I sat here thinking of a blog post and decided to use the material at hand. One year ago, I wrote in my journal:
First day of the rest of my life not being employed by SeaChange. Day has dawned bright but cloudy after last night’s storm. The East coast was slammed but we were only drowned in rain and buffeted by strong winds.
Zanne and I are off to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to work out the details of the holiday party I’m planning for my last hurrah as president of NIRI.
In 2009 I was flying to Arizona. It would be my last visit with my mother after she had fallen and began her descent into delirium. The day before I had fought through a difficult day in the office. One of my analysts had downgraded my company’s stock and it traded over a million shares that day, mostly in 40,000 share blocks. A bad sign as investors jumped ship. I’d spent twelve hours putting out proverbial fires on the phone and through email.
November of 2005 was tumultuous as well. Lexie, Hanni and I had moved to New Hampshire and were living in chaos as we renovated the house. By November it was finally done and we were settling in to life on the back side of the mountain. I was traveling constantly and the girls were on their own, probably too much of the time.
In 1994 I wrote: This house is in an uproar. We are camping out as the kitchen floor is being sanded and refinished. Jeffrey’s new professional stove is not hooked up yet, the painter is working his way through the first floor and the carpets are due this week. It will be wonderful when it’s all done, but now with kids and dogs underfoot it is a war zone.
Thirty-one years ago I had just arrived back in the U.S. from Jakarta. I felt like a foreigner in my country after years of living overseas. Life moved very quickly around me as if I were a rock in the middle of a swift stream. It took many months to feel myself again.
In my memoir, I chronicled two monumental Novembers. In 1980 I arrived in Jakarta and wrote the following:
Monday morning , and as the rest of the world goes off to work, I settle down to contemplate how I will fill my day. The weekend lifted my spirits, I was surrounded by people who spoke English and got out to see the city and surrounding area. Jakarta offers more to do than any place I have live in the past. Roger and I ate out all three nights at various folks’ homes and one very elegant restaurant. I began my search for a house and toured roughly fifteen possibilities, though only one struck me as being just what we want. Unfortunately, this one house may already be taken, so I am still in the market. Yesterday, we took a drive up to Punchak Pass. It is a beautiful area in the mountains to escape the heat and smog of the city. I realize it was somewhat lost on me, as I am not yet fed up with city life, but I still felt awed by the beauty of it.
My question at the moment is the type of women I have met and how I will function within this social framework. No one seems stifled by their roles in life of wives and mothers. Perhaps the guilt that drives me to do something and seek a career is a feeling I will never learn to overcome. It seems so hypocritical to take advantage of the abundance of domestic help and yet use one’s free time for something so frivolous as golf or bridge. I am anxious to be settled enough to continue my writing.
In November of 1978 I wrote to my mother from Trinidad about arriving in my new home:
The smells are so strange: spicy, burning garbage and rotting vegetation. My initial picture of what our house would be on a tropical island was far from reality…
As of yet, I can’t understand anyone here, though it’s supposed to be English they are speaking. It is a musical bird-like sound all run together with a heavy British accent and lots of local slang.
The little moments, the things we take note of, and hopefully find a scrap of paper or a camera to record the scene, make up the larger fabric of our lives. There is no way to know where you will be at this moment next year, or in ten years. What I am finding most comforting, is change is survivable; it brings opportunities for knowledge and growth. And nothing is as bad in retrospect; the bad fades, but the good remains a happy memory.
4 comments on “Journey Back in Time”
I’m hoping you’re right about that because right now the changes in my life are feeling a little overwhelming. Actually I know you’re right, I just need reminding sometimes 🙂
Your journals and letters provide you with a wonderful chance to go back in time and compare specific dates. Most people can only to that for ‘special occasions’, holidays, birthdays and the like. And the truth is if we don’t write down our feelings or thoughts, we can never really compare them. We can’t see how we’ve grown or changed and will probably never remember the little things. I think it really is a special gift you’ve given yourself!
Thanks Laura, everyone can do it, I’m glad my mother pushed me to do it from an early age, but truth is that after only a few months or a year, it can make a difference in your perspective on life.