The End of An Era

Inhale. Exhale. … “He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs.” – Em: 1, Hallmark: 0

I can’t pinpoint the reason why I stopped. Letting my blog go on hiatus is not something I do.  I’ve been a writer since I was 11. I had to write; entirely too much was going on upstairs for me not to. Truth of the matter is, I felt nothing inside for the better part of those 59 days. And I certainly wasn’t going to pretend only to disappoint with nothingness. Anyway, that’s not to say I wasn’t a ball of emotion. I just outsourced it to save myself from the impending implosion. I’ve been meaning to revisit the ole RSS feed many, many times, but it’s been an intimidating, confidence-crushing process: “Does this need a hyphen? Is that a compound noun? Oh f* me, WHY can’t I just say it?!” Kids, rhetoric ain’t like riding a bike. I’m down a lot of grey matter, and up one thesaurus. Use it or most assuredly lose it.

I won’t bother with reconstructing that last month and change in Saqartvelo. It went something like: party, class, party, party, trip, class, party, plane. But all that doesn’t really matter. The important bit is taking place right this moment.

And that bit begins with a very unfortunate turn of events. We have a new guest in our house. She (since names mean nothing in our global computer age) uprooted her life and traveled 1,000 miles just to be under the same roof as her best friend, my Aunt Phyllis. This lady recently had a stroke. Over the course of the next couple months, through careful physical therapy and diet supervision, Aunt Phyllis will hopefully have her buddy back on her feet – literally. Now, where do I come in?

Pointless, nostalgic chatter scares me, bores me, numbs me to the core. Mind you, I didn’t know this lady – although I had been aware of her existence via eavesdropping on phone conversations for years now. I made polite remarks for the first little while but mostly steered clear simply because I had no idea what to do with myself. Then one day: “I have to run errands. Can you make her a sandwich?” *brief silence* “Ok. What type?” …  There were two problems with this; First, I’m a firm believer in every-man-for-himself. Don’t think for a minute that translates into leaving the ‘poor, defenseless elderly’ out in the cold (though I’ve learned they’re anything but). No, I just assume self-sufficiency from all creatures and am severely thrown off course when someone’s lacking. Secondly, the aforementioned doom of pointless chatter.

There the sandwich and its owner sat, alone minus a sad water glass and some scattered pills for neighbors. Watching the birds outside nibble busily to the point of vivacity on their seed block. Well hell. Even in such an awkward situation that stark contrast of a scene couldn’t be permitted. So I pulled up a chair and some soup. She talked. I heard things. Then I realized I was listening. She was absolutely, 100% there. Fully alert. Fully engaging. And she was funny.

During our few encounters I’ve observed her with great attention. I wonder a lot about aging, especially lately what with Peter Pan Syndrome waxing and waning. This tiny event – this sandwich and its consequential meetings – teaches us some mighty lessons. Who is time to phase you? What are trials to discourage you? Usually, people live by their many calendars of days, weeks, years … There’s always a drastic sense of movement in this continuum of time, almost always tainted by bittersweetness, when one hears stories about the “good times”. Yet here we have a woman whose decades-old anecdotes are ever painting a picture of the present. This is the character I hope to resemble now and until the end of my days: not moved by the extremes of hardship, joy, anger, grief, etc., but shaped by them.

The other highlights have come about as a result of “Days with God” (wherein the role of God is played by Ben & Jerry, a mountain peak, or something equally enlightening). Just because I’m not a believer doesn’t mean I can’t be religious about something, right? Right.

One particular highlight centers around that foreboding, next step of a career move … These last several years I’ve disappointed myself. Once upon a time not so very long ago, I was destined for great things. Then came the burdens of death, taxes, and fighting the red tape all by my itty bitty self, and well, everything just sort of went to shit for a while. I was lost. So. Lost. But now, thanks to perspective gained in a faraway land, things seem to be righting themselves once again.

Don’t expect me to pour my heart out over some fabulous five-year plan. Thus far, I am only certain that all the inspirational sayings I ever heard are true. We really can be anything we want. As someone who’s fallen on rock bottom a number of times and, though now lifted yet still seeking the proper way out, I can say the quotes aren’t unrealistic bullshit spread by the rich and famous. My biggest fear (which I’m sure a lot of folks share) is winding up as another drone who’s content with discontent. So why do we  allow ourselves to get there? In order to avoid such a downward spiral, we must remember the words of a very wise man: “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey

So whatever you find me doing these next few years, there’s no doubt I’ll be going without. There’s no doubt some of the food in my kitchen won’t be organic, and no doubt my next car won’t be the beautiful blend of art and machinery I’d hoped for (*cough* Lamborghini *cough*). And this is all ok.

“I’ll probably never get the props I feel I ever deserve/But I’ll never be served my spot is forever reserved/If I ever leave earth that would be the death of me first./’Cause in my heart of hearts I know nothing could ever be worse./That’s why I’m clever when I put together every verse.” – Em: 2, Hallmark: still nothing

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