I used to be one of those people who embraced change.
Change is as good as a rest.
Change is good for the soul.
No more. As I age, I find that I mourn change, don't seek it out. I used to be quite a traveler, would think of nothing of packing up at a moment's notice and taking off for the great unknown. When I was in my thirties, I met a woman on an online comment forum (not a dating one!) and after a series of funny e-mails and phone calls, decided to embark on a trip with her across four states to see a bunch of crazy things such as the largest ball of twine, a town called Bucksnort, and a house that was supposed to be the most haunted in America.
I barely knew her. Oddly, it worked out well and we still keep in touch. She lives in Utah now with her partner of several years and her two daughters.
I would NEVER behave that way today. Too much to consider, I suppose. A partner. A child. I had neither (nor did she) when we went on our road trip. One of my fondest memories of her is when we went dancing at a lesbian bar in Kansas City and bought some weed and then took it back to our hotel room where we smoked it. An hour later, we were sitting side by side on the bed together, backs against the headboard, singing:
And Aubrey was her name
I never knew her but I loved her just the same
I loved her name.....
And then we ordered ridiculously expensive peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from room service and both declared them the BEST we had ever eaten.
To this day, she tells me that when she hears this song, she thinks of us on that highway.
That was me this morning hauling all the houseplants in from their Summer haven on our sun porch, back inside to the warmth of the house. The jade back in our bedroom. The cacti in my office. The poinsettia from four Christmases ago that would not wither and now blooms like crazy every April. I love that plant. It has its own agenda. It sits on our dining room table and has changed pots three times because it keeps growing and soaring. Soon we will have to find a new place for it to sit as it will hit the chandelier that hangs over the table.
I always feel like apologizing to the houseplants when I bring them in.
Sorry you will no longer be lazily lingering in the humid, heavy Summer air all together, gossiping like old Aunties. Now, you will be separated, each in your own little space.
Liv and I put the garden to bed last week. It had produced beautifully, but was now getting weary. We pulled out all the potatoes and onions and hauled them down to the dirt room in the basement where it is always cool and dry. Also known in our home as the tornado room since this is the best insulated room in our home. To this day, I associate tornado sirens with the smell of onions.
Everything else is all plowed under back into the soil. Except for the tomatoes and pumpkins. The tomatoes are almost weirdly hardy this year, still have blooms. I worry about those blooms since a freeze is imminent.
My flowers in the back yard are all shell shocked and wrinkly. Especially the rose bushes. They take Winter the hardest. Like me, they are not pleased with change. Used to being the belles of the backyard, they don't take kindly to be turned into withering old prunish ladies when they used to be laughing, vain girls in their pastels and deep red and yellow frocks.
Change just makes me sad. And Autumn makes me feel it strongly. My back yard goes from being a loud, noisy parade of color into a quiet, earthy, sleepy place. All of our Adirondack chairs are tucked into the back yard shed along with the picnic table and grill.
The trees are just starting to change color and soon the yard will, for a short while, be a riot of golds and oranges and reds and then....just brittle limbs, waiting for the cold and snow.
I used to welcome the seasons. Now, I despair of them. Well, not Spring. I yearn for Spring to come and it comes SO slowly. But, mostly I feel as if time is speeded up crazily. Like I am on some sort of too fast merry go round in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
My daughter had her first sort of date last night. She stressed to me that it wasn't REALLY a date. Just a good friend of hers from a math seminar who, as a junior, wanted to have a date for Homecoming at his Catholic boys school. He asked Liv and she asked me and I said I wanted to talk to his Mother, so she called me. And it was settled.
NOT A DATE. Just two friends all gussied up. He picked her up at 6 and she went to dinner at his family's house and then the dance. She was home by 11:30 and the first sentences out of her mouth were, "No, Mama. He didn't kiss me. Now, no worrying. Okay. And no more dates. Jeez Louise, I am WAY too young for all this."
I think she'll be fine. And I was glad that she wasn't keen on repeating a date soon. Bing is still pissed off at me that I even let her go. Said that she was WAY too young to have a homecoming date. And I agree with her. But, this wasn't a DATE date, in my eyes. It was two friends going to a dance.
But, the times they are a changing. I still look at Liv with something akin to shock some days. How did this little squalling infant to a toddling toddler to a curious grade schooler to a math nerd turn into this blossoming woman?
It baffles me.
And as I said, the changing weather upsets me too. Last week, we had record highs in the high 80's. Then suddenly it turned cold overnight. Actually, I FELT the cold front in my joints before it came but when it hit, it hit hard. Temps dropped to the low 40's very, very quickly. I felt like the gales of November came early.
I am not good with change. Age seems to be a big part of change. Growing. Moving.
I already feel plenty old for my age. I don't wish to feel any older. But, I will. It's inevitable. When you are young, you yearn for change. Old enough to ride a bike. Old enough to date. Old enough to drink. Old enough to vote. Old enough to drive. Old enough to marry. Old enough to have a baby.
When you hit 40 something, change loses it's luster. Change means that you start getting gray hairs. Your children start to grow away from you. (And seriously? This bothers you? Wasn't it just yesterday when you just wanted to be able to pee by yourself without being followed?) You suddenly can't sprint up steps two at a time. You can't eat spicy foods anymore or you risk being awakened with heartburn at 2 a.m.
You start saying things that you NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought you would:
In my day, we didn't get out of school until June every year.
When I was young, we watched one HOUR of television at night and that was it.
I would have NEVER spoken to MY Mother like that.
I used to get up at 5 a.m. every stinking day in the Summer to help my Mother weed the gardens. ''
Ai yi yi. Boy howdy, I am OLD.
As I write this, I am looking out across our side yard into the back yard that used to be Hal and Nina's. Now, well...it has changed. After Hal died, Nina found that she couldn't stay there anymore and moved to South Dakota to be with their daughter. We heard that a female banker bought the house. Well, she DID buy the house but she doesn't live there. She bought it for her brother, a twenty something guy who works in a bike shop, is an ex-addict and says the word dude a lot. We found this out because my partner, Bing, is snoopy. She saw him outside and walked over to the fence to talk. She says he is a very young twenty something and pretty chatty. Apparently, his sister is wealthy and bought this home for him as a gift for a year of sobriety. Except that he isn't really sober, I don't think. The first weekend he was here, he had a major party, complete with very very loud music and lots of stumbling drunk people. Including him.
This change is hard for me. I look over at that house and wonder if it feels shocked. For nearly 30 years, it held a family with one child. A very quiet family. Liv used to do her homework and bake red velvet cakes in that kitchen. The house was always neat, tidy and blessedly quiet. Now, it is quickly becoming the neighborhood party house. I feel like crying as I look over at that house, now vacant of Hal practicing his golf swings in the back yard and Nina watering her wild daisies. The house has a new owner, a very young, very noisy owner.
I don't like changes. Especially if they result from death.
Bing and I are planning a short week long trip to Boston in January. A sort of belated honeymoon that coincides with an Apple thing that she needs to attend. Romantic, huh? Instead of planning a trip to the Bahamas, we plan our honeymoon around a trip where she gets her airfare and hotel room paid. This way, we only have to pay for my airfare and we can splurge on fancy dinners and stay an extra five days past her two day seminar and be tourists. And yes, we are planning this in OCTOBER. Because there is much to consider. I have medications that must be packed. We have already enticed Tinton to stay with us from mid November through February so that he will be here to take care of Liv. He is working on a book and taking a six month leave from his geologist duties, so will stay with us for 2 1/2 months and then go to Colorado from February through April to finish up and be with his long suffering girlfriend.
Not so long ago, I would have much preferred that Bing and I just take off for a crazy week with no destination in mind, to just get in the car and drive. Now? Nope. She has a back that can't stand to sit for more than two hours at a time and my rheumatoid arthritis acts up in my hands if I hold a steering wheel for longer than an hour or so at a time.
Good lord. What a couple of old biddies!
I find change threatening, scary.
Ok. With Obama Care the exception to the rule. I agree with Bill Clinton on this one: that a lot of us are leery of new things and worry that it will cause problems. People were HORRIFIED when it was proposed that those over the age of 65 should have health care and that they should have money taken out of their paychecks over the years to facilitate that. Now, we are all up in arms, worried that our Social Security checks may be in danger. (The big problem that no one considered was that Americans would live longer through the ages. When SS went into place, most Americans died at age 67. Now the median age is 82.) Obama Care will prove to be an incredible solution. More people will have access to health care and we taxpayers will no longer have to bear the huge brunt in financial cost of those we do not. What is so hard to understand about THAT? So, yes change is scary. Except for Obama Care. I'm all for that. The other day, someone told me that most medical professionals were against it and I had to laugh. Not true. So not true. But the ones who are against it are very, very verbal.
So, this is my question for you:
How do you feel about a change? And how do you cope with it?