June 7th, Saturday

It’s early, I was up before 6:30 this morning.  So much on my mind.

Foremost this:  what is it that the Universe is trying to tell me?  What am I supposed to be waiting for?

Lately, it seems that no matter what I try, how hard I try, there is no success.

I believe, I really do, that things happen for a reason.  That if something is meant to be, it will be.

A good friend always tells me that I didn’t get whatever I was aiming for because there is something else, something better waiting for me.

I am seriously beginning to doubt that.

I know I have skills, experience, talent, enthusiasm, drive and determination.  I present well.  People seem to like me, seem to admire my work.

Not enough to give me the job, though.

It’s embarrassing and a little demoralizing. It makes me doubt myself. Makes me wonder if it’s because I’m OLD.

I’m in my mid-50’s.  I don’t feel OLD. I still feel pretty good.

Sure, I don’t have the vast stores of energy I once did, and I often find myself thinking that it’s okay to just let things slide, because I’m so conscious of time and that it’s starting to run out.

I think about my grandkids. They’re 9, going-to-be 7 in a few days and going-to-be 5 in a few months. Another 10 years and they’re going to be young adults. I’ll be in my mid-60’s then.

Will I still be chasing pavement then? Will I still have this sense of having not accomplished enough? Will I still be seeking validation?

It’s not a great way to wake up on a sunny Saturday morning.

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April 22nd

Day 113 – I was dragging my butt around all day because I had such an awesome weekend.  The mind thinks it’s 25 years old still, but the body is sayin’ it just ain’t so.  Ah well, I had fun and that’s what matters.

Gotta get back, gotta get back. . .

Some words borrowed from The Who.

That’s really dating me, I’m afraid.

I can just imagine some younger readers going The Who who?

But, I won’t be going there.  This is not a post about old rock and roll bands.

This is a post about old me.

Although, really, I’m not old.

But, man!  Was I ever starting to act like I was!

For a couple of years now I’ve been kind of free-wheeling in place, not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going.

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve really been doing some stock-taking, some re-evaluation, some soul-searching, some trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with what’s left of my life.

And, I’ve decided I need to get back.

Back to a place inside myself where creativity once reigned supreme.

I used to pride myself on my ability to creatively problem solve.  If we didn’t have the money for something (which was quite often) I could usually come up with some way to find it.  I thought outside the box.  It was normal.

As time progressed and money became less of an issue I began to find it easier to just buy whatever it was I/we needed.

Not creative.

Well, maybe a little.  Because, I always look to get the absolute best deal I possibly can — and that can require some small measure of creativity.

There’s another word for that, I know.  Cheap. I prefer frugal.

It sounds more creative.

However, I need to get back to what I was saying.  About getting back.  Getting back to a part of myself that I’d abandoned.

About a week ago I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how she sees herself doing something entirely different from what she is currently doing.

She envisions herself as being a motivator.  Talking to others, giving them inspiration.

And I know, that if anyone can do this, my friend can.  She inspires me.

And, after I got off the phone I started thinking:  where do I see myself in 20 years time?

Sitting in front of a TV?  With knitting or crocheting?  Waiting for a phone call from my son or my grandchildren?  Waiting for the community senior’s bus to pick me up so I can go play cards or do a jigsaw puzzle?

I was horrified.  This is not what I had ever imagined for myself.

No, the future I had imagined long ago, in the time before marriage and children and grandchildren was something entirely different.

I saw myself as an adventurer, a photographer, a writer.  I saw myself as living in a place that nurtured me and inspired me and fed me.

Somewhere along the way that vision was altered.

And, not for one minute do I regret the alteration.

I have had a wonderful life up to this point.

Marriage, family, grandchildren, love in abundance.

A beautiful home, a great job, money to pay my bills and afford a few luxuries.

But, now, as time seems to slip and slide around me and I become daily more aware of the preciousness of it, I’m beginning to wonder.

Shouldn’t I be doing more with my life?  Shouldn’t I be trying to live as creatively and beautifully as I possibly can in the years left before me?

Because, really, how many are there left?

As my favorite sister and brother-in-law pointed out to us this weekend it could all end in a moment.

You could step into the shower feeling strong and healthy and then, as you step out, have your heart falter and fail.

All chances to live better, live to your potential, live with creativity– gone.

And how you are going to be remembered is who you were when you stepped into that shower.

Maybe you wanted to be someone different.  Someone who ran marathons.  Someone who wrote poetry and read it aloud in small coffee shops.  Someone who painted.  Someone who took singing lessons. Or swimming lessons. Or bungee jumped.  Or sailed around the world.

We all have dreams.  We all dream that we can do and be so much more than who we really are.

Very few of us ever actually pursue those dreams.

Because doing that takes conviction and creativity.

And being creative takes work.  It means always thinking beyond what’s obvious.

It means being willing to take a chance.

It means choosing the road less travelled, risking failure, forsaking ‘normal’.

I don’t know yet what it is exactly I’m going to do, but I do know it’s going to be something great.

I don’t mean great as in President of the United States great (I am Canadian, after all).  I mean great in that it will make me feel great, make me feel as though each day I live has meaning and purpose.

It’s going to be fun and I’m going to do it with joyful abandon.

I’m going to get creative.

I’m going to inspire the people I love most in this life to live their lives the same way.

To their fullest, most creative potential.

That’s something I wouldn’t mind being remembered for.

January 19th

Day 19 — Got a lovely new haircut, feeling like a new woman.  Supper at the Keg to celebrate my brother’s 5oth birthday.  My, we’re all getting old(er)!

November 16 — Remembrance Day Weekend — Part III

Okay, so let’s see.  I left off at the Vauxhall Legion.  We sat around for a bit, talked to some of the ‘old folks’ who knew Wilf and Gerry from when they lived in Retlaw and then headed out to the homestead.

Not that there’s any homestead left.  The land was sold off long ago and all that remains of the old place is a small shed where they used to pump the water.  We found some bits of chain and remnants of old farm equipment, but really nothing left to tell that this is where my husband’s family originated.

It is hauntingly beautiful country, though.  As far as you can see:  gold prairie grasses sighing beneath a sky of palest blue  that’s been brushed ever so lightly with gossamer clouds.  Then, look out across to the south and you can see the Union United Church of Retlaw.  It’s just a plain, white church surrounded by more prairie and a few dilapidated houses.  Barb wire fence runs along the western edge and there’s a big rock sitting just north of the entrance that someone sandblasted with the name and date of establishment.  The rock looks strange, out-of-place.  But it shows that people care.

Enough people cared to renovate and rebuild the old church.  Tim’s, Rick’s and Rob’s parents were two of them.  The inside of the church is quaint.  Very plain.  But beautiful, just the same.  Like the prairies.  I’m not a religious person, though I would say that I am spiritual.  I like going in the church at Retlaw.  It’s comfortable, and I can easily imagine the sense of welcome and comfort that many of the pioneer families must have received when they gathered inside its rough country walls.

The ‘boys’ wandered about a bit, went out to the old graveyard where their great-grandmother is buried.  The graveyard is a couple of miles from the church in the middle of a bald patch of prairie.  There’s a gate to mark the entrance, but no road — you simply drive in across the field and stop an appropriate distance from the first weather-beaten headstone.

Once the tour was complete we headed back to Lethbridge.  We had another wreath to lay at the cemetary where Wilf and Gerry are buried.  By the time we got back to town, everyone was tired.  And hungry.  We decided a snack was in order.  So back to the house we go, where we gobble up a couple of buns, then it’s find some warmer coats because the ever-lovin’ wind has picked up.  The sun is going down and Connie is beginning to fret that we’ll be laying the wreath in the dark.

However. . .

. . . it is determined that we must make a beer run before we can go to the cemetary.  I’m no longer driving, so I don’t care.  Although, I’m with Connie as for laying a wreath in the dark in a cemetary with gale-force winds and the threat of snow in the air.  Eventually, we arrive at the gravesite and we all pile out and head over to where Wilf and Gerry lie.  It’s freezing, our teeth are chattering.  We apologize to Wilf for being so late and in such a hurry.  We know he’ll understand, though, because these are his boys, after all, and he grew up here in the south, where the wind never seems to stop.

Back at the house we make plans for dinner, but Connie and I decide we need a nap first.  We leave the boys to have a beer and play with Rick’s blood pressure machine.

Yes, you read that right.  Blood pressure machine.  They’d started playing with it the night before, right after Tim and I arrived.  They’d tell a joke, then check their blood pressure.  Have a beer, check the pressure.  Watch TV for ten minutes, check again.  Kids.  Connie said that come Saturday night, when there was a party for Rick and 3 of his friends who had all turned 60 that year, the blood pressure machine would have to be hidden away.  We could just imagine it becoming the most interesting ‘game’ of the night.

All that checking of blood pressure’s, however, bore some fruit.  Rick became so alarmed at how high my husband’s blood pressure was (I’ve been trying to get him to see a doctor about it for a couple of years) that he dragged him to his doctor on Friday morning and Tim got some medication.  Now the trick is for Tim to actually take it and get to his own doctor for a check-up.

They don’t like to admit that they’re not 20 or even 30 anymore.  Tim and Rob are in their 50’s while Rick is now 60.  Watching them goof around and play their silly tricks on one another, listening to them laugh I couldn’t help feeling a little wistful.  Where has the time gone?  My God, it seems like only yesterday when our kids were all small.  We were piling them into vehicles and taking them up to Beauvais to go fishing and spend a day at Connie’s parent’s cabin.  We, meaning Connie, Kelly and myself would be annoyed as hell with the guys for drinking too much, making too much noise and taking off for hours without letting us know where they were going or what they were doing.  They’d pile into the boat and take off and you could hear their laughter clear across the lake.

Through all the dramas over the years, the heartbreak, the joys, the arguments, all the little moments that have made and joined our lives — the sound of Larson boys laughing is one sound that binds us all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Well, it’s the official start of the 2nd week of the new year.  It feels like the 2nd month! 

What happens to time as we get older?  There just seems to be so much less of it the older I get.  No matter how organized I try to be, how much I try to simplify my life, how much prioritizing and goal setting I attempt it just all gets away from me and I’m left rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off. 

I’m up (or try to be up) every day at 5 a.m. so that I can get some writing done.  I’m lucky if I get a few scratches down in my journals and manage to post to this blog once or twice a week.  Where does that time go?  I know that I’m not just sitting staring, slack-jawed into space because I can feel my heart racing as I anticipate the day ahead of me. 

It seems that I am perpetually living in the future.  As I write this I am already in the middle of February contemplating the Family Day weekend.  I have already been to Calgary on Feb. 4th and 5th and am wondering when, exactly when, it will be that I have time to go looking for the new vehicle I need.  Spring Break is coming up — at the end of March — maybe there’ll be some free time then.

Time is a very tricky entity.  When we were kids it moved so slowly and leisurely it drove us nuts.  We, who wanted to move at a lightning pace couldn’t stand it — we were forever lamenting that things took so long.  Then, one day, I can’t exactly say when it happens, time catches up with us.  For a brief time we live ‘in the moment’. 

Everything is beautifully synchronized — we can manage every detail of our lives and our kids lives and work and manage a home and have fun and it’s all so good and we think we’re on top of the world and nobody has ever been so totally in control of their life as we are at that illusory moment in time. 

And then. . .

it passes.  Time speeds past us and we’re left spinning in its wake wondering just what on earth has happened to our ability to manage our lives.  In my 50’s now, I am constantly playing catch-up.  I get up earlier in the morning than I ever dreamed I would.  Ten years ago had someone told me I’d be getting up at this time every day to write, work, take care of house work, send emails, check Facebook, journal — you name it — I’d have said they were crazy. 

As a kid, or, even as a young adult, I can remember sleeping in til 10 or 11 o’clock on a weekend, getting up and managing to accomplish all sorts of things and still having time to just ‘be’.  To sleep in past 8 o’clock on  a weekend seems utterly irresponsible now.  How could I possibly, when I have so much that needs doing and so little time to do it in? 

I actually find it depressing to admit that I am often in bed by 10:30 on a Saturday night — but if I’m not I don’t have the energy to get up and try to wrestle my next day into submission.  Any ‘spare’ time that I might delude myself I have, time that I might like to sit and read a book in, or take up crocheting again in, or pursue my photography hobby in, is generally taken up by all the stuff that has somehow managed to get away from me.  If I want to do any of those things I have to schedule them in, or worse cheat myself and deliberately play hookie from all my other obligations.  And then where does that leave me?  Scrambling to find more time to try and make up for lost time.  Forget about just ‘being’! 

Anyway. . .

as I sit here trying to get this rambling thought down semi-coherently I’m beginning to worry about what time it is, because I still have to go get on the treadmill, have a shower, make lunch, change the laundry.  .  .

Enjoy your day, make the most of your time — it really does go by in a heartbeat.