I have a million things that need doing today. This wasn’t even on my list, but it won’t leave my head until I make it a reality.
A couple of weeks ago, asking Liz to get me a glass of iced tea while I was doing some sewing led to a conversation about my few years growing up in Atlanta, Georgia and West Monroe, Louisiana. That led to telling her about the heart-throb of 8th grade, Michael Mann, and how, when we moved the summer after, I cried halfway back to Washington state in the back of a station wagon filled with 4 siblings, a collie, and not even one seatbelt, all because we’d left Michael behind, even though we ran in way different junior-high circles and my only contact with him was when our families got together for dinner and I’d try to sit across the table, hoping someone would ask him anything to make him talk so I could look into those gorgeous brown eyes without seeming the fool (whew, is it getting warm in here?).
Anyhow, that led to my telling Liz about the truly important person in my life that year…my beautiful, red-headed, best friend, Kristy, which led to a frenzied search for my 8th grade yearbook because I couldn’t remember Kristy’s last name, which led to Liz and I laughing at the clothes and hair of 1971 8th graders (and pausing for a moment of silence at the picture of the class officers, featuring President Michael Mann).
While I got back to my sewing, Liz did some internet sleuthing, which soon led to me sending a friend-request to a beautiful, all-grown-up version of my 8th grade, best-friend’s yearbook picture. I doubted she’d even remember me, but was secretly hopeful she would, with the help of my maiden name, which is a part of my Facebook name. Hope changed to delight the next morning when I found this in my inbox: “Are you Christine Johnson who lived in West Monroe back in the 70’s?!” I was! I mean, I am!
That evening, Kristy and I spent time on Facebook, messaging each other with life-updates. It was fun to reconnect! Soon after, she posted a few pictures.
Not just because it’s silly…after all, what else could you call a picture of two fourteen-year-old girls, sitting in a driveway in rural Louisiana, testing out the theory that they could blow bubbles through the hole of their 45 without ruining the record? Who does that? (I’ll tell you who does that; girls with lots of 45’s, first of all! I can’t speak for Kristy, but I had a huge, treasured, collection growing up. I remember equating babysitting hours with how many 45’s I could buy the next day. Three hours of babysitting could buy me a couple of records, if I got them on sale, but only after I’d raised my babysitting rates from 35 cents to 50 cents an hour. That was a tough thing to do; after all, I’d practically be making, in two hours, what used to take me three…would I lose my babysitting customers to some young start-up willing to do it for 40 cents an hour?)
Do you know who else blows bubbles through record holes? Anyone who believes that anything and everything is worth trying (as long as there isn’t the likelihood it’ll end with an ambulance ride to the hospital or a police car ride to jail); anyone who asks why not, instead of why; anyone full of possibility.
At some point, on this fall day in West Monroe, Louisiana, one of us suggested to the other that we attempt this silly thing. And the response must have been some version of “Why not?”, because it happened. (How do I know it was fall? At least one tree in the background is beginning to change color and lose its leaves, Kristy (the native) is wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, while I (the native Washingtonian) am barefoot, in shorts and tank-top (I cropped the picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it))
This picture speaks to me of possibility and whimsy and how easy it is to forget about them. At this stage, I want that kind of possibility in my life. I want to do things on a whim. I want the first words out of my mouth to be, “Why not?”. Our nest is empty (nine months out of the year, anyhow). The word “downsizing” has left our lips. I don’t mind an empty nest, but I don’t want an empty life. I don’t mind downsizing where we live, but I don’t want to downsize how or why we live.
Possibility is here for the taking…not over there, but right here! All we have to do is look for it, explore it, feel it, and then live it. It’s not rocket science! But sometimes I forget to look, feel, explore, and live. Sometimes today looks just like yesterday, which reminds me of last week, which kind of resembles last month, and, oh, look, Christmas is nearly here again…how did that happen?
I read an article that says one of the reasons time seems to go faster as we get older is because of the lack of firsts. It’s the “been there, done that” syndrome. The markers in our life are frequent for awhile. Turning 10 years old was a big one for me, followed by 13, then 16, 18, 21, 25 (married), 28 (first child born). Then what? We move, change jobs, and before you know it, 20, 30 or 40 years have passed. It’s probably part of the reason first-borns tend to have more pictures than the other kids (don’t yell at me, I know we’re busier with each addition to the family, but come on…if I can admit it, you can, too).
I have decided I need a reminder to look for the possibility in each day. Ever since Kristy posted the bubble-blowing picture, I’ve looked at it at least once a day, because it makes me happy, and because it helps me remember what possibility looks like. So I searched the internet for what I felt was just the right quote, and turned the picture into a personal motivational poster. I’m going to get it printed at the local copy shop, frame it, and then hang it.
No rules…unconditional opportunity…open arms…endless possibility…what a way to live!
Peace to all, and carpe diem!