That phrase stared back at me from the WordPress page. I hadn’t stopped to think about what really is on my mind lately. Though I do try not to preach or be overly maudlin in my posts, sometimes I fall into a rut that sounds whinny even to me. To those readers under fifty years of age, life is not all about looking back. To those over fifty, well, you probably get what I’m saying.
I always put on Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving; it’s in my truck, my house, my phone. There is no escaping it if you are spending time with me. That said, I do try to vary the selection from Burl Ives to Kenny Chesney with lots of instrumentals and choirs mixed in. Most people around me become deaf to it after a few days. But each song either reminds me of where I have been for the past fifty-odd holidays, or sparks me on to think of new adventures for future dates.
I was futzing around in my bathroom the other night and when I wandered back to Lex in the livingroom it occurred to me that my less than sparkly mood lately was probably attributed to living too much in the past and resisting change. I love my bathroom, it’s knotty pine paneled with a massive claw-footed old tub. The walls are lined with photos and portraits of family; many date back to my childhood. I looked at Lex, in all her glorious, rebelliousness of twenty-five and was struck by the fact that I have surrounded myself with views of the past me when I should be focusing on the new and future me. It’s not about who I was or what I have done, it’s about what I am doing right now and who I will be.
Lex’s visit was eye-opening in so many ways. I found I had to put down the immediate, ingrained “mom” responses and think about who she has become. The first weekend with she and her buddy Kathryn taught me about lasting friendships in today’s world of instant messages. Going back to my high school reunion highlighted that you can renew those bonds after so many years of no communication – it just happens a bit more slowly. I envied those classmates who had stayed in touch. They were the ones who worked so hard to find everyone and make it happen.
I have forgotten that youth really is about having the innocence of not knowing what is to come, and the faith to trust it will be wonderful. As children, hopefully, we had that wonder and boundless imagination. Somewhere turning a corner in age, we looked back and wished things were like the “good old days”; whether that means last Christmas or thirty years ago…we lost the faith to just trust that wonderful was to be found in the future. In the process of moving through the years, we began to believe the notion that the best was behind us.
Not all of us, perhaps, but the self-help section of the bookstore would be pretty empty if it wasn’t true for many. Looking back on just the past twelve months, I have done things I never imagined, from beekeeping to publishing a book and writing this blog five days a week. I have met creative, happy people who don’t drive expensive cars, though many could afford it, or live lavish lifestyles. The ingenuity and joy with which these folks pursue life is a very powerful force. They are doing what they want and are happy. OK, I’m getting preachy here.
What is on my mind is how to bring this faith in the future back to my life, first and foremost, on a more consistent basis. Then, maybe, find a way to be a tiny catalyst for those around me.
If not, I can always just drive them crazy with “All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan,” followed the classic David Bowie and Bing Crosby duet of “The Little Drummer Boy.”