Okay, maybe I AM a morning person. Because here I sit, wide awake, listening to the wind and staring out the window and pondering the meaning of life before the sun comes up. Or maybe it’s not that deep. Maybe I just have to pee, but I’m too cozy to leave this bed.
Just when I think I don’t like something, I find myself loving it. I’ve self-proclaimed a lot of stuff over the years (more so recently than ever…is that old age doing a tap dance on my soul?), but maybe proclaiming things doesn’t actually mean they’re true. We have a president who proves that shit daily. Oops…politics. Ah fuck it. He sucks. But THAT has been covered ad nauseam.
I remember wanting to change the world when I was a kid. In 3rd grade, I told my mom that I wanted to be a nuclear physicist. I actually did. It then became a cute story to tell at cocktail parties. For the record, I am not a nuclear physicist. I have some new readers out there and I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone in case they had a question about science. Two days ago I thought dusty water was urine. I may not be qualified to answer science questions.
Roadkill bothered me so much when I was in elementary school that I swore I would never drive a car. Roadkill still bothers me, but I’m pretty happy in my FJ Cruiser. I do swerve to keep from hitting butterflies though, so I feel I’m doing my part.
In high school I told mom I wanted to be a white, female Martin Luther King Jr (I feel I should apologize to anyone I may have just offended… but I was a weird kid. My heart was in the right place though.), and she got it. I still wanted to change the world.
I wanted. Wanted. But did I act? On a personal level, I think so. I’m pretty good with paying it forward. I’m a good listener and a decent human. But globally, changing the world wasn’t my calling. Was it because I didn’t have the right direction? No Academy Award Winning Football Coach Movie type mentors? Or was I just lazy? Or was it because I got swept up in doing what others told me I should do? Promises and lies and then motherhood. Dark times that called for survival mode. Then motherhood again. And a career. Funny how much time those two things take up. Would I change any of that? Not for all the tea in China. Which is a really dumb saying. Does China have all the tea? Is it good tea? If so, I think I’d still rather have coffee. Or concert tickets. Or jewelry. I really like jewelry. Or money. Honestly, SO many other things. Anyway, the bottom line is that I love being a mom, so I’m good with how my life turned out.
But what about now? I’m only a mom in the academic sense. I have pictures of my kids all over the place, I answer the phone when they call, and I think my advice is still valuable to them. But I’m not fixing anyone’s lunches or driving anyone to school or staying up late baking cupcakes or taking anyone’s temperature. I am, very officially, an Empty Nester.
I’ve spent the last year and a half happily globe-trotting (so far, my “globe” has been confined to half a dozen states…but I’m dusting off my passport!) while still touching base with motherhood and career. I’ve been writing as often as I can. I may have abandoned my most recent dreams of becoming a pilot or a beekeeper (okay, I still may do the beekeeper thing some day), so the big question is, “What now?”.
I’m going to interrupt this blog to state that I really dislike M. Night Shyamalan. I realize this might seem random, but stay with me. Every time I have watched one of his movies, I have been drawn in from the beginning. Interesting, spell-binding, edge-of-your-seat movies. Plot lines so compelling that I refrain from purchasing my favorite Coke/Cherry ICEE because I don’t want to have to take a bathroom break. And then, like movie-Viagra wearing off, it ends flat. Limp. Sad. No bang. At all. And I’m angry every single time. He put all that energy into making that movie and couldn’t bother coming up with a decent ending. I feel as if he ran out of steam after putting in all that effort and was like, “Fuck it. I’m done. Howard, you finish it. Yeah, I realize you’re just a coffee barista. I’m going to go for a nap. No, really, whatever you want. My name is cool, so people will come see it regardless of how stupid the ending is. Seriously, you watch.” And watch we did. Every damn time. I want to boycott his movies, but instead I think I’ll just leave 10 minutes before it ends. I can grab a Coke/Cherry ICEE on the way out the door, add some vodka, and come up with my own damn ending.
The reason for that interruption was about me realizing why his movies end the way they do. He got up in the morning and was on fire. He grabbed the perfect cup of coffee from Howard and sat in front of his favorite window and opened his laptop and began tapping away at the keys in a way that writers do when their brains are so full that there’s a very real possibility some may leak out of their ears. And then, squirrel. Or sunrise. Or the nagging thoughts about the day’s “to-do” list. Or the need to pee. Whatever. The spell is broken. And now, taking a moment to drain the last sip of coffee and stretch, he feels the need for a nap.
This is what happens to me. I’m on a roll. I have an idea. I actually do have a beginning, middle and end in my head. But somewhere in the middle, I begin to ramble. I use up much needed energy going a few different directions. And then, yawn… stretch… squirrel. Sunrise. I am fighting the urge to nap. I want to get the end down on paper. Screen. Whatever. Hang in there.
There’s a bird chirping outside the window. Silly bird. Doesn’t he realize it’s winter? If he doesn’t, he will in a few hours.
Lately, I have found myself surrounded by people in their 30’s. Well-educated, well-read, well-spoken, they are all energetic, passionate, driven, and many of them actually ARE changing the world. I love their energy. I love how they point me in directions, show me things, grab my hand and take me places. I am experiencing so many new things that I feel (internally) like a 20 year old. I have a sense of wonder I haven’t felt since I was a child. And here’s something I have learned – if you THINK you have an open mind, you might not. Does that make sense? If you have had the actual thought, “I have an open mind”, then ask yourself why you had that thought. You just defined yourself, and by doing that, closed your mind. We spend so much time looking for ourselves that we quit looking at others. Our world becomes smaller and smaller without us even realizing it. I feel guilty that I’m not contributing in the ways I thought I would. For a moment, I am their peer. And then I realize that I am old enough to be their mother.
My roommate is a comedian. She introduced me to a man who uses comedy to deal with some really awful stuff. He was so funny my face hurt from laughing. And yet, it really was awful stuff. Is that what makes the funniest people so funny? Trauma? We had a conversation about that. How some of the funniest stuff is born of personal tragedy, health issues and bad relationships. Any woman who has had her heart broken should realize that she just helped contribute to the world of comedy.
These days, I am a passenger. And I am releasing the guilt. I watch and listen, and while I am not participating in the way I dreamed I would, I can still help. I may not be changing the world. But I can write about those who are.