The In-Between

Malheur Bière Brut

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years, a strange time. You are not yet finished with 2011 and you can’t wait to say good-bye but New Year’s Eve is not in sight just quite yet. It’s always been a long week for me. In our town, it’s nice and quiet, people go away for the holidays; the town has lots of parking, the streets are empty; it’s a quiet, gentler period of time. Personally, it’s a struggle. I remember the last Christmas we had with my dad many years ago, when he went into the hospital and how he died on New Year’s Eve, a day before my parents’ wedding anniversary. It’s not a memory that will ever fade in emotion or intensity.

For many years now I’ve tried to say goodbye to the old year, hoping, wishing, EXPECTING the New Year to be better. Not any more. As I’ve gotten older it just seems to be a pattern that happens every year. There are NO long bouts of happiness, there may not be long bouts of depression, but there are problems, pretty much, all the time. When you have a day that is problem free, celebrate.

A lesson for us who are no longer young, but older middle-aged ( I refuse to say OLD) is that we need to accept that our lives have changed permanently. I talk about this with my friends. For some of us it’s being in the sandwich generation, having children and parents (or parent in my case) needing, deserving more attention and care. It’s scary every direction we look. We are responsible for our own children, now independent teenagers and our parents who are no longer as independent as they once were.

How can we look forward when we have no control over our lives? If I had to list the one thing that worries me most it would be the unknown, how life can change drastically in one second, for the worse. We have no control over anything, and the only way I can deal with that is not to deal with it at all. You have to try to live your life to the fullest every day, be thankful when there is a good day, ride the waves, bend with the wind. I don’t like the feeling of uncertainty and I know many others don’t either; we have no choice. We must try hard not to focus on it, remain engaged in things and people we love. Stay in the moment. Every moment.

So lift a glass of champagne or orange juice, chocolate milk or wine, for the good times, the ones we should treasure and try to remember. It’s the only way to get by.  To the Best 2012 that’s possible. Cheers!

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Riding The Rough Waves

Good things do happen to good people but sometimes you just have to wait.  I speak from experience, 2 years of physical and emotional hell, and learning old lessons in a new way. From a new outlook, and most importantly, from a new me.  I’m not the person I was 5 years ago, not even 3.  I’m a new person in an old body, and an older soul in the same body.  I am grateful for what I do have. What I don’t have, I probably don’t really need right now; and if I do need it and I don’t have it maybe there’s a reason. I just don’t know what the reason is…….yet.

There are  ALWAYS unfair twists and turns in people’s lives. I don’t have the answer to terrorists or 9/11 or a beautiful baby girl diagnosed with terminable cancer. I’ve learned, however, that we all pay a price in life, nobody goes unscathed. Of course a certain amount of self-indulgence is definitely acceptable.  Why me? Why him? Why us?  There just aren’t answers all the time and part of growing up is the willingness to accept horrible things and still go on. What choice do we have?  We need to learn to ride the waves,  the smooth rippling water and the fierce, crashing undercurrent. There is not one straw that breaks the camel’s back but many, many straws and we need to deal with them, one at a time and probably forever. It’s the way the universe works. Give to it and it will give back to you; maybe not now but sometime in the future.

No one is talking about easy. No one is talking about fun.  It’s your own approach to the world that makes a difference. So, give a little of yourself,  believe that good things will happen and put your energy out there. It may take a good enough amount of time but the last thing you want to do is give up. Play “The Smile Game’ when you feel the most miserable, cranky, depressed or disgusted, smile broadly (even when you don’t feel like it)  go out and see what happens. I KNOW you don’t want to do it, I didn’t either but try (please).  You’d be surprised. People really do react to what they see, we all do.Give a little of yourself to the world, to a child, to a charity and say hello to the universe and to the angels, smiling.

Life is short and it’s a game; sometimes it’s only a crap shoot, other times you have more control.  Believe in something, anything, your G-d, your Buddha, “The Sound of Music” the smell of new cars, Ben and Jerry’s,  Jimmy Choos or for me,  Merrell clogs  While you are on the this good earth, give of yourself, your love, your hope, your time, your gratitude, your patience.  As long as you take the steps to believe in yourself and give to others, you’re more than halfway there.  Welcome home.

for Roland who has helped me, even when the waves were really rough and for Doc who taught me that there were always more straws to break. I thank you.