It is inevitable, this aging process. Just when we have a handle on what we want and where we are going, not to mention how we are doing things, it seems as though the rug starts to get pulled out from under us. Eye sight wanes in dim light. Racing the dog isn’t exactly fair anymore as you lose half a step on the dog. And when did the chairs start to sink down once you get settled in?
I knew I would get old, well it was either that or die young. The problem with dying young is that you leave so many things left undone. Sure I know getting old isn’t a picnic. I can see it because Beloved is going down the path of aging more quickly than I am. Or rather I should say he has a bit of a head-start on this path compared to myself!
What I wouldn’t give for a bit of that strength, that flexibility and quickness with my maturity. But of course that can’t be, there has to be a compromise. In order to gain maturity and dare I say a bit of wisdom we must part with the recklessness of youth. Perhaps it is that parting with our younger, more flexible, stronger selves that gives us wisdom.
I mean me at twenty would never have bothered to find creative ways to get things off the floor and I doubt Beloved would have been any different either. But now, now he has the wisdom to use the four-footed one to pick things up (if only she’d bring them back when she was supposed to). Of course he has also found the wisdom in really stretching out your toes to use them. He claims it’s all part of using more of his brain power to find new ways to do things.
I wonder what I will acquire as I get older, what wisdom would come my way or will I still be too immature to be granted any of that type of wisdom?
I was standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change, watching the traffic go by to pass the time. Some of the vehicles zipped by as if they were on the way to something important and others made their way at a more practical speed. Now and then the odd car would create a gap in the traffic as it was traveling just a bit slower than the practical ones. (It was a long light and I was bored.)
The light changed, signaling it was safe for me to make my way across and with a great deal more caution than I would have shown in my youth I began the trip. Caution was a good thing as an in-a-hurry car decided to chance the light and try to dart around myself and one other person in the crosswalk.
You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes? Yeah, that didn’t happen, however I did feel a breeze pass before me. No it wasn’t my soul leaving my body, rather it was the wind created by the speeding car. The other person in the crosswalk with me was an elderly person. Using a walker. She told me that she felt her entire life pass before her as the car just about hit us both.
We made it across the street to find a police officer waiting for us, to see if we were harmed. And to see if we happened to catch any information like the plate number of the car. The funny thing is, time sort of did slow down, but where the car was concerned, it’s just a rather blurry bit of blue.
My father used to love something called a hot messy sandwich. It was basically two slices of bread with a huge chunk of something like meatloaf stuck between the bread. The whole thing was then covered in hot gravy. He called it heaven. I recall thinking it was the most disgusting thing invented. (Of course as I got out more, I realized we have lots of disgusting things. It became my scale of disgusting measurements once I came to that realization.)
The thing is, life is a bit like that hot messy sandwich my father used to enjoy. It has some good stuff sandwiched in between the mundane or ordinary stuff. Those special moments we all have from time to time become the gravy covering everything else. If we allow ourselves to let those moments soak in.
Most of us, or rather me, tend to notice where the gravy is lacking. A spot was missed here or perhaps the gravy person was a bit light in giving us any. We forget to that the gravy soaks into the bread. Sometimes, when we think we have been cheated on the gravy, it turns out that the person ladling it out made a tiny puddle on the plate first and then stuck our sandwich into that puddle. So naturally we don’t see that until we get to that side of the bread. We also struggle to accept that we got the same amount of gravy as the person next to us, it’s just displayed differently.
My father never ate his hot messy sandwich fast. He used to eat it slowly. in part to avoid becoming messy himself. And also because he said that if you rushed eating it, you missed the good pieces where the gravy really soaked into the bread. Perhaps that’s the key to life, savoring those moments that are gravy, not getting mad when it seems like we don’t have as much gravy as others because we may just have a puddle of gravy we haven’t found yet.
Fine lines fanned out from his eyes, which still crinkled into incredible pools of happy brown. They always reminded me of warm coffee, even though he’d prefer to call it warm, melting chocolate. Time had barely marked him, and it was a wonder.
I hadn’t seen him in something like 5 years and the last time was while I was passing through an airport. But today, today he had made a point to come and see me. One last time, he said with that lopsided grin of his as he held out his arms. Somehow, despite the different paths our lives had taken us down, I still fit comfortably into those arms, which were still strong, yet now yielding a little.
Not that I was looking for a new set of arms to run into all the time, but dear old friends who were once so much more deserve a hug. When I stepped back and looked at him, I was struck by how he seemed so much the same as the boy who used to walk me across campus all those years ago. And the last time I saw him, those 5 years back, he had seemed the same as way back when.
It was the slight limp, the grimace of pain that let me know he hadn’t gotten this far in life unscathed exactly. His wife and pushed him onto the plane and insisted he take his “farewell tour” as he put it. A chance to say goodbye, let people know what they mean to him and explain things. Except I didn’t need nor want an explanation from him. I just wanted to have a chance to talk one last time, say goodbye properly and ask him to save a space for me when he got to where he was going.
He made no promises, but then again, he never was one for that anyway. Instead he just gave me that grin and told me that somehow he doubted we’d be going to the same place. Of course he doesn’t know the half of what I have done or not done. And I don’t think he’s going to be toasting marshmallows on the next part of his journey, perhaps cooling his heels a little, but he isn’t bound to an eternal flame. I’m not sure most folks really are. Just as I’m not so sure most folks are bound for robes and clouds. But then again, I won’t know until I get to where ever it is I’m going.
I found my spirit animal in a news story. It appears that somewhere in is crazy world there is an opossum who’s basically my spirit animal. You see this creature broke into a bakery and spent the night gorging on pastries. He was discovered the next morning passed out among the baked goods.
And you see that would completely be me. I’d break into a bakery and just eat myself silly, get caught and not even care while as happily in my food coma of sorts. Of course once the food wore off is be super annoyed. So why don’t I do it?
Well for one, I’m not someone who does well with oodles of authority and rules. And secondly, breaking into places sounds like too much work. Yes I know the reward is pastries, but is it enough of a reward for the effort required and the potential consequences? Perhaps it is better to simply let my spirit animal take the glory and the potential consequences.
As an added bonus, if I simply live is moment through my spirit animal my hips won’t suffer the consequences of too many pastries, which in turn would make it that much harder to break into another bakery and get the good stuff.
I was thinking I probably didn’t stand a change, not even a faint one when I see him leaning against a podium. But nothing ventured is nothing gained as they say and so with a deep breath and a fluttering heart I made my way to where he was. I prayed the words would somehow come to me during that painful walk to where he stood.
Instead he turned and smiled my way and asked me where I was going and by that point, I had no way of knowing where it was going or where I was going other than hopefully to some more time with him. Years kind of slip by when you are lost in just trying to hold on while a man who isn’t used to driving starts driving. I still don’t know where I am, not really, but I’m somewhere with him some of the time.
And while I may not think that he belongs in the wild blue yonder, I know he need to be there. In order to get back to me, from where he has been, Until he needs to leave again. And if you had told me this would be my life years earlier, I would have laughed at you. I may not have even bothered with making my way to him. But you never can tell where any one thing or person will take you and if you are open to the adventure, there are many that are sure to be found. Even those that include the wild blue yonder.
I meant to get a head start on marking today. Honestly, I did. But the four-footed one wanted to go for a longer walk today. And there were so many paw prints to sniff (the four-footed one did the sniffing, not I).
I meant to get lunches made in advance, but when I came home there was a huge pile of marking sitting there, silently judging me and making me feel guilty. I know, I had meant to do it earlier but the four-footed on prevented that from happening.
I meant to not rush out of the house like a bat heading out a dusk for a good feed. But I had to make lunches because I didn’t get them made in advance. I didn’t get them made in advance because there was marking to do. Marking which I had meant to do earlier, but the four-footed one required attention and a walk.
I meant to do a lot of things, I really did. But life got in the way. Some of it was good, and some of it wasn’t all that great, but I had intentions. I just missed on the follow through. Or is it that one carefully placed domino got knocked down and all that I had meant to get done failed to be done. And all that I meant to do now sits there, above me, making me feel less somehow. I have failed, I am a failure. I am guilty of not following through. But I wouldn’t change it, not for a moment. Because time with the four-footed one is so precious, and she is so curious. Who am I to curb that curiosity or deny her simple pleasures? Who am I to put unfair restrictions on her need to roam and explore? And who am I to tell myself I’m a failure simply because I missed something?