Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Eyes Don't Have It

Today I had to face my mortality. The ever creeping of age and infirmity, thy name is optometrist.

I have presbyopia. It's a nice long word for you can't read things anymore! I have always been near-sighted. As in I can't see further than my elbow.

Now I've entered the land of the old lady and have to wear progressive lenses. Another large word for tri-focals but you don't see any lines.

Right now all I see is an old woman in the mirror. Boo hoo hoo.

Monday, February 08, 2010

And Now to the Point

In my time hiding in my head I've found a lot of interesting relics floating around. Some become stories, others become keys to my story.

Before now, I've spent a lot of time figuring me out, routing a depressive state, establishing my footing as a mother and finding my delights. When I came to that road, I noticed there were straggling bits of me on the shoulders. Things like the absence of animals makes me just a little bit nutty, or knowing that my love of food borders on addiction. Not addiction for eating though, addiction for flavor. I just want one more bite of that spaghetti that turned out absolutely perfect this time. But this last bit I found, looms a bit more significant.

Let me start by giving you some back story. (Note, if this were a novel, I'd be showing not telling. But this is more memoir, so minus the lying that seems to be the mode of the day, I'll just tell what I need to say). In fact, I'll be short, two sentences short. I was raised religious believing in eternal life after death. I am now an atheist.

These two facts have largely been easy to reconcile given my disgust with organized religion and belief in science. However, I fixate on the fact that I will go away and cease to exist. It bugs me. I want it differently. Like any petulant child, I want my cake and eat it too. I want to remain in some form to watch my grandchildren, their children and all the subsequent children and family that stem from my children. I want to watch the world go on and see what happens.

Intellectually, I can grasp the idea of non-existence. I can accept it. But emotionally, no way. My heart clings like a desperate fish fighting the current to stay in the river. I just don't want to be swept out to sea. So I find myself on a journey of sorts, seeking answers.

To that end, I recently listened to an interview of Harold S. Kushner about his book Conquering Fear. And I was intrigued. So I'm planning to read his book. And hopefully others to help myself again find footing where the empty space gives way to a chasm in my road.

Here I am, an atheist seeking answers for life after death. Paradox I.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Live Each Moment How?

I am my happiest when inside my head.

Three situations or activities that make me feel great include list making, thinking and taking road trips.

Lists I find soothing. It's like dumping anxiety onto a page and putting some discernible order to it. Sorting it out to remove the anxious parts.

Thinking in many forms takes me away. I've always loved being away. I learned at a young age to wear a mask of attentiveness while allowing my brain to travel distant journeys of thought and story. I have clung to this skill. However, engaging in it while attempting to be Mom is ridiculous and irresponsible. That doesn't always stop me, but I try. Reading books gives me the same thinking pleasure. Immersing in something other than my normal surroundings and allowing my thoughts and emotions to entwine in the new, the unknown, the desire to be something else.

Road trips are the most engaged way I find happiness. After all, a solo road trip can be fun but never as fulfilling as tripping with a car full of family, friends, or just your significant other. It is the idea of potential that makes the car ride so appealing. What lies ahead, even mapped out, cannot be fully predicted. You might see a deer, a construction site, a waterfall, snow, rain, rainbows. You might lie back in your sun warmed seat and enjoy the smell of heat soaking into the flesh of your thighs as you daydream about walking the beach sands once you arrive. You might savor the smell of gasoline after pulling from a remote gas station with old fashioned pumps and then ease into the soothing lull of the engine till your brain takes your senses into relaxed stupor. You might load up on sugar and soda and talk till your jaw hurts, or sing loud to the radio. Whatever you might do or encounter, it is not the stuff of everyday existence. And in any car ride, especially the longer ones, the moments of utter quiet, when each individual is physically there with each other and yet off in their own self-made existence of staring at phone lines pass or watching the animals graze, come frequently and the opportunity to recede mentally happily presents itself with unabashed splendor.

Being here, on this blog, I can ruminate about all these things. A sort of marmalade of those things that take me inside my head, to the place of happy. You are aiding and abetting me in escapism. So thanks.

I think the trick to living in the moment is to understand what kinds of moments fulfill you as an individual. That is not to say ignoring my children to be in my head is excusable. Being with my kids requires truly being here, focusing on them. But the other moments of my life, when I have the freedom to be something other than Mom, is it wrong to fulfill my living by diving inside the eddies of thought coursing through my grey matter? I don't think so. I can still engage with the world around me. I can take afternoons to visit people, to go out and be social. But I love the moments of silence, when I'm all alone and the door to the inner world is easily opened. Like a peaceful vacation without moving from the couch.