aging gracefully, Blog, Love, Marriage, memories

Seasons of Love

 

Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay

Day 273

Maybe it was the post about The Lettermen yesterday or the trigger from a tv show that had me crying yesterday, but for some reason, I am thinking about love in all its splendid glory today.

Entering the autumn of my life I realize my definition of love has changed. Maybe life gives you perspective and it is easier to separate things like love, desire, passion, and longing.

I say ‘I love you’ much easier now than in my youth, but I say it acknowledging there are many different nuances of love. I love my husband, I love my friends and I love my family. When I love you, I have no difficulty saying those three magical words.

Saying ‘I love you’ in our youth carries a weight of response and expectation. I wonder how many books and movie scenes I have witnessed that expose the dangling ‘I love you’ that hangs awaiting a response that never comes.

I remember my first boyfriend. His name was Gordon M. and he was in my first grade class. I still have my class picture and see him and still remember how much I liked him. Of course he had no idea he was my boyfriend — but I knew.

I remember all the loves of my youth. They were each filled with a shy awkwardness and I felt my life would surely disintegrate into nothingness without them. Of course that is the dramatic love of first experiences.

I remember being angry when my parents told me “it’s just puppy love”. It never felt like that to me.

When I was first allowed to date, I remember going to the movies with my boyfriends. These were the times of kissing until my lips hurt and that rush you feel for the very first time. I can still remember some of the movie titles (“Prudence and the Pill” and “Good Neighbor Sam”) but I saw very little of the movies. This was a time of electric excitement.

Then confusion ensues when we start to experience the emotions of love and sex and the ramifications of both. These are the times when real heartbreak makes you feel as if everything you know to be true has been disrupted. Maybe this is when you start to realize that trust is as important as love.

Thinking back to prior marriages, I can see a lot more clearly now than I did then. I understand how longing and love can be confused and I can see clearly that ‘love’, perhaps cannot be enough to sustain a relationship.

Love has gotten easier with age. The goals and desires for companionship are easier, at least from my perspective. I remember well the day hubby and I got married. Before the ceremony, we looked at each other and agreed that if we were not In this for the long haul, then why bother?

There are probably more books, movies, poems, and quotes about love than any other topic. That tells us how powerful it is.

Love does not hurt. It does not cause you pain. Love does not co-exist for very long when anger arrives. Complacency can cause loneliness. Comfortable can have an easiness about it as long as it’s not so comfortable that the feelings dissipate. These things bring an end to marriages. Maybe this is how love dies.

I am a huge fan of Rod McKuen’s poetry. I was sad when he died. He wrote about love in a way that spoke to me. He wrote about the emotions that get confused with love. He wrote about love in the middle and late years of life, which I appreciated so much.

I recently read about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and how controversial it was when first published. People were so offended they burned the book. Publishers refused to print further editions. There were aspects of love and life not to be discussed in the light of day.

I had no idea where this post would go when I started writing. I just know love seems easier now. Not lacking passion, or without feeling. Experience and time make it easier to discern the difference between love and other emotions.

It is also possible that we love ourselves and our life that we no longer feel the need to share our time and space with another person. It takes work, even when it is easy. When my father passed away, my step-mom said she might go out to dinner with other people but she would never wash another man’s underwear.

And there you have it.

On that note, I will go about my day. I try not to fall this deep in thought too often.

Three, by Rod McKuen

You see how easily we fit together,
as if God’s own hand had cradled only us
and this beach town’s population were but two
and this wide bed but a child’s cradle
with room enough left over for presents.

Tomorrow I’ll buy you presents.
Pomegranates and breadsticks,
tickets round the room and back
and red, red roses like everybody buys everybody.

Everybody’s got a diamond ring

And Sunday shoes.

Neckties and petticoats,
pistols and tennis balls.

What pleases you?
I’d hock my watch to buy you Greece
or sell my car to bring you rickshaws from Rangoon.
All they had down at the corner

were poppies with some lemon leaves.

They’ll have to do
till I can bring home Union Square.
I found a twenty-dollar bill when I was ten.
I bought a cardboard circus and a fountain pen
and a jackknife because I never had one before.
My mother thought I’d stolen the money.
I bought her perfume from the dime store,

She believed me then.

I was rich in those days,
for a week I had everything.
I wish I’d known you then.

attitude, Blog, courage, intimacy, Love, trust

“Excavate the Unsaid” – Exploring Vulnerability

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 202

“Excavate the Unsaid” is something Brené Brown said on her Netflix special The Call to Courage.

So many people in my circle are huge Brené Brown fans. They listen to all her Ted Talks and have read all her books. When I turned on Netflix last night, I was going in blind.

Coming off of Kyle Cease’s Love Rising videos, I was prepared for something similar, but I found it quite different. Not good or bad, just different.

I found a number of the things she said to be extremely powerful and were real takeaways for me. Learning not to exploit the pain in the people we love was a big one. This is an easy offensive go-to in the heat of a disagreement with someone you care about. It’s like taking the cheap shot. But I had never considered it as exploiting someone else’s pain. That idea requires some stepping back and taking stock of what we do to people we profess to love.

When someone is in pain, why would we want to hurt them further?

The other takeaway for me was “excavating the unsaid”. She gives a really long example of this from her own life which was enough to make the special worth watching. So often we have a story we create in our heads to explain the behavior of someone else. In many cases, the story we create is not based on anything but our imagination. Why isn’t it easier to simply ask for the truth? When we find truth, we find growth.

Digging deep with each other, especially people important in our lives, is essential in understanding. Being vulnerable is not easy, especially if there is no warm and welcoming place that makes you feel safe in being open and raw. Don’t ask someone to be vulnerable if you are unwilling to accept their vulnerability.

Based on my experience, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable has a lot to do with the gender roles we have learned throughout our lives. Men are not supposed to be vulnerable, but women, being the societal ‘weaker sex’, are often seen as vulnerable.

Brené also talks about the chicken and egg scenario when it comes to trust Versus the ability to be vulnerable.

I am glad I watched. I am not ready to go out and buy her books, but I do value what she shared. Each teacher comes into our lives at just the right time I think. Then it is up to us.

Perhaps we can become addicted to self-help trying to make sense of our lives. For me, I listen for the motivation to effect change in my life. Once I have heard the lesson, it is time to put the lessons learned into action. It will not matter how many teachers you have if you do not apply the lessons to your own life.

I would encourage you to watch The Call to Courage. It is a minimal investment of time and who knows, it might be what you need to hear.

Blog, Love, retirement

Lost and Found – Retirement Edition

Day 151

lost-1605501_1280
Image by JanBaby on Pixabay

Last night I chatted with a couple of friends and we talked about writing short and concise statements surrounding a particular idea. The thought stayed with me most of the day, so I decided to throw together a little Lost and Found department describing what is lost and gained in this prized era of life we call retirement.

Our thoughts and ideas are shaped throughout our lives and we finally reach a plateau where we might be willing to surrender some of the hard-fought concepts of youth for the ideas of gained wisdom and experience.

Work Life

I lost the need to live by an alarm clock.
I lost my corporate wardrobe.
I lost the need to carry an ID around my neck.
I lost someone watching over my shoulder if I Googled anything non-business related.

I found the beauty of waking up naturally.
I found sweats and PJ’s and jeans that go well with hiking boots.
I found that people know who I am because they recognize me.
I found that no one really cares what bizarre things I might Google.

The Human Condition

I lost the need to wear makeup and dye my roots.
I lost the need to worry about being beautiful.
I lost the desire to compete for everything.
I lost gossipping.

I found that I like the way I look and I can wear my hair purple and blue.
I found that I am beautiful inside and out.
I found that I can achieve without taking someone else down.
I found that lifting people up can be very rewarding.

Love, Life, and Laughter

I lost the feeling of angst in relationships.
I lost thinking sexy was something physical.
I lost worrying about the future.
I lost needing to be something to everyone.

I found love can be comfortable and still remarkable.
I found the inside is much sexier than the outside.
I found happiness in experiencing today.
I found I no longer sweat the small stuff, especially if it is not my stuff.

Blog, flowers, Love, nostalgia, rainy day

Random Thoughts on a Sunday

Day 136

It’s late and I decided to just throw out some random thoughts for tonight.

Flowers

I just spoke with some friends about our favorite flowers. Mine is an iris. Flowers bring up a lot of thoughts for me:

  • I always prefer natural planted flowers above cut arrangements.
  • My mother’s favorite flowers were portulaca, bleeding heart, and lilacs.
  • I like orchids and pansies because they look like they contain faces or figures.
  • I miss the yellow tab trees in Florida when all the flowers fall to the ground.

Rainy Days

It’s pouring rain right now. Some random thoughts about rain:

  • I love to walk in a spring drizzle of rain.
  • I love the sound of rain when I sleep.
  • I do not like threatening rain.
  • I remember my grandfather teaching me that when the leaves turned upside down it meant it was going to rain.

Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about love since Valentine’s Day. Some random thoughts:

  • I do not understand why it is so hard to love one another.
  • One should never be fearful of love.
  • Sometimes a bouquet of flowers doesn’t necessarily symbolize love.
  • As children, we used to break milkweed and if it grew back our love was true.

Nostalgic Items

The memory of some things make me smile every time I think of them:

  • Gum wrapper chains
  • Dotted Swiss
  • Marionette shows
  • The TV show Where the Action Is

Dreams

I love thinking back on the things I wanted to be when I grew up:

  • A Breck girl
  • An elevator operator (I thought this was the MOST glamorous job ever!)
  • A diamond cutter
  • An archaeologist

Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday. I want to be happy about the day and not sad.

Blog, loss, Love, memories, mother

Remembering

Day 93

The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”
Frederick Buechner

Today Mom had a beautiful memorial service. Our hearts were touched by those who remembered her so fondly and with such love. We are tired and at a loss but as I told her in her last few days with us, we will be okay. Not the same, but okay.

Tomorrow we go home and I am sure grief will come and go like unexpected rain showers. We will think back about the time before this day and we will remember.

Godspeed, Mama.