Monday, September 26, 2011

Late Bloomer

Sometimes I wonder if it’s human nature to wonder what you might have been.  When I was growing up in the 70’s most of us didn’t have the big dreams that today’s generation seem to have been born with.  We wanted a house, a decent job, and to marry the captain of the football team and live happily ever after -  which is exactly what I did.  I’ve never regretted it but part of me always wonders what I would have done had I been born 30 years later, or what I would have become had I been born with tons of confidence and ambition back then. 
I’m always kind of in awe of people who have focus.  They take a single minded approach to things and seem to know exactly what they want.  All they have to do is go for it.  Then there people like me who just can’t seem to figure it out at all.  So I flutter from one interest to another looking for that magical something that will grab me and hook me in.  So far?  Nada.  I’ve taken cello lessons, gone to dance classes and learned to paint.  I can converse in very limited French and should I ever move to Quebec I could have a great conversation with an 18 month old, providing he or she hadn’t moved past the gesturing and grunting phase.  Last year, I tried rock climbing, which I actually enjoyed.  But when the instructor shifted the focus from the climb to reaching the top I shut down.  I never reached it to the top, which is somehow both sad and appropriate.  At this point I should probably mention the fact that I’m about to turn 50 and time is a –wastin’. 
Everyone has their scary age and 50 is mine.  Turning 40 was mildly annoying but turning 50 brings it to a whole new level.  Life begins at 40, or so the saying goes.  But even if that’s true, does it still hold true that it’s definitely over at 50?  What if, like me, you are approaching 50 and haven’t figured it out yet?  Are you then supposed to just give up whatever dream it is that has sustained you this far?  Do you keep trying, or do you just start planting fall bulbs and wearing boxy shirts and supportive shoes?   If 40 is the new 30, is 50 the new 40? 
People always say “It’s funny.  I’m getting older but I feel exactly the same on the inside.”  Do you though?  I want to ask.  Because I do and I don’t.  I still want to make it as a writer some day and I like to believe that I haven’t yet reached my ‘sell by date’ in that respect.  Of course having said that, I haven’t yet been published but neither have I given up.  But I am tired by 10:00 at night.  I don’t handle alcohol very well and if I should imbibe in more than my usual limit of two drinks I feel it well into the following week.  An exciting night for me involves a glass of red wine, a good movie and popcorn with just the right amount of buttery goodness.  I tend to prefer books to people and quiet to crowds.  I am always astonished that my daughter is only getting ready for a night on the town when I’ve happily settled into my pyjamas.  So am I getting older or just more boring?  And where does it go from here? 
Having said all this though I admit that I think I still look pretty good.  Not in a Real Housewife kind of way, in a real way.  I’ve got style, my style.  I prefer jeans and combat boots or ballet flats to heels, although now and then sporting a little black dress and a pair of patent leather Mary Jane’s with a 3 inch heel will work wonders for the ego.  I’ve got a hairdresser who keeps me looking hip and a group of friends who range in age from 21 to 70.  So in this respect I do feel the same.  I am still me.  And the people in my life can see it.  Past the fine lines and softening jawline, they see the me that doesn’t change.  The one that always feels the same on the inside. 
I’m hoping that someday this inner me will figure it all out and find something I can stick with.  In the meantime I’ve got a husband who loves me and three kids who think I’m great.  I could look at it this way.  If I had peaked in my 30’s maybe I’d be on the decline by now.  Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m still looking forward instead of back.  Who knows? Maybe this writing thing will pan out after all.  In the meantime, there’s a ceramics class I want to take.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


An acquaintance of mine posted something on Facebook the other day that has me thinking.  It was something like 'don't make someone a priority who considers you an option'.   It stuck with me and I started evaluating the relationships I have with the people in my life.  My friends and so-called friends.  Friend is a word that is bandied about without much thought.  But really what constitutes a good friend?  Is it someone you can count on?  Someone who always tells the truth?  Someone you want to emulate?  Someone you just party with on occasion?
I guess that every friendship I have fills a need.  But there isn't one, aside from my husband, that fills all of them. I have found that very few friendships last after the honeymoon phase.  That time where you are asking questions, conversing at length and generally taking the measure of the person to see whether or not you're compatible.  Once the fireworks are over the relationship settles into certain categories:  Occasional coffee, evening strolls, vent sessions, comic relief, shoulder to cry on, kindred spirit or sparring partner.  Assigning a niche doesn't determine how close the friendship is.  In fact I'm not sure what does.  It comes down to connection I suppose.  That and what you are willing to put up with to maintain the friendship.
My oldest friend and I have known each other since we were 15 years old.  We've shared all of life's major moments and yet   I would be hard pressed to say that I've ever told her the truth. We've never had an argument for the simple reason that it would likely be the end of the friendship or at the very least change it's status.  Oddly enough I have another friend who I can tell the truth, can argue with and make up with if necessary.  We have a very strong connection and yet this person will go for long periods of time without making any kind of contact whatsoever.  I never know where I stand for sure and maybe that's part of the draw.
I think what it all comes down to is the basic need for acceptance and validation.  We are all looking for our counterpart, a mirror image in psyche that allows us to be okay in our own minds.  Because if we like them and they're alright we must be alright too.
The thing is once you let someone in they have the power to hurt you and therein lies the rub.  Perhaps that is why I can list more acquaintances than friends and why I have trouble telling some of my friends what I really think or how I really feel.  Rejection is a bitch.  The way I see it we only have two choices.  To take the chance or not.  There are times when I wish I wouldn't have bothered.  I've had to break a few friendships off and it's not pleasant.  But for the friends I have who truly get me and like me anyway it's all worth it.  

Altered State

These images are from a project called The Little Black Book.  It seems to me that whether you are trying for content or not in art it's always there.  Sometimes the art comes first, sometimes the idea. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paper Junkie

I am a book person.  That isn't so unusual.  If you're reading this you are likely a book person too.  So you won't find it weird when I tell you that on occasion I have been known to buy a book for reasons other than a cracking good read.  Sometimes it's the title, sometimes it's the cover and sometimes it's the paper.
There is something about a weighty paper with a deckled edge that adds to the mystique of a brand new hardback.  The ragged edges are akin to  Dickensian tales of woe or ghost stories that keep you up at night with eyes wide open in the dark; wondering whether or not the thing you heard was only the wind.   A Victorian Gothic printed on plain white stock, shiny and pristine,  just isn't as appealing as a hefty tome enveloped in lovely mottled end papers.

Paper junkies like myself are a sensory bunch.  We appreciate the properly foxed pages of an old atlas, the smell of a 'hot off the presses' print and the feel of a handmade journal.  We enter bookstores and sniff the air inhaling the scent of ink on the page. We read and we write.  And ,if we're honest, hope against hope that one day our own words will be wrapped up in thick paper sandwiched between hard covers.  At least I do.

It seems ironic that someone who has such affection for paper would use a medium that is paperless.  But then again the reason any of us write a word is because we have something to say.  In a certain twist of logic this virtual venue makes me and my words real.   So I will write and offer up a morsel or two, a poem now and then, some food for thought and hope that it will matter.  Come back and see me.