Monday, April 1, 2019

Better Late Than Never




Sometimes it takes awhile to finish a thing you start. But that’s no reason to give up.

Forty years ago, in my guitar playing era, I often wrote lyrics and then tucked the penciled pages away in a blue cloth covered binder. Last year, in a brave reflective moment, I revisited the frayed/faded notebook that holds my old attempts at lyrical poetic expression and realized that it’s symbolic and represents how it’s always been with me - I write/compose to find out what I think. Whether in poetry, prose or lyrics, I’m just trying to figure things out - including myself. Sometimes after I corral some thoughts in written word I say, “Wow, did not see that coming!”

Full disclosure, I’ve never claimed to be good at anything, or equal to anyone else, least of all on a professional level. I’m the quintessential jack-legged amateur so if nothing else, I should be an inspiration to anyone who just wants to create as though no one else is ever going to see or hear and for no other reason than for the sake of doing it without fear of falling short or needing to be ‘as good as’ anyone else’s standards. 

Life does not have to be a constant competition/striving to be best of best. I’ve never known who was officially appointed to establish that criteria anyway so I’ve always chosen to focus only on competing with my own personal best or otherwise be forced to just shut down completely. But where’s the fruit in that? 

What’s the point of a life unlived for fear of being judged to be less than perfect? 

What is perfect, btw? 

So, having worked in earnest on this one piece in particular off and on for the last year,  I’m now ready to share ‘Seasons’ which is actually the culmination of 40+ years of composition, recording, stopping, adding to, deleting, giving up on and then finally getting to the place where I’m not totally ashamed to let it out into the universe. 

Though I was so much younger when I started this, my kids still small and the future looming as a great unknown, yet I knew, even then, it was really an older mother’s song. Now, a lifetime of seasons later, it means much more to me in ways I could never have understood when I wrote it so long ago. And those three small kids are now older than I was then and have their own accumulated seasons to reflect on. Time moves on relentlessly.

I confess it was torture when I had to give up my guitar because of aging hands but then I found a spark of renewed joy in a little ukulele and now I also have access to digital technology that did not exist 40 years ago.  Therefore, as late as this is, I’m grateful and relieved that I now can claim - I did it - even as I can blame it all on the ukulele.

And, yes, I understand it’s not prime time quality but that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be. 

Meema says, “Do it anyway, with everything you’ve got and, whatever it is, it will be enough.”

and…

Meema says, “A thing done late is way better than never because never is so limiting.” 

For Him,

Meema

Monday, February 25, 2019

Randomness



Been mulling over some things brought to my attention last week. Trying to make sense of it all.

I’ll just toss them out and you draw your own conclusions.

One:

A friend of mine, who cleans houses, and does elder care, relayed to me a recent  disturbing personal experience. On a referral, she went to an upscale house to meet with a potential client. She had been told the couple was British and was excited because she has lived in the UK and still has relatives there.

Turned out the couple was actually East Indian and had, in fact, lived in the UK but migrated to the US because, as the woman explained, “My husband is an engineer and they pay peanuts in the UK.” 

But then, she went on to complain about the US, almost to the point of ranting that, “America should be socialist like the rest of the world!”

In the short time my friend was there, she also learned that the woman had nothing good to say about American culture and how people go from marriage to marriage, and bragged, with noticeable arrogance, that hers was an arranged marriage.

My friend listened graciously, employing great reserve and just smiled and nodded through the tirade. She had already decided this wasn’t going to be a job she wanted when she agreed to do a cursory walk through to determine her fee. 

Her decision was officially sealed when she walked into the master bath. Apparently this couple doesn’t use toilet paper. 

Two:

In spite of being cynical and ever on guard for scams, I got sucked in to a good one. Live and learn.

There is an ongoing fight in our community to stop the development of hundreds of acres by a well known religious cult. Those of us who live in this sleepy rural suburb, are somewhat up in arms over the real and present danger.

Unfortunately, I let my guard down and, having read there was a petition to sign in opposition on Facebook,  I hit the link and navigated around in the Change dot Org site without doing my usual due diligence. I do admit my spidey sense was aroused when I hit the ‘Sign Here’ button and was instantly taken to another task that said, “Almost done - now just give us permission to access your Google mail contacts.” 

Nope, I said.

This weighed on me for a day and so I decided to do some research. Apparently, Change dot Org is not what it appears to be. For one thing it is not non-profit as the ‘.org’ url implies, but also it makes its millions principally by harvesting contacts to sell to advertisers.

More importantly, the petitions, no matter how many people have signed, never get to the ones whose decisions might be impacted by such collective unity. 

Three:

While navigating around in my local Sam’s, that is currently under renovation, I was growing frustrated because everything was moved around and I couldn’t find a certain product that was the main reason I had gone to Sam’s that day. 

An older gentleman was handing out samples and I stopped to ask him if he might possibly know where the product I had spent way too much time looking for had been moved to. He sympathized with my angst and we fell into a discussion of the growing issues of having to deal with constant CHANGE in our old age. I may or may not have let loose on the absurdity of ongoing change for change’s sake in the digital age. He nodded with a pragmatic sadness. 

As we commiserated over this strange new virtual world we live in, he confided that all the employees had been required to put an app on their phones. He said he wasn’t sure what it was for but that he suspected it was a tracking devise. 

The times they are a changing. For better or for worse though?

Four:

My grandson, who is a wealth of nickel knowledge, informed me that Gucci trains all its employees to be rude and arrogant to the customers who come into their stores. Apparently the object is to project the concept that in order to be worthy to buy and use the products that bear the Gucci name, you have to prove yourself.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

For Him,
Meema

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Promises Kept



Thirty-three years ago, today, we stood in front of an officiant and spoke some promises out loud. In that euphoric moment we weren’t exactly ignoring the  daunting challenges that awaited our return to real life, but we were determined that whatever was ahead for our new union, we could make it work because we both really wanted it to.

Today, in the comfort of this secure moment, three plus decades hence, in the soft glow of retrospect and distinct advantage point of knowing the ending, I’m glad I didn’t have a crystal ball in the beginning to reveal the future. I’m ever so grateful that I couldn’t see there were going to be some trying days ahead. Some teeth-rattling bumps, all sorts of sacrifices, ongoing compromises, occasional forks in the road, and pinnacle moments loaded with angst-filled choices to make. Not a few tough obligations that would strain the limits of any starry-eyed promises. 

Here, with all the testing years mostly behind us, I can declare, joyfully, it was all more than worth it.  

But what if…? 

What if I had known, in advance, that it wasn’t going to be a beach walk?  l might have said no to the proposal to marry. I might have erred on the side of remaining in the frying pan I already knew, instead of leaping into what could be the actual fire.

[I’ll have to take a sip of coffee on that thought and give serious gratitude an opportunity to flow from my brain to my toes.]

It does, after all, take a large measure of faith to merge your whole life with someone else, even with nothing but green lights ahead and within the most optimal circumstances. But I swallow hard at the thought of what I would have missed. While I can’t possibly say what might have happened to me had I not stepped out in faith, I do know what I likely would not have experienced.

The list is long and consists of things measurable/definable and things not so easy to explain with mere words.

[First can we establish that the noun ‘hero’ is subjective?]

How do you quantify the ways someone else is there for you, day in and day out, in the biggest and smallest of ways? How do you measure the value of being so grateful to someone else’s commitment to you that you are made better for your eagerness to reciprocate? To be the confidant, the best friend, the encourager, the partner, through all the best and worst, to desire to give back in the same way the other gives to you? 

[Now can we establish that the only true definition of the noun ‘love’ is people willing to find out and then give, each to the other, what the other needs to feel loved?]

Full disclosure, I know the one I made promises to all those years ago, my hero, is just a man. No cape, no super powers. But he has qualities that are actually somewhat more practical than being able to leap over tall buildings. For one thing, he shows up, every day and does what needs to be done. He keeps promises, sometimes before he even makes them, and yet, amazingly, never expects praise or credit. He just does.

He can often have high expectations from others but that’s because he thinks anyone should know what he knows and be able to do what he does so he doesn’t expect more from others than he does from himself.

True, he can be ornery, and stumbles sometimes, like humans do. But his uncompromising integrity, his willingness to step up and hold up the heavy end, his compassion for others, his keen sense that what matters is his people, not his things, these are the characteristics that define and declare his hero status for me.

I could also toss in that he has the uncanny power to make me belly laugh, even still. 

Hindsight, reflecting on the learning curves from the past, can be a valuable tool for making better decisions in the now. Who doesn’t need to pay attention to past unfortunate choices? But it can also be a call to acknowledge one’s blessings. 

Once a year, for the last thirty-three years, and counting, I look back and marvel at how blessed I am, how thankful to have made that impulsive, scary choice to speak, out loud, promises to the one who had more to lose than I did. 

I know him so well, I’m pretty sure he feels exactly the same. 

For Him,

Meema