have inhabited while banging on the keyboard through my rubber gloves!

Have you noticed any noteworthy changes as you’ve gotten older?

Old habits die hard….or get hit by lightning

16 Comments

Last night we had a pretty epic lightning storm.  It didn’t hit as close to home as the bolt that struck a tree at the resort in late June but the pyrotechnic show was phenomenal.

As kids during any great thunderstorm, my brother and I would turn our couch to face out the picture window to watch the display in the sky.  While I could count the high number of my friends who I knew were shuddering under their beds, my brother and I were face to face with the awesome display of nature and the power of a storm.

lightning_strike

(image credit: National Geographic)

Last night I felt just like that kid again.  I propped myself up on my couch, faced out the window with a glass of wine in my hand and watched in awe as arcs of light graced the sky.  And although my brother wasn’t on the same couch, he was watching the storm through a different window.  Some things will never change.

 

Getting into trouble at school

9 Comments

Last night was my nephew’s graduation from Grade 8.  Like every other family, we collected en masse in the auditorium and slowly felt the oxygen leaving the room as the number of attendees multiplied exponentially.  The ceremonies were late in getting started and after the first tapping of a finger on the microphone the noise of the audience was dulled and the festivities began.

The first thing that struck me about the celebration was the overwhelming difference from my grade 8 graduation to last night.  The girls looked like they were dressed for the red carpet and the boys were dressed to the nines.  Back in 19(illegible numbers) at my grade 8 grad, I recall wearing something that could have passed as a hand-me-down for Holly Hobby, minus the apron, and the boys wore jeans, running shoes, short-sleeved white dress shirts and clip-on ties.

The program for the evening kept to the letter of the printed description, minus the timing.  As speech tumbled into speech, I made the mistake of leaning over to my brother and whispering something about the extended ceremony and the fact that the grad class may miss their boat cruise after the graduation.  It was at that precise moment that my brother chose to whisper a response that not only shocked me, but made me start to giggle.  Now, when you are in the middle of an important rite of passage for a 14-year-old, giggling during the ceremony is frowned upon.

I did my utmost to stifle the laughter but that only made it worse and a small snort escaped.  This sent my brother into fits of silent, but convulsive laughter as well and we slowly lost control.  Tears streamed down our faces as we sought some sort of relief from our fits of hysterics but, every time we looked at each other, the inaudible giggles were compounded by more tears and several sideways glances from those sitting around us, including my sister-in-law.

laughing

My younger nephew, who was sitting beside me, leaned over to quietly ask what was so funny.  I could only respond with a wave of my hand and more fits of silent laughter while trying to catch my breath.  Thankfully a somber moment in the ceremony grabbed our attention the restrained giggling came to an end.  I wiped the moisture from my cheeks and eyes and avoided looking in my brother’s general direction for the duration of the grad ceremony.

My nephew graduated with Honors and his class quickly exited the hallowed halls of their alma mater to board the steamship that was waiting for their arrival.  Like ants leaving a picnic, the cars sequentially left the parking lot and the evening came to an end.  I got in my car, a few chuckles escaping as I recalled the fun I had with my big brother, and heard the distinctly familiar ring of my cell phone.

My first words were, “I’m still laughing”, and I could hear that familiar sound on the other end of the phone.  We laughed again for another five minutes and I had to pull the car over because I couldn’t see well enough to drive!  That is certainly one graduation I will never forget – and when my younger nephew goes through the same ceremony, I’ll make sure my brother and I are not sitting beside each other!

(image credit)

 

 

 

A blast from the past

12 Comments

How quickly the past can bury itself under mountains of storage containers and lock itself in a shed.  I have been purging myself of many unwanted items and have stumbled on some treasured mementos that I have been thinking about a lot lately.

I used to love doodling in class when I was in high school.  Art class was the only time during my day where I found myself truly drawn (pardon the pun) into the subject material and would pay attention throughout the entire lesson.

I remember sitting in the library, long before the world-wide-web was introduced and encyclopedias were still a functional research tool, and I began to draw some lines.  The lines continued and a face began to emerge.  I continued, not knowing what the final product would be, and this face appeared.

IMG_1335

Drawing for me, then, was what writing is to me now.  I would lose myself in the process and dabble in many different ways to create a picture.  I painted birds with oil paints on cedar shingles, I would sketch with charcoal, create drawings using nothing but stippled marker and create caricatures of faces that were popular at the time.

IMG_1337

IMG_1340[1]

It’s amazing that I had long since forgotten that part of myself.  That creative side morphed from sketches into stories and now I use my words to paint the pictures that I used to draw.

I have an opportunity to speak to someone who may be able to  help me with a series of children’s books I have been working on.  Last year I began putting out the feelers to find an artist to sketch some characters for me but perhaps it was fate that I found these drawings.  Maybe I can sharpen a pencil or two and get back that love for modeling characters from a piece of lead and see where the lines will take me.

Father’s Day so far away

2 Comments

new-36

This picture is my dad and I in 1970.  Seemingly, I was as stubborn then as I am now!  We were very similar creatures, my dad and I.  Although we would have some “heated discussions” during our ever evolving relationship, there was always love at the core of our bond.

My dad passed away in March of 2006 and I miss him every day.  I miss his silly sense of humor, I miss his charisma, his smile, and I miss knowing that he would be right there if I needed him.  This is a poem I wrote a few months after he passed.  He was a Councillor for our township and he was honored with a plaque that was place on a large rock in the local park and the planting of a tree.  Happy Father’s Day, dad.  We miss you.  xoxo    :)

~~

As Seasons Change

We give these gifts of nature in your name,

To forever keep you near.

To take root in a place you kept close to your heart,

And represent the things you hold dear.

Your rock will remind us to always be strong,

And to remain solid in the lives we love.

And follow in the examples you gave us in life,

As you look on us from above.

Your tree will remind us to accept the changes,

Of seasons that come and go.

As the tree becomes bare at times in our life,

New leaves will blossom in time to show.

That nature is beautiful and life has a season,

but all things do come to an end.

And with each change and leaf that is lost,

Family and friendships help mend.

Branches sway in the winds of time,

And your whispers will be heard in the breeze.

Your memory lives on in the nature around us,

The air, the rocks, the trees.

Another hurdle, a few more kleenex

10 Comments

I knew today would be rough, another hurdle to overcome in a long list of firsts since losing my mom.  I spent some fun time with family last night having some good laughs, which was great.  After a fantastic dinner and jokes that only my family would appreciate, I got in the car to head home.  A dear friend had sent me a text message letting me know she was thinking about me and how much of a difficult time I would have today and the first tear came with many to follow.  I’m pretty sure what I experienced Oprah refers to as “the ugly cry”.

I vowed today would be better…and it was.  I made a point of keeping myself occupied by working on the scrapbook and some decorations I am putting together for mom’s upcoming celebration of life.  Sure, there have been a few random tears that have escaped during the afternoon but most of the day has been spent remembering her in a way she would want me to – with a smile and affection that has no boundaries.

These are some of the ways I have honored my mom today in her absence on this first mother’s day without her.  I miss you every day.

IMG_1237[1]

weddIMG_1256[2]

 

 

 

 

 

Crash – 100 Word Song

11 Comments

My elders warned me – ‘life moves at a million miles an hour’.

When you are young and full of disdain for authority, you make up your own rules,  you choose to believe what you want to believe.  So I kept pace, moving along at that million miles an hour.

Who knew I would crash into my future self at such a young age?  Who could have predicted my youth would come to such a screeching halt?

All I can do now is sort through the wreckage and try to put the pieces of the carnage of my life back together.

my-vows

 (image credit)

~~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  This week’s song is Crash by The Primitives.   Go check out the fun challenge and join in!!

 

 

 

 

 

The last selfless act

26 Comments

family

I have been thinking about my mom a lot over the last week.  Every time something happens or I hear something I think she would enjoy, I reach for the phone forgetting she won’t be there to answer.  She was a big part of my day-to-day life.  We were very close and talked on the phone at least once a day.  Having that routine so abruptly altered is taking a great deal of adjustment and an overwhelming amount of tears.

During our lifetime, my mother had done many things for my brother and I without ever second guessing her motivation.  She was a mother first and everything else came second.  She would constantly put our needs ahead of her own.  She consoled us, cried for us and cried with us, she gave us every tool possible to become the strong, independent people we are today.

Up to her last breath she followed that mantra.  Although my mom had been sick for quite a while, the week leading up to her passing was one of her best in a long time.  She was feeling “fine”, physically better than she had in months and her spirit was completely lifted.  I have heard from many who have had a similar experience with their loved one – they seemed to rally back before their passing and it gave those around them that comfort of remembering their departed loved ones with more joy than sadness.

Her last selfless act as a mother was to leave us with memories of her being happy and not being sick.  The last day I spent with her was just like hanging out with her 20 years ago.  Her sense of humor was quick and twisted, and she had that spark in her eye that I remember so well.

I dream of her often and see her in little signs that she leaves in random things.  We miss you, mom, and hope you are enjoying those Angel wings.  You certainly deserve them.  xo

 

 

Why are you fighting?

23 Comments

Every day I wake,

the inner dialogue begins.

A taunt here, a few bad words there,

the cycle continues.

You asked me,

why are you fighting?

For me it is simple,

I continue to fight

until I feel like I’m good enough.

~~

gargle158

Written for the Gargleblaster - this week was an interesting task and, sadly, it took me back to my teenage years.

This week we’re paying tribute to Gabriel García Márquez, who was (in our humble opinion) one of the greatest writers of the last century. This week’s ultimate question comes to us from One Hundred Years of Solitude:

“Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?”

From Root to Tip

9 Comments

tree

(image credit: photo.net)

We are an eclectic band of misfits, each branch of my family tree is twisted and unique.  But life in my forest has been full of adventure and laughter.  From the moment our family tree took root it was nourished by humor, surrounded by love and encouraged to branch out in any direction it was drawn towards.

The apples that fall from that tree do not stray far and we enjoy the camaraderie that only like-minded semi-delusional people can share.  We are nuts but we are family.

I had recently told a tale, based solely in fact, about how my brother tricked me into eating a petrified piece of dog excrement when I was only five years old.  Although I was traumatized as a child I can now see the humor in the “incident”.  Perhaps that humor comes with the foreshadowing of future revenge but we are family and it is divine to forgive.  (nobody said anything about forget)

It is my brother’s birthday today.  I awoke thinking of this day as his pilgrimage into his 50th year.  The common lines of the happy birthday song didn’t seem to do justice to our relationship and this new version flooded my brain at 7:00 am.

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you.

You’re one terrific brother,

but you made me eat poo.

I can only hope he finds as much humor and enjoyment in our gnarled family tree as I do.  From root to tip we are certainly an odd bunch, but I wouldn’t to hang from any other tree!

Happy birthday Jamie!!  Love you.  xx