October 7, 2010
My wife of 30+ years sent me the following in an email… her exact words were “Lets try to live by this. I think it is amazing.” Needless to say I agree with her…she has an uncanny knack of finding this kind of prose that makes a whole lot of sense, at least, to me. In our first year of marriage she had found a postcard, whilst rummaging through our after-marriage paraphernalia, you know…the kind of stuff young married couples do… Now the postcard outlined 10 rules for a happy marriage…and at that time she had me, both of us, vow to live by these rules…we’ve tried our best to live by these rules, very simple words to read but slightly more difficult to make them a way of life…however, we’ve done our best…we’ve been together, and I must emphasize, very happily, for 30+ years of togetherness. She’s been using these 10 rules of marriage in her speeches at weddings…and she loves speaking at weddings… she always get a great round of applause after delivering the rules, even from those who have heard it before…
As a result I’ve decided to share the contents of her email with you… she named the subject line “Great Life Lessons”…
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more."
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift."
I hope, dear reader, that you’ve found some solace in these observations of life…and that you can apply just a few of these to your life…
Keep well and God bless…and all that jivin’ around… here’s one of my favourite poems from one of my most favourite people…
September 12, 2009
My thoughts are scattered…like a million tiny seeds being fed to birds from a park bench…disappearing as fast as the birds pick up each one. I try to harness some thoughts…good one, I think to myself…and store these away in some little compartment of my imagination…never to remember. I remember a few of my friends that have passed…the ones that are left…that keep on struggling with life.
I opened my email…part of my daily routine set by technology…something I never desired and which was forced upon me by man and machine. I have so little control on the things that control me…I have so much control on nothing. I received this particular message from my nephew, Ameer, an amazing childhood friend, in my Inbox today…thought I’d like to share with you…hope it gives you a glimmer of hope, and a smile…
AN EMAIL IN MY INBOX…
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love … I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old. I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day(if I feel like it).
MAY OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER COME APART ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART!
MAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE A RAINBOW OF SMILES ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART FOREVER AND EVER! FRIENDS FOREVER!
April 28, 2009
Once again I write to you in the first person. It is the tense that I am most contented to converse and share my thoughts with you. I write with trepidation and a sense of urgency that something bad comes my way. The creditors call me – I feel the beast of fear awake in my belly – it turns and churns within me. Happiness has been eluding me for some time now, and peace of mind got up and left me high and dry, catapulting me into a deep abysmal depression where I have been left, broken and forgotten.
Again I turn to Leonard Cohen’s Strange Music for some form of solace – I came across the following thoughts of words – I would like the honour of sharing these with you.
I said. Because it is so horrible between us I will go and stop Egypt’s bullet. She said. That’s beautiful. Then I can commit suicide and the child falls into strangers’ hands. Great, I said. Yug, yug, yug, she said. What you did to me, I said. The lonely, we said. The nights of hands on ourselves. Your unkindness, we said. Your greed. Your unkindness. Your bitter tongue. Give me time. You never learn. Your ancestors. My ancestors. Fuck you, I said. You shit. Stop screaming. I can’t stand it. You can’t stand anything. Nobody can live like this. In front of the child. Let him learn. This is no good. Yer fuckin right it’s no good. This kitchen was once beautiful. Oil lamps, order, the set table. Sabbath observed. That’s what I want. You don’t want it. You don’t know what I want. You don’t know anything about me. You never did. Not in the beginning. Not now.
In the realms where this marriage was sealed, where the wedding feast goes on and on, where Adam and Eve face one another, the foundations are faultless and secure, your beast’s hair flares like black fire upward and your breasts, now in maidenhood, now in motherhood, draw down my face, our hunger blessed by sun and moon, a ring of dancers round the house where within the room is hid, where within the bed is undone, whereupon the hunger’s joined, where within the hunger speaks precise instructions to the chosen ones who cannot leave each other.”
COMMENTARY – THIS MARRIAGE
This marriage is locked. It is impossible to enter. It is a marriage and operates like one, healing itself the moment it is condemned. In every house there is this marriage which cannot be explained. In our day it appears fragile and easily violated, but it is still the profoundest initiation, and one into which no stranger can intrude.
“THE UNCLEAN START
I went down to the port with my wife. On the way down I accused her of continuing her relentless automatic assault on the centre of my being. I knew this was not wise. I only meant to rap her on the knuckles and direct her attention to her habitual drift toward bitchiness but I lost control. There is no control in these realms. I became a thug. I attacked her spirit. Her spirit armed itself and retaliated massively. I think we were talking about valises or which of us travelled the lightest. A truce was investigated briefly by shabby deputies neither of which had the authority to begin the initiative. You always carry something extra, a shopping bag, something of string and paper that can’t be checked. I’m glad you didn’t pack for me. You always slow me down. I can’t be an acrobat when you’re around. You’re sandpaper. I can’t be a dancer. I’m dead when you’re around. You kill. It is your nature. Observe your nature. The shoemaker looked up at us as we passed his open doorway. This humiliation made me furious. I shoved a razor blade into her nerves. Her eyes changed colour. This was done by saying Jesus Christ, quickening my step slightly, minutely moving my jaws, rejecting the essence of her totally and forever. If she went down quickly I would nurse her back to love in time to get her blessings before the boat came in. But why should I, she didn’t rub my back when I threw my shoulder out, even when I asked her three times. And why should she since I had defeated her smile over and over. And why should I since she was the enemy of my freedom and the smiling moon over my gradual death. And why should she since I hated her because her beauty died. And why should I because there must be a woman in Jerusalem or beside me on the airplane. Half asleep Old John saw us but it was no humiliation since he didn’t recognize me anymore and I no longer greeted him. Captain Mad Body saw us but it didn’t matter because he was mute and crazy and lived on the port and knew the shames of everyone. We were on the port, in plain sunlight between the masts and the shops. The shit piled up in the One Heart which is the engine of our energy. We are married: there is only one heart. On common ground the armoured spirits tried to embrace but they both fell down paralyzed. Pain removed the world. They felt for the organs of sex but they were gone. There was no war, no peace, no world, the punishment of marriage spoiled. There is no Armageddon here. And fuck you. And fuck you. The horn, the boat was coming. I would have to travel without her blessing in the collapsed world. I won’t accuse you of ruining my trip. I won’t accuse you of ruining your absence. The Kamelia came in, its white decks above us, or was it the Portokalios Ilios. I know the name of a boat or two. I always hide her beauty from myself until it is too late to praise her for it. Ropes were flying, uniforms flashing, everywhere haste advised and the threat of lost time. I stared at her as she became beautiful and calm. I would not get the blessing. The journey had an unclean start. And she must carry stillborn blessings up the hill.”
Dear reader, thank you for spending this time with me and sharing in the thoughts of a poet whose words have the uncanny ability to soothe the beast of fear. Once again I can sleep. I hope that you have found some solace and peace in these words also and that this time was well wasted…