The Direction of Choice

There was a time
The universe expanded before me
Choice was a luxury
Youth my companion
Direction meaningless
Lost in the sparkle of the stars

Lately the vastness of that universe
Has shrunk before my eyes
The galaxies of choice
Have turned to
Cold hollow moons
Planets of necessity

Funny how small
My world has become
The luxury of time
Exists on fewer and fewer
Planes of existence
In this world and the next

The choices are not the same
As in the days of
Gauzed-wrapped visions
Candy-sweet dreams
Jobs and friends and goals
Now have razor edges

Options have narrowed
Doors once open
Now request verification
Of paths followed
And stars wished upon
In duplicate form

I can no longer shuffle the cards of
Destiny and Delusion
The games have been chosen
Hands have been dealt
Bets are hedged
The world is keeping score

I must play the hand dealt
Watch the glow of dawn
Twist into curls of dusk
Time no longer my friend
Its shadow the scent of musk
Choice is mine no more

My vision has become blurred
Memories have faded
My heart has been broken
By limitations of my body
And the changing of the guard
As they march into the fog

I never forget my heart
The journey that brought me here
I love and I cherish
I live and I learn
But cannot go back
To the land of never was

Even though hope fades
In the emptiness of dawn
And space of my soul
Reality bounds from the sky
Our star’s blinding glare
Reminding me of the truth

All I need to do is breathe
The universe, the stars
Will point the way
And the world of choice
Will open its doors
Once again.

                   Claudia Anderson, 2013

Why Can’t We Slow Down?

tumblr_ln6ma5pk1i1qkmpj8o1_500Do you ever have times/days/weeks where you are fumbling so out of control you finally have to stand still and say STOP?

I don’t know if it’s a symptom of (self-prescribed) A.D.D., but I constantly find myself in swirling situations where I’m turning and falling and rushing and not finishing.

And I can’t take it.

The other day I dropped something. I bent to pick it up and hit my head against the table leg. Then I stood up and dropped it again. In turning to reach it I swiped all the paperwork off the table and into a raining mess. The raining mess knocked over the stemmed wine glass with a trace of milk still left, breaking the glass and spilling milk all over.

I had to stand still, close my eyes, and count to 10.

Then the reprimand begins.

Who drinks milk out of wine glasses anyway? Why didn’t I just do the dishes and wash the glass when I was finished? Why are all those papers on the table anyway? Why aren’t you paying attention?

One time I was running a little late for work; stepped out of the car in the parking lot and slipped on a slice of ice right next to my door. Those bruises have finally faded.

Why didn’t you leave for work earlier? Didn’t you see that patch of ice when you pulled in the parking space? Don’t you watch where you put your feet when you get out of the car?

It’s like I’m moving through time and space too fast. Keeping up at work and keeping up at home is a non-stop travelogue for me. I find myself forcing myself to slow down. If I don’t, I get bruises from car doors, misplace my glasses and/or keys, lose earrings and other items of jewels — all kinds of stupid things.

Where am I going in such a hurry? What ever happened to stopping to smell the roses? Watch a sunset? Watch fireflies? I know I have to slow down. To think before I do. I’m not as flexible as i was 20 years ago. And I’ll wind up in the hospital if I’m not careful.

It’s just that with (self-prescribed) A.D.D. I feel at times I can’t sit still for 5 minutes. I’m either itching or swinging my leg or flipping through TV channels or snacking. I’m always afraid I’ll be left behind if I don’t get it all done. That I’ll be standing at the end of the driveway waving goodbye to everyone else because I couldn’t get ready on time.

This is especially true because I’m older. Every forgotten thing is Alzheimer’s; every hesitation is senility. Every broken glass is old age; every pain is cancer.

Although I do believe you can’t do everything, be everything to everybody and still keep your sanity, my unconscious mind is trying to prove different. It thinks that if I keep going at 150 mph, I can outrun the grim reaper.

Maybe it’s time for a speeding ticket or two.

 

If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time

tumblr_o4739ljd9n1tp0mqvo1_500I was writing a blog for work today, talking about how music can bring memories of days gone by. And it got me to thinking — if you could turn back the hands of time, what would you change?

I already hear whispers of “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “I love my life just the way it is” or “my scars have made me who I am today.” All of that is good and well, but there is always something we wish we could have done, changed, said.

There are few things I would change about my life. I love where I am, I love my family. Knowing me, I would have loved a different husband, different children, different grandchildren. Love is love. I was not popular in my younger younger years, but I feel my heart has grown into a beautiful maple tree because of that.

But things I would have changed — there are always a few.

I would have gone to college. Back in my day (what a cliche!) half the girls went to college, half got married. Although I didn’t get married I did fall in the second half. Maybe I didn’t have the money at the time. Or the inspiration. But since I’ve always been a writer and an artist, I should have learned more about both. It most likely would have led me down a different career path, but it would have been more of a career and less of a job.

I would have put more effort into saving my bed and breakfast. It was a gorgeous house, a dream come true. I owned it for 7 years, always moving backwards financially instead of forward. Instead of trying to support my end of the upkeep with paying guests, I should have gotten a full-time job and run the B&B on the weekends.

I would have talked to my parents more. I would have asked them about their childhood. Their teens. Their young married years. Who they loved. Who they hated. The hard times. The family problems. The war. Their illnesses. I would not have let their lives be nothing more than spectres dancing in the sunlight.

Hindsight is such a strange bedfellow at times.

It’s not so much living in the past as re-experiencing it. I would still take the hard knocks, but I would savor the sweetness even more. I would have brought the friends I left behind into the future with me. I would right all wrongs, mend all fences, and keep the love the way it used to be.

I would cherish every moment of every day much more than I did when I was younger. I would not, could not change the deaths of those who have gone before me, but I would have made much more of the time we had when they were alive.

If I could turn back the hands of time, I would never have let go of the things that meant the most to me.

But perhaps that’s what the future is for. Never letting go.

 

 

One More Minute…

clock Anyone a member of the 1MM Club?

No, not the 1 Million Mile Club. The 1 More Minute Club.

You know — that time-share world that is almost always self-serving, self-indulgent, and often futile. The club where you think, “one more minute…

I suppose if you are watching the morning weather and stay one more minute to make sure you heard right, and you miss the deer crossing the road at 6:46 a.m. that you would have hit had you not stayed one more minute…, then that’s okay.

I’m talking about those every day happenings you think will matter more if you extend them one more minute.

I am a big one in this Club.

In the shower, forehead pressed against the far shower stall wall, hot water soaking my tired body: staying in the water for one more minute…

Laying in my morning bed, still dark outside, alarm goes off, time to get ready for work: staying in bed for one more minute…

Watching the weather channel in the morning, staying to check the weather for the third time just in case I missed something: watching it just one more minute…

Writing: I’m almost done with this chapter. I’ll just write for one more minute…

Reading: Whether or not I’m really “into” the book, there are just a few more paragraphs until the chapter is over: Let me read for one more minute…

Kids use this excuse all the time. We think nothing of letting them have one more minute of bath time or play time or before-bed time. What’s one minute in the scheme of things? Yet these same parents, these same people, justify their own few minutes by pretending to end it in one more minute…

I know that personal time is in a different dimension from the one we live in. We never have enough time to do the things we love, and way too much time to do the things we don’t. That’s the cosmic way. Kids are never aware of the clock. In their natural state they do things until they’re done doing them. They are done when they are satisfied.

Adults, on the other hands, are mostly slaves of the clock. We have to be. Doctor appointments and trains and time clocks don’t wait.  They know if they give one minute here it will accumulate to hours there.

Who do we think we’re fooling? If we think the situation will be any better one more minute from now, we are usually wrong. For most of us one minute blends into the next into the next. We have lost track of so many one more minute’s that we could fill the space between the stars.

In defense of the members of this Club, though, I have to admit…when I “allow” myself one more minute of whatever, I concentrate and fill that minute with all the enjoyment and cosmicness I possibly can. That hot shower is like fingers massaging my back; that paragraph that I’m writing is the best I’ve ever written. It is so because I crammed hours of enjoyment into a very small amount of time.  And most of the time, it’s worth it.

Just like the minute it took you to read this.

When Is A Holiday Not A Holiday?

grandmaI am beginning to see for myself why older people act and think like they know so much. Why their opinions are so die hard. So know-it-all.

I’m getting to be that way, too.

Sometimes the world seems so stupid. I know that’s a demeaning statement; it’s not fair to the rest of the world who is struggling to make it (just like me). But it’s a blowing-off-steam statement as well. For how many useless things and actions thread through our personal tapestry every day that sidetrack us from getting what we really want?

You know I don’t mean the obvious roadblocks — we all deal with them as they come. I mean the events that can (and should) be avoided that are always haunting us.

Being an “older” sprite, I can see the futility of trying to change a person, of wanting to be a vice president with a high school education, of trying to visit the capitols of Europe on a retiree’s budget. I mean, if you could you would. But some things aren’t meant to be. But instead of accepting what you cannot change (that wonderful adage), people spend hours and days and years trying to do just that.

Maybe it’s just that the older I get, the more roads open up before me. There are lots of roads that are closed, buried in rubble or sunk under the sea. But it’s like the roots of a tree — more sprout out every day. And when I see my friends, my acquaintances, my new found peeps, spending all their tears and energy and lifeforce trying to make it “better”, I get ticked off. For I find beautiful flowers trying to push the boulder out of the way instead of growing around it.

Take Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Big, emotional holidays filled with nostalgia, made-up memories, and TV propaganda. People get so wrapped up in “family” and “being together” for the holidays they lose common sense. Their hearts are broken because A had to work or B got the flu and couldn’t fly in. They dwell in the mist of “this may be XYZ‘s last Thanksgiving with us” or “Why can’t Christmas be like when I was a child?”

Don’t they know that every dinner is Thanksgiving? That every day you open your eyes, take a breath of air, and see the sunshine, is Christmas?

Why do we need a particular day to focus our energy on our friends, our family? A particular day to give gifts, to cook a turkey, or to go to church? A has to work? Get over it! Nurses, waitresses, truck drivers, TONS of people have to work on the days you lay back and sing Christmas carols. B‘s got the flu? Better to stay home and get better than bring the germs cross country to incubate in the stuffing.

The same thing is true about remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other man-created important dates. Maybe I’m biased about remembering these things because my hubby barely remembers those actual dates.  I don’t get flowers or diamonds or fancy dinners on those exact dates. But I’ve got a hubby that’s stuck around for 33 years, and we squeeze in dinners and buy plants in the spring, and it somehow has always worked out.

I don’t judge my life by the rememberance of wedding anniversaries or Christmas presents. I judge it by the times I’ve been able to say “thanks” over a meal, or by the number of sunrises and sunsets we’ve been able to share. I know I’m too old to start a new 9-5 career, but not too old to develop my writing one. I’m too old to play the “if he/she loved me they would ____”  For if he/she really loved you, they would. Period. It could just be that, for some reason, they cannot. And so it is.

I don’t think I’m a hard realist as much as I am an experienced dreamer. I have had dreams shattered, plans never come to fruition, loves lost. As I look through the tunnel backwards, I see how I could have turned a lot of keys sooner. How I wasted years angsting on things I couldn’t change. Things that didn’t matter.

Perhaps that’s what the older generation sees. They wonder why we worry about getting together on the holidays and worry about getting together tomorrow.

And that makes a whole lot more sense to me.

 

Let’s Change Our Work Hours

keep-calm-mondayMonday Monday, can’t trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how could you leave and not take me.    ~Mamas and Papas

 

Monday’s really aren’t that bad, but somehow our culture has psychologically made it the fall guy for all jobs we hate and bills we have to pay.

So I put it out to you — If mankind — or rather the working world — could work their “8 Hour Day” any 8 hours straight they choose, could Monday (or any other day) be still successful — and less stressful?

I will use myself as a shining example. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself to be a night owl. Or rather my body thinks it’s a night owl. I love the evening, the night — I could stay up until 1-2 a.m., windows open, music, writing, folding laundry, whatever the calling.

I also could sleep in until 8 or 9 a.m. every day after that, too.

So why couldn’t I punch a time clock at 11 am and punch out at  7 pm? Or some mornings punch in at 9 am and get out at 5 pm? Or punch in at 1 p.m. and scoot at 9 pm?

I know — first off you say I should get a second shift job. I don’t think they do my kind of advertising work at night.

I know — you also will say that companies can’t have people coming and going all the time; that their utilities would have to be on 24/7, which would cost more money to them, and less to me. Well, my household utilities are often on 24/7 — or 21/10 anyway, so it’s time for companies to join the millennium.

I want to be able to wake up with the birds when I want or sleep until they’re at their noon siesta. I want to wake up and see it’s raining and turn over and sleep a few more hours. I want the freedom to wake up peppy and prepped or sluggish and sluggy, and have both be an okay start for the day.

I suppose it’s one of those wasted daydreams like what I’d do if I won the lottery or lost 50 pounds. But I live on daydreams. I dance with the Arts, with the Muses, with the Dreamers and the Philosophers. Free thinking is a blessing, a gift, and a burden. Rather to carry that burden than others that exist around me.

But back to the flexible schedule. I suppose the truth is that I’d push the start time further and further back until I was working the night shift. Which is time to go to bed. Guess it is all just a continuous Celtic Knot with me at the center.

I suppose retirement is the only out for me. Or lots of half-days off. Or winning the lottery. My best chance is the last one.

Got a dollar?

 

 

Friday Night Cheesy Whine

tim+allenBEFORE WHINE

This Friday post is mostly for writers, although you of any and all skills can identify.

Yesterday was a pretty crummy day. You know crummies — nothing in particular, but a dozen things coming and going that make you say “I quit for the day.”

I was driving home from work; a lovely stretch of countryside between my work town and home town. Four great  90 degree turns, each one hosting a different view; cornstalks five feet taller than me (which isn’t saying much), no one on the road. It was a slow, steady rain. I was taking it rather slow and steady, too.

A few things happened on this familiar trek; someone driving on the wrong side of the road, a few animals dashing from one side of the road to the other; weird things. The pavement glistened softly, reminding me of my double-rollover last November. People driving on the road who usually never take this route.

You know how a creative mind wanders. Suddenly I had this great idea for a story.  A first-person narrative about driving and getting stuck driving the same four turns and all that sci fi eerie stuff. I embellished it and worked on it all the way home.

The sad thing is, I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to write it. And I don’t think it’s ever as good as when it’s fresh in the mind.

Last night was family, tonight shopping, tomorrow family party — there’s a Sunday Art blog I want/need to get done by Sunday, things I ABSOLUTELY have to get done around the house — when is there time for writing? I don’t often write short stories any more, so when this idea hit me it was like a breath of fresh air. Yet now the air is stale, and before you know it I’ll forget the punchline. I’m already forgetting peaks that once made me excited — it’s like overthinking something. Your original idea is not always what you wind up doing.

I hear you saying, “Just Make Time!” But sometimes that’s just not possible. I’ve been fighting/working with sleep issues lately, so I can’t just go in my bedroom at 9 and write. And if I have to make a choice, prime time with my grandbaby supersedes writing a great story.

I’m sure these things happen with painters and graphic designers and everyone who enjoys being creative.  Maybe I have my priorities upside down. Maybe I need to find that time-travel hourglass thingy Hermione used in one of the Harry Potter movies (so she could take two classes at the same time).

Maybe I should just give upyadda yadda blah blah yadda blablah……

AFTER WHINE

Sat down Friday evening after dinner with the family, the boys played video games (even grandbaby), pregnant mom just relaxed, I pulled out my computer, and finished my story.

SOOOOOO

The moral of the story is: write out your whine, get it out of your system, then shut up and write/paint/draw.

As my hero  Jason Nesbith from Galaxy Quest says — Never Give up — Never surrender!