I know I am not the only one over 70 finding myself walking away from a task then failing to come back to finish it. Or, finding myself standing in a room and wondering why I am there. But I have stopped deprecating myself by calling it a senior moment and laughing it off behind a false face.
Make Lemonade and Grow Lilies
Now, I use those moments to make lemonade and grow lilies. I am reframing them: considering them as my messages from my brain telling me to stop horsing around with the irrelevant start focusing on the moment. Yesterday I was in the middle of paring potatoes when a feckless thought flitted across my mind. Like an idiot, I chased after it. Dropped my paring knife and went to my desk to look for the address of an old friend. And found myself wondering what the hell I was doing there.
What I wanted was potatoes for salad within the next half-an-hour, not an address. What a waste of time and energy. But you know, I fell into that habit in my teens. It would take me an hour to accomplish a ten-minute task.Now I don’t have the luxury of time and energy to waste, so my brain teaches me to focus then condense vapid thought into solid accomplishment.
Such experiences are common among the tribe of elders. I have decided to consider these moments to be gifts provide by “the unknown wisdom of life.” For me, it’s an opportunity to dismiss the “monkey mind” of earlier days and concentrate.
We can leverage those moments that are not relevant to what we are doing now. Enjoy the freedom from the unpleasant memories of the past and practice a new skill: engaging in the moment. The western horizon is in sight. Time to stop thinking “over the hill,” and embark on the upward curve. Let’s see how far I can go, how much I can accomplish with the time remaining.
If Wanda the fairy godmother shimmered into my living room, wand at the ready to grant three wishes, the first wish I’d spill is to produce an eight-episode television series from “The Curse of Chalion” by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read this book at least three times a year. It’s my opinion that it’s a masterpiece of world building. The linchpin of this story is the elegantly constructed religion base upon Five Gods: a god for each of four seasons, and a fifth god for chaos. Perhaps chaos misses the mark. The fifth god governs the unexpected the misplaced. When I find my engine idling, I entertain myself by imagining myself as a producer of this show. Oops! Times up! Hit the publish button
The resolution was to post every day without fail as this was my personal record tracking my use of imagination as a means of tracking the third semester of my allotted “four score and ten.” Sigh! I couldn’t manage to string words into a sentence. Once upon a time, somewhere someone stated forcefully “there is no such thing as writer’s block.”
It’s true. I certainly can’t claim writer’s block. I lacked the stamina for noodling through half-baked ideas and pushing limp words into sentences until one morphs into a paragraph.
For seventy-four years, I asked myself “if I don’t write up to my standards, should I write at all?” If one can’t write deathless prose, what is the point of writing at all? Personally speaking, the point of “getting my hands dirty” putting words on paper is that I learn to appreciate good writing. I have certainly stumbled across some great writing that will never appear on the curriculum of a university English. Except for mine of course.
There are books that I read three times for the story then five more times to analyze and admire how the author constructs sentences, or establishes a mood or arcs a small recurring event through the story until it explodes as the turning point of the novel.
Here’s a thought. What fun it might be teaching my own English class, using my own favorite books as a curriculum.
What seems to be, is, to those to whom it seems to be . . . .”
Those words that gave me food for thought this morning. A mind-twister bout seeing what we assume we will see. If we change our assumptions about what we see when we look, will we see differently? I really evaluate my assumptions when it comes to my nearest relative. I see her tinted with my negative feelings about her and my feeling set point is one of exasperated duty that feels more unpleasant than feeling love. Furthermore, I have no desire to feel more appreciative of her. However, I do choose to want feel appreciation for her: that requires changing my assumptions about her, or maybe my assumptions about myself.