Birthday Wishes

Cinderellacakecandles

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Birthdays were so exciting when I was younger.  Getting older was somehow an achievement, and I suppose it was, depending on how many risks were taken, or accidents met and survived the previous year.

Celebrating someone for their birthday is a wonderful time for connection, reflection, and, especially, festivity!

Time’s passage is tough the older I get because I want to keep the problems of the relatively young and not get any problems of aging.  Too bad, I know.  Perspective is a perk as time moves on, as well as caring less about how I’m received, but this ship of life I’m sailing leaves a wider berth the further I get from port, leaving some things smaller, although not less significant, as they recede and I travel on.

Even though I often feel that I’ve not accomplished anything, or much of what I wish I had done, I have traveled.  I won a ten-day tour of Switzerland, with a side trip to Liechtenstein.  I made it to Australia, where I stayed with my childhood pen-pal, and her family, and we met each other’s children (child in my case), and saw lots of Victoria, including a day in Melbourne, hiking in the Dandenong Mountain Ranges, a rain forest walk in the Yarra ranges, and a gorgeous trip down the Great Ocean Road, ending in Warrnembool, and the site of the Twelve Apostles rock formations, during our stay.

I’ve driven through or visited at least half of the United States, including Hawaii, but not Alaska. I’ve been to Canada, and Mexico, though not extensively in either country.  I brought my son to Ireland for his high school graduation present, but really because I’d wanted to go my whole life and that justified the expense well enough – or at least, it did – until I just wrote that.

Pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, was the last big journey I took, a gift that I’ve not well repaid seeing as I’m now an atheistic-leaning agnostic.

I’ve climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty, back when you could do that, and have been on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, when it was free. (It’s hard to believe that anyone would pay $57 for the dubious privilege nowadays).

Contentment with my lot is the message I try to embrace, but my adventurous spirit doesn’t understand that sentiment.  There are so many more places to see, things to do, and the beautiful aspects of life on Earth that I’ll never have again.

As long as I can get through the rough patches, the pain, suffering, and challenges we all endure, and hopefully, surmount,  I will add more sweet than bitter to each year that I’m graced with, have more meaningful time with those I like and love, and be glad for what’s been given.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Consequences

My task is learning to deal with negative reactions. A while ago I heard ‘Mean Tweets’ on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and the horrible things people say about and to celebrities, and how those celebrities deal with that. Mostly they made fun of it, and humor is a great way to diffuse that kind of derision. Writing or speaking publicly about my life experience, and negative fall-out, is best handled by ignoring those comments, but if I want a dialogue, I need to respond, and be thoughtful about how I do that.

I have differences of opinion all the time, and do my best to be respectful, and kind – even if I feel the opposite at the time. I’ve had shared experiences with family and with friends, and we didn’t incorporate events the same way, but trying to invalidate my position with ad hominems or other aspersions only shows their lack of credibility.

Being liked and well-regarded matters to me, but speaking my truth is more important. Accepting the consequences is hard, but I’m not shutting up. They are as free to not read or listen to me, as I am to disregard their opinions.

In the 1980’s, when child sexual abuse was nationally disclosed by Oprah Winfrey, I’m sure she had backlash from family and from strangers. Then ‘false memory syndrome’ was coined by some asinine psychologist, and then applied to anyone who disclosed childhood abuse as an adult.

Sometimes traumatic events get blocked because your psyche cannot cope, and because all energy must go somewhere, that trauma ‘leaked’ or manifested in other ways, be it mental illness, or self-harming behavior. I think most people compartmentalize their trauma and get on with their lives, but triggering events happen eventually, or something brings it front & center, like a major illness, or mental break-down, forcing them to work through it, or face sometimes dire repercussions.

My goal is contentment, and serenity, and working through my issues is the only way I know to get there, regardless of how messy that might be, and if my words help anyone in similar circumstances, then it’s worth not shutting up.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Not Just A River In Egypt

No to the creaky knees, no to the aching joints.  What the hell is my problem, I think.  I am not that old!  I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when I’m really old – do I even want to make it that far if I’m already in daily pain?  Wtf?

I’m in denial.  Aging is a slow progression.  You don’t wake up one day ‘old’.  How the fuck would that be?  No, you get to hurt slowly, like a mild torture device that can be full throttle any time.

The problems begin to add up.  Oh, your eyes aren’t seeing so well anymore, and you ignore it, it’s temporary.  Soon, though, you begrudgingly get the dollar reading glasses, because why are you going to pay very much for this bullshit condition? – and you know you’ll lose them eventually…

Oh, you can still drop it low, my friend.  The twenty year olds have nothing on you – until the day that dropping it low causes a twinge that you have a hard time getting back up from, so you sort of slide into what you hope is a cool-looking dance move, and then, oh, you’re just too hot to keep dancing.  Hot flashes have descended (ascended?), and it’s only 11:30, still another hour & a half before you can go home with a modicum of youthful dignity.

The girls want to do another shot?  Ha, ha.  OK, sure.  Let’s drink to partying forever – hell, yeah! – oops – mine spilled, ha, ha.  Oh, well, that’s fine.  I had a shot while y’all were dancin’, and I’m feelin’ fine!  Wooo, hooo!  Because, if I had had another shot, my whole day would have been ruined, and I know I’m not going to sleep much anyway, because – idk – thanks Obama?

I feel like the chaperone more and more, and I’ve probably been looked at like one for far longer than I realized.  This isn’t about them, anyway.  They have their own shit to contend with – their young shit, which I am honestly grateful to not be in the midst of anymore – but here I am with a new set of sucky life issues to navigate.

I don’t want to be old or get old, but the only way to prevent it is to die, and I’m not ready for that yet either.

Whatever ‘god’ worked this design out is an idiot.  Hopefully he was fired and a woman was put on the job so the men can start evolving with all the hell we’ve had to endure, oh, sorry, continue to endure.

I do all the things that I can afford to not age.  If it weren’t a psychosis, there wouldn’t be a thousand products on the market promising to keep or make us younger.  I really don’t think they made all those anti-aging formulas just for me.  Those companies know I’m broke.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Marie and Me

Stepping out onto the front porch, I visualize Marie sitting on the old wood-slatted metal glider.

She came back East to see some family, and help her brother struggling with issues Marie had dealt with before.  I had moved in with her and her husband in California when my son was a toddler, spending two years in San Diego, and when I knew I couldn’t make it out there, I came home to Massachusetts, where I’ve been ever since.

Marie spent an overnight with me up here – us falling into the easy friendship we’ve had since the fifth grade – but I also saw us with fresh eyes too.  She and I went through so much together, and we’ll always be soul-sisters, but I saw our differences, and somewhat prefer my idealized version of her.

Those differences haven’t ruined our bond, but I see how much I’ve changed from the inexperienced young woman I was to who I am now.  It shouldn’t have affected me so much – it’s simply that we’ve matured differently, even if our essential selves are intact – but I felt a loss – of innocence perhaps? – of youth?

Maybe her presence emphasized time’s passage, and what we can never get back, or never attain, but also, that I like who I am, that I’m comfortable with my beliefs, or lack thereof, and mostly of where life has led me.  I can’t do anything about what I didn’t accomplish; I can only do the best with whatever time I have left.

Remembering the sweetest times of our visit, driving to the old farmhouse where she lived when we first met, as well as the house I lived in by the railroad tracks, both laughing and tearing up as we pondered the past.

I didn’t know that my dearest memory would be of her sitting on the porch glider that bright summer morning, the humid air sticking exposed skin to the seat, us breathing in the heady scent of honeysuckle wafting on the scant breezes, saying how nice it was at the same time, with me winning the first to tap her arm and say ‘owe me a Coke’.

 

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Where Do I Go From Here?

If I could design my life, I’d live somewhere on Cape Cod.  Brewster, maybe, or Eastham, or Chatham.  Clearly, money wouldn’t be an issue.

I’d live in a two bedroom cottage.  Something simple, and easy to clean.

A few examples are:

 

Being by the sea has always been a draw for me, and being in a sweet cottage or house would be wonderful.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current