“I want my Mommy!!!”

Okay, I’m 64 years old. Okay, my mom passed away over 21 years ago. And okay, my mom was not the nurturing type. But nonetheless, I still have these moments now and again.

I started physical therapy for my shoulder, after 4 months of still having harboring pain from dislocating it in May. My chiropractor has been working the shoulder bones every two weeks when I see him, but this pain was not in my shoulder but down my arm. I’d thought briefly about PT and when I asked Dr. Craig, that was his suggestion as well. Luckily, I found a place just 3 doors up from my doctor’s office, very convenient for traveling to and from. And my insurance covers the cost with no copay there, so that’s a bonus.

I went into this expecting it to be painful. It is at times, but not critically so. My problem lies in the fact that all of the exercises I need to do except one require use of my arms, and I have zero arm strength! I mean, sometimes I have to use both hands/arms to carry a heavy garbage bag out zero. I bag my own groceries heavily because I don’t want to make a bunch of trips to the car for retrieval, but I’m almost stopping twice on the steps (a total of 6) to put the bags down and shake my arms.

The first week – the second appointment of the week – had some major repercussions. I got put on a rowing machine (to me, it’s more like bicycling with your hands) for 4 minutes forwards and then 4 minutes backwards. It didn’t take long for my arms to tire. With just over 2 minutes left, I was ready to give up. I was drenched in sweat and breathing heavily and hurting far more than I wanted to. But I just reminded myself of “The Biggest Loser” on TV when I watched it and how the trainers demanded people keep going when they were sure they couldn’t do it anymore. So I pushed through the pain and finished. I immediately dropped my arms and they were like Jell-O and shaking, but I’d made it through!

That was my last exercise. I had one errand to run on the way home, picking up a prescription at the drive-thru of my pharmacy, and I was exhausted and plopped into my recliner. I wasn’t sitting there long until I started to ache from one shoulder to the other and up my neck. It was intense enough that I quickly grabbed the freeze cream and applied it liberally, washed my hands and then popped three ibuprofen. Back to the recliner.

Of course, the ibuprofen needed time to kick in. But the freeze cream did nothing! I hurt so badly that I could have cried, only I didn’t want to waste the energy to do it. And one thought traveled through my mind: I want my mommy! My logical brain knew that, not only was that impossible, but if it were possible, it wouldn’t do any good. But I still wanted her!

As I thought about it, trying to take my mind off the pain, I realized I wanted a June Cleaver or Carol Brady mom, one who would coddle me and promise me it would get better.

My curiosity peaked further… As children, we somehow instinctively know that our moms’ job is to take care of us, just like our dads’ job is to protect us. This is not a lesson we’re taught; it’s somehow innate in our minds. That fascinates me! We talk about how much our environment shapes us, including our mindset, and I agree that’s true – but only to an extent. I use the example of my mom’s siblings to explain – one was a (recovered) alcoholic and another was a preacher, yet they both lived in the same household and grew up with the same parents. They were also the oldest and the second oldest, so there wasn’t a big span of time in which their environments would have changed drastically, one to the next.

Anyhow, back to the subject… It fascinates me that we have these mental intuitions and that we are, perhaps, born with them? Anyone have any insight on that?

And, am I the only one who still has “I want my Mommy!!” moments?

Dress Rehearsals

I read the words that became the title of this post in another blog in a different context. But those two simple words gave me a sudden insight into how and where my mind wanders more often than not, and I feel the need to explore that.

Whenever I have my just ‘sit and rest’ breaks, which are happening with more frequency since I started physical therapy for my shoulder which makes me even more tired, I prop my feet up on the recliner and just close my eyes to rest. This is the time when I work to clear my mind of things that make me stressed and just let it wander. Often times, memories come into my mind, assorted ones with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes, however, I think about things that are more in real life in the near future, and find myself thinking about how I want to handle them.

I’ve never liked surprises. I have ZERO poker face, so any emotion I feel is going to be displayed for all to see. Because of that, I’ve developed this sort of strategy for how I want those things to play out so that I’m prepared for how I’m going to react emotionally. It can be what I plan to say or do, or how I plan to react to what might be said or done. After all, we’ve all heard time and time again the adage that this is our life, not a dress rehearsal for it.

I’ve had to work hard to overcome the me of the past who, having learned it from my mother, would fly off the handle without warning. That work has allowed me to keep automatic retorts and my impatience for idiots to, if not come immediately to mind, at least not come out of my mouth. To be honest, there are times I wish I could visit that ‘old me’ just for a moment – just have a moment now and then when I can immediately blow off the steam and ire that has bubbled up. And I have – on very rare occasions – and immediately felt bad and ended up apologizing. My bestie can probably recall the time I said something very nasty to her and apologized, while she thought it was just my streak of sarcasm and what I said didn’t even faze her. But I knew I’d said it in a moment of anger, so I needed to apologize.

So, it is really helpful to me to have these dress rehearsals in my head… to play out potential scenarios for something I’m pretty sure will be happening and how I want to deal with it. I don’t know – perhaps it is a form of wanting to control a situation, though I think it’s more about wanting to make sure my self-control will be activated. And sometimes, it’s planning something I want to say to a person in kindness, wanting to make sure that I hit the right chord of words that will lift someone up when they are feeling low.

Dress rehearsals are, I guess, a coping mechanism for me. However, once again, I wish I could just spontaneously combust when the spirit strikes me. Because I choose not to, I realize that the emotion I’m feeling just gets tucked away (not disposed of) and that I end up carrying it with me. Such is the case in my recent post about finding forgiveness. The anger I felt at the words that were said to me never got a chance to express itself, so these years later, it’s unresolved (thanks again to Just Being Me for words that have been helping me resolve it internally!).

I remember when I was still the ‘explode now’ kind of person, and a therapist I was working with who helped me by suggesting I visualized a container inside my chest where I would put those feelings, tighten the lid, and hold on to it until I was in her office, where I was free to let them out and deal with them in a place without judgement or fear. That actually worked like a charm! But now, I have no scheduled time or place where I can look forward to freeing them, so they tend to fester. Seldom are they things that don’t just dissolve with time, but when they are… Consciously or sub-consciously, I carry them around as a part of me – and then I wonder why I’m so tired!

I need to work on finding ways to free those emotions in a safe and non-judgmental way. I have been more open with my bestie and my brother in discussing them, and I have this blog as a place to at least pour them out.

But still, I choose to let my mind play out these dress rehearsals. Maybe it’s just my way of avoiding the possibility that something will happen that will add to my already full internal container…

Lost Sight

Once again, my brother has written a poem that moves me deeply inside.

commonsensiblyspeaking



~~~

Envying those who have more

We lose sight of how to give

And in the race to be like them

We lose sight of how to live

~~~

In the want to be pedestalled

We lose sight of the ledge we climb

Shiny bobbles to keep us fooled

We lose sight of how precious time

~~~

When wealth is all we idolize

We lose sight of just who we are

When looking down from up above

We lose sight of our guiding star

~~~

And here lies man’s great tragedy

For there is more in life to find

Having sight does not mean we see

When we choose to remain so blind

~~~



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I CAN Find the Forgiveness!

I have to start this post off with a big Shout-Out and a truly heart-felt THANK YOU to a fellow blogger, Just Being Me (read her blog here: https://justbeingme73.wordpress.com). We follow each other’s blogs and reply to them as appropriate. In response to my post about trying to find forgiveness, her reply gave me some real insight into the situation from a different perspective, and I’ve mulled that over several times, each time I do so allowing me to let go of some of the long-lasting anger that has plagued me these many years. Basically, her words helped me recognize that, perhaps in her own grieving, she simply wasn’t cognizant of the insensitivity of her words and the affect they had on me; that she may not even remember the event at all! In that light, I can begin to understand that, while I will always feel I deserve an apology for them, I’m more at peace about why I may never get one. It may still take a while, but I can now see that forgiveness in this instance is achievable, and the weight of its impact becomes less heavy by default.

On top of that, I was scrolling through social media recently and heard this quote on something produced my Jay Shetty, and it really struck a cord. “Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.” Not only are those words psychologically correct, but they are literally correct as well!

Picture it visually. Someone above you can’t pull you down. It’s an impossibility. The only way in which they can pull you is up! Conversely, a person needs to be literally below you in order to pull you down!

That gleaned idea is helping me recognize that I don’t want to feel like I’m being pulled down by this experience, and that my holding onto its negativity so tightly only means that I’m keeping myself down!

Further ruminating allowed me to take stock in the fact that her actions, good and bad, will be called to attention before God. Mine will as well. Do I really want to have this anger in my heart something that will be called to my attention when I stand before the Pearly Gates? Trust me, the list will be long enough without it there, too!

So, again, thank you to Just Being Me for your insight! For that alone, I’m so glad I continue to blog and learn!

I’ll take the peace, thank you very much!

Can I Find the Forgiveness?

Above is one of the few memes still left in my “Future Blog Ideas” folder on my computer. Every time I gaze upon it, one very specific moment in time comes right into focus. It’s been almost 5-1/2 years since that moment took place, and yet, to this day, it tends to make me angry and pissed off still.

The person from whom I will never get an apology is someone who touts her strong and faith-based Christianity to anyone who might perhaps hear her. This same person once belittled me, when saying grace before a meal, for not saying “in Jesus’ name we pray” before I said “Amen”. She told me in no uncertain terms that I need to say that in my prayers because we can’t get to heaven without going through Jesus. I chose to let the moment pass, swallowed down any retort and just didn’t give her any response at all.

This person of whom I speak was my father’s wife, the woman he married some years after my mother had passed. She is a woman I’ve known most of my life, as she was married to my mother’s brother (therefore my aunt) for many years until my uncle passed away. The two couples were always close and upon retiring, my parents moved into the same gated community in Florida where my uncle and aunt had retired to. She was there to help my dad when my mom took ill, and he was there to help her when my uncle took ill. I can’t say I was surprised that they ended up married.

I remember, visiting them after they’d been married a little while, that I had said something to the effect of how excited I was that my cousins (her two daughters, one from a previous marriage and one with my uncle) would now be my step-sisters, because I’d had only brothers. She quickly reminded me that they were my cousins, and it was no big deal in the scheme of things.

When my dad passed away, there was a service in Florida, which had been home to him for over 20 years, but he was to be buried in Pennsylvania, next to my mom. I pushed for a memorial service in PA before burial; she tried to tell me that wasn’t important because all of his friends were now in Florida, I pushed back with, “That may be, but his family is here”. I felt we, my brother and I, my niece and other close friends, had the right to have a service. I set it all up – paid for it all and for her hotel room since she had planned to fly in the day of the burial. I even paid for an obituary in the local home paper because they still had friends and people who knew them from the many years they lived here. Albeit small, we had our memorial service in the church that was ‘home’ before their move to Florida.

The burial was mentioned in the obituary to be at the convenience of the family. We wanted it to be small, even though we had it scheduled in advance. It was attended by her, my brother and I, and my older brother’s widow (oh, she’s another story!).

At the end of the service, as we all went back to the driveway where our cars were parked, we were asked if we all wanted to go out for food and all declined. In moments shortly thereafter, my dad’s wife said something that literally made all of us drop our jaws. She very tersely told me that she was angry that her granddaughter (daughter of my cousin) should have been listed as one of my dad’s grandchildren because he was the only “pop” she’d ever known.

To this day, I still feel my eyes get big with disbelieve at those words. My cousins were not to be considered step-sisters, and the other cousin’s son wasn’t considered as a grandchild, but this one should be? And the way she said it, you’d have thought that this child who was omitted was going to be scarred for life for being omitted!

Very quickly after that, after the three of us had handled the shock, we all split ways. Mary (dad’s wife) got back in her car, drove it back down to BWI airport, where she’d flown into, and spent time with her daughter and precious grandchild. A picture was posted on Facebook shortly after of the two of them jumping on a trampoline in the back yard, and the granddaughter did not look worse for the wear for having been omitted…

We had no contact again until I needed to contact her about the birth/death plate that hadn’t been put on the grave marker. Since everything had been prearranged and prepaid for the cemetery before my parents ever moved, she didn’t want to deal with them so suggested we contact them directly. Eventually, my brother got everything straightened out and the plate was added. (Thank you, Brad!)

Since then, we’ve had no direct contact. We are “friends” with each other on Facebook, and very occasionally, she posts something for which I hit the ‘like’ button, because I like it. Her birthday date comes up on FB, but I do not send a greeting. Mine does NOT show on FB, and I suspect by now she doesn’t remember when it is.

But here’s my point… I can’t get past her consistent “religious” posts, still portraying herself with this moral sense of faith while she is capable of uttering such painful spite and never thinking she needs to apologize for it. That is a struggle I’ve had before – the people who are vocal about their amazing faith while simultaneously doing obvious things that are just the opposite. It’s that “black and white” way I see things. I’m not religious, though I am spiritual and have a connection to the faith in which I was raised. And I know I’m often a sinner, but I don’t go touting my faith in a way that would make anyone think I wasn’t.

I know I should let go of this. To be honest, it isn’t something nagging at me as it used to. But I can’t visit my parents’ grave without remembering it, since it happened there, and it certainly takes away from the reason I choose to visit it. How do I forgive that? I get that finding forgiveness is being the better person, but do I really need to forgive? I mean, I’d like to be able to let it go, but the circumstances of where and when it happened will always remain, so how can I? An apology would help me so much – for her to recognize that what she said was unfair and cruel would truly allow me to forgive her for the wrongdoing. But I just don’t have what the meme says… I don’t have the strength (to be honest, I don’t have the DESIRE!) to forgive someone who isn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received.

It’s a shitty situation to be in…

Before and After #MeToo — rachelmankowitz

I’ve been thinking about the #MeToo movement a lot, especially in the shadow of the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement, which has led to both protests and intensive discussions over the past months. The parallels in how discrimination functions are so clear, no matter which group is being put down. The literature on microaggressions […]

Before and After #MeToo — rachelmankowitz

Balancing Worry and Preparedness

There is still news now and again about a “second wave” of COVID-19 headed our way this fall. With the general election for President of the United States looming in the near future, it seems that news is taking precedent, with less than 30 days before election day. Once that is over, no matter the outcome, the pandemic is likely to become the forefront of the news again.

Having survived the initial onset of COVID-19, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is still numb to much of the information being presented about it. I do worry about it, not so much for myself but for how it affects the many people living in our country, as well as the world. And yes, sometimes I wonder if I should be stocking up on toilet paper while there is still some available.

It’s the time of year now where I start ‘nesting’, making sure the pantry is full in case of bad winter weather, so I don’t quarrel with myself about whether I’m stock-piling canned goods in case of a second wave. But it is in the back of my mind that I need to be prepared for its possibility nonetheless. My bestie and I are going to do an abbreviated girls’ day out next week. It will be our first one since last fall, and we’ve not been out for our monthly lunches since the one we had in February. I’ve been to her home a couple of times – and the clan will be gathering to order delivery from our favorite Italian place on Saturday in ‘celebration’ of Labor Day. I haven’t been there since July. I tend to see her by meeting her in the parking lot where and when she gets to work, exchanging food goodies and books.

I have friends who are still exhibiting anxiety from the original COVID-19 pandemic. If I’m a little bit worried about a second wave, I can’t help but wonder what they are feeling! One friend in particular is still mourning and bemoaning all of the things her family couldn’t do this summer and even triggered memories of times past on her social media only incites that moaning even more. I struggle dealing with that; a part of me wants to remind her that a.) she’s not the only one and b.) she’s got a lot of wonderful memories of annual vacations and time spent doing what she loved that many of us don’t have. I struggle with the inability to look at any kind of positive and constantly nose-diving into the moans of negativity.

COVID-19 changed the world for all of us! None of us has, and we will never have, that “back to normal” possibility. We need to face that there is only a “new normal” for us in store. When (I refuse to believe “if”) this pandemic has finally left its mark on all of us and our world’s history and has finally released us from being hostages to it, nothing we knew before will be the same again. Most of us will take some of the healthiness about social distancing and shaking hands, etc., with us. As a hugger by nature, this will be difficult for me, especially when seeing someone I haven’t seen in (what seems like) forever due to it.

I start physical therapy for my shoulder/arm next week. Knowing my low tolerance for pain, I’m concerned about how badly it may hurt, and I’ve done my searching online to know what the worst case scenario might be. It’s my nature to expect the worst, knowing that I won’t be disappointed if the worst doesn’t happen. I’m most worried about the recuperation time if I need to have some outpatient surgery done. Research says that could be 4 to 6 months, some time spent in a sling. It’s my right side, and I’m right-handed. There are so many things I can’t do now because of the pain that arises, and I’ve been dealing with this for 4 months. I don’t like feeling helpless!

Anyhow, I digress…. Humanity suffers from many catastrophes. Tornados, hurricanes, flooding, fire, war. Somehow, survivors manage to pick up the pieces and put themselves back together again. And I realize that they don’t get to go “back to normal” either, but must build a “new normal” for the rest of their lives. I am worried – we all should be to some extent – but I am doing my best to be prepared as well. I can choose to moan and focus on the negative, but none of that energy spent will change a single thing. I think it’s okay for me to have some sense of worry, because it keeps me alert. But if I do my best to be prepared and follow the guidelines and focus on what stands ahead in the future, I think I’m gonna be okay…

Invisible

I recently put a tweet on Twitter that said that I wonder, if I disappeared, how long it would take anyone to notice. Okay, my Twitter following is teeny-tiny, but I’ve been trying to post there more in order to grow my social network, and it seems that I end up ‘hearting’ or responding to other’s posts but seldom get any indication that mine have been noticed at all.

My circle, away from social media, is even smaller than my circle on social media. I have just less than 100 followers on Facebook, but then again, I only follow people whose happenings and goings on are of interest to me. My followers on Twitter are easily less than 20. In real life? My “followers” – those with whom I’m engaged in meaningful contact with – are 2. I have more friends than that, for example, I consider my nail tech as a friend as well as a service provider, but we only are in contact outside of social media when I’m there getting serviced! My hairdresser doesn’t do ANY social media, so I have contact with her only when I’m there for a haircut. I adore my chiropractor but we have contact only at my appointments.

My brother, one of my two real-life “followers”, posts in his blog every day. I’d know immediately that something might be wrong if he went a day without a post. With my sporadic postings to my blog, he’d not necessarily equate not seeing a post with anything serious.

My bestie, my other real-life “follower”, hears from me two or three times a week via email, and I hear from her about once a week with a possible text now and again. We only live a mile apart, but she’s got a husband (who needs to be fully wrapped in bubble-wrap) who has somewhat consistent medical appointment demands, and a 25-hour/week job with our police department (administrative) and all of the other things in her normal life to deal with. If more than three days go by and she hasn’t heard from me, she’ll text me and email me both asking, “Are you okay?”

My upstairs neighbor, Jeri, will knock on my door if she hasn’t seen me out and about or at least that my car is parked in a different place in a couple of weeks.

Ouch! I don’t want this to be true, but is it?

I’ve chosen this more ‘loner’ lifestyle and honestly, I prefer it. I’m suddenly conscious that I often go out of my way to make sure others know I’m thinking of them. With nothing important to say, I can write paragraph after paragraph in an email to my brother or bestie. I use social media to let the people I know out in the cloud that I’m paying attention to them. I even send the occasional ‘no special reason’ greeting card in the mail! And I guess I feel invisible because I don’t get very much of that coming in my direction. Only I know how many times, in my career span, I’ve thought about sending myself flowers at work for my birthday or, heaven forbid, Valentine’s Day, just to show others that I was special and important to someone!

And I come back to something I acknowledged in a previous post about “giving most what you need to get in return”. Apparently, that’s still not working for me…

P.S. After my tweet, I got two responses, both from people I know from the same Twitch stream. Both were loving and kind; one made me feel better enough to get teary-eyed from the words.

Good Intentions/The Road to Hell

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The modern expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” was first published in Henry G. Bohn’s A Hand-book of Proverbs in 1855. An earlier iteration, “Hell is full of good meanings and wishes”, was published in 1670 in A Collection of English Proverbs collected by John Ray. The exact origin of this proverb is unknown and its form has evolved over time. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a saying that has been attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091—1153), but that cannot be verified. The earliest known text resembling this phrase occurs in Virgil’s Aeneid: “facilis descensus Averno (the descent to hell is easy)”.

I hope that it’s not just only me who has occasion to quote that proverb in current times. It is consistent with every “I was going to do it, but…” excuse any of us has or is going to use. “I was going to stop and fill your car up with gas to thank you for letting me use it, but…the line was too long.” “I was going to pick up your dry-cleaning but… the baby’s been fussy all day and then my sister had to call and tie me up with the latest drama in her life.” “I meant to stop at the mechanic’s when the ‘check engine’ light came on but…” “I wanted to make reservations for dinner out for our anniversary but…” Okay, I could come up with a zillion of these, but you get the picture. Small or large reasons, we all try to concoct a contrite reason why we didn’t do something we should have/were supposed to have done, and we’re all guilty of going to hell because we had good intentions of doing whatever it was.

My faith knows this is propaganda, that there needs to be more than that reason why we may end up in hell. We’d be far more likely to be sent to hell for lying by misusing the good intentions theory when it’s not really true. Who of us is insane enough to tell our significant other, child, family member, important friend, etc. that we “just didn’t feel like it”?

I’ve started many of my days recently looking at little things – chores and the like but nothing significant – and my head tells me to just get up and do some of them. I look at the bigger chores that would make me happy if they were accomplished, and can now immediately dismiss them as impossible or impractical with my shoulder/arm situation. (Okay, Brad and Joanne, that may be another reason I’m procrastinating about physical therapy!)

Most of what I see, when I look around at things I can do and the ones I don’t think I should do yet, has to do with cleaning. I was so damned proud when I deep-cleaned my bedroom in early April, wiping down woodwork dusting the ceiling and walls, washing windows, laundering curtains and dresser runners, etc., moving every piece of furniture that I could move without help. I was so excited about how clean it was that I set up the organization I would need to start on my living room next. I didn’t even know that I’d done something to mess up my shoulder, because I didn’t have any kind of problem or pain for a few days after. But whatever the cause, the pain became evident before I could start my living room and my chiropractor’s diagnosis was a dislocated shoulder. Painfully, he got it back in place, but I’m dealing with side effects now that really do prevent me from raising my arm high or using pressure of it on something. So, there’s a very good chance that no more deep-cleaning will happen this year.

And that’s probably why I don’t even want to bother with regular cleaning. I want to really clean, really enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing how genuinely clean the room is. If that’s what I want, than doing anything less than that just seems worthless!

So here I am, with good intentions but… I’ve been here before. When my parents first moved to Florida to retire, long distance was costly, so letters were my recourse. My dad used to call my letters “Epistles” because they were always 3 or more typed pages. Sometimes, when I’d been stagnant about stories with which to regale them, it might take me longer than usual between letters. And most of the ones following started out with saying the proverb “the path to hell” because I always had good intentions about wanting to sit down and type a letter…

I’m always wanting to write something for my blog. My writings don’t follow any schedule, but I think I need to be somewhat consistent with putting something out there. My good intentions are prominent, but… if my life isn’t exciting to me, how the hell will it hold any excitement for anyone else?

And so, if the proverb is indeed true, I know I’m going to have to get used to the hot weather about which I’m not fond. On the bright side, I suspect I’m gonna know a lot of other souls when I get there.

Go ahead, tell me you’re not guilty!!!

Random and Circuitous

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been seriously limiting my time on the computer. The reasons are many. The first and primary one is that I live in a 200+ year old house divided into apartments, and so window air-conditioning units are my only relief on hot and humid days. My living room and bedroom each have a unit, but the spare bedroom (where my desk is) and kitchen, both of which are towards the back of the apartment, do not. It doesn’t take long, no matter that it cools down at night, for this area of the apartment to get warm. So, early mornings are the time I spend here, except for an occasional check-in for emails.

Another reason is that I’d subconsciously become aware of using the computer as an ‘escape’ from what life is these days in terms of the ongoing pandemic and political rhetoric. It’s become an alternative to what little social life I used to have.

Anyhow, I’ve chosen to make an effort to get back to reading, a hobby I’ve always enjoyed. In the past three weeks, I’ve read my way through nine books, and I’m enjoying getting back into it. I admit, I read for escape as well, but it’s a more enjoyable adventure because each book has different characters and a different storyline. I’m also a little excited to see my TBR (to be read) pile of books become an almost manageable amount again. For me, ‘almost manageable’ means that, at this rate, I can empty the pile in a year’s time!

Because I still become physically fatigued late afternoon, and there’s nothing on TV I care to watch, I also spend some time just sitting comfortably with my eyes closed and letting my mind wander. And boy, has it been all over the place recently!

Most of my mind wanderings travel in rather obscure paths, starting in one place and ending up in a place that only makes sense to its internal directions. I’ve thought mostly about people – people from my past – like ex-colleagues and friends I’ve moved past from. It sometimes gives me pause to think about people who were so important in my life at one time and who I would have no clue how to find these days anymore. I was telling my BFF recently that I’ve been a maid-of-honor in two weddings, and for the life of me, I have no clue where either of those people are.

My mind has also delved back into previous work environments and colleagues who became friends, some who remained simply great colleagues. It is meeting up again with those great colleagues, however, which also brings me angst. For all of those years of wearing my mask, of portraying only who I thought I should be in any given situation, I wonder how many of them would be surprised (and possibly horror-stricken) of who I am today. I’ve mellowed in a lot of ways, but I’ve also become more clearly tunnel-visioned in ways as well. I’m more accepting and less judgmental in so many ways, but my tolerance for words and actions that are a waste of breath and energy has lessened significantly as well.

I actually enjoy my mind’s wanderings these days, as they tend to travel to specific people, places and events which, however lightly, have left a mark on me. I often think about my weekends of camping and the comradery that was among the group of us who had permanent sites and rarely missed a weekend. I think about vacations that I remember from childhood, and about people who were friends of my parents whom I also adored dearly. Someone recently posted a photo on social media of a 5-gallon bucket of green beans harvested from their garden, and that made me remember sitting with my grandma on her back porch cleaning green beans from her garden. That led to thinking about how our meals when produce was available were centered around that produce. Corn-on-the-cob wasn’t a side dish – it was a meal! Green beans with a few potatoes and a small piece of ham were a meal for several days! Cherry puddin’, which was actually a cake, in a bowl with milk and sugar was a meal! Ah, I miss those!

No matter how often I go back to childhood memories, I cannot, for the life of me, imagine how we managed without air-conditioning! I know we did, at least for the first 10 years of my life, but I can’t picture me as a little girl being okay with being so sweaty! And yet, as I think about it now, I can still recall being bundled up in a dress with pants underneath (removed with our coats and other outerwear, trudging to elementary school when it was cold out. Why one and not the other?

I sometimes think, more sadly though, of the various men in my life, and do sometimes wonder what’s become of them. It’s funny to me that, when I think about them, I have to consciously force myself to remember that they, too, have aged over these years. I wonder what they might think of me now, through all of the introspection and self-growth I’ve been through, and wonder if they’d like me more or less than they liked me way back when. That’s a struggle for me at times – although far from being pretty, I had my share of boyfriends (later to become male friends when boy sounded too childish) and I know in my heart that the reason the majority of those relationships didn’t stand the test of time is because I sabatoged them (story for another time, perhaps). This is yet another thought that rambles through my head some evenings.

Ironically, happy or sad, I’m glad I’m revisiting these memories. No, I don’t see a bright light ahead and my life is passing before me. It’s more about noticing how many wonderful people, places and events gave me those memories, and cherishing them anew and perhaps in different ways.

Do you ever let your mind go back and feast on this type of memory?