Home > Fifty Five Is The New, Life, Life-Spring/Easter Reflections > Life-Spring/Easter Reflections

Life-Spring/Easter Reflections

We went to celebrate Easter with Jack’s family yesterday, and it was wonderful seeing all the generations gathered together. It reminded me of the many celebrations we had as I was growing up, and I’ll  admit to a bit of homesickness…it’s been 30 years between East Coast Easters with my brood.

It rained hard most of the way home, so memory lane and melancholia took a back seat to co-piloting, my “job” on road trips.We took the long way home, going up the peninsula rather than across the bridge.  I’m sure we avoided a lot of the old “returning home”  Bay Bridge automotive congestion.

Wylie, our cat, was waiting at the top of the stairs when we got home.  “Meow!” he called to us from his perch on the newel post, “Where’ve you been? Where’s my dinner? Pet me..NOW!” (Our cat gets a lot of vocal mileage out of one meow!)

So after hugging, feeding and playing with said kitty, I got a cup of coffee and got changed for bed.  Jack was already asleep, t.v. filling our room with its neon powder blue haze. I was wide awake; coffee usually took care of that; but,  my mind wanted to scan old memory banks….feel close to people I love…maybe even allow myself a “what if” or two, just for shits and grins.

We had so many cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and what-have-yous, no matter where we went to visit there was always somebody to be with and something to do.  Heck!  During the summer we had enough people for two teams to play softball down on my Uncle Dick and Aunt Emma’s farm in New Jersey.

A favorite family memory is my mom running after the ball, yelling “I got it, I got it!” as she headed into the brush by the side of the road. “Dottie’s in the bushes!” Aunt Anne cried out as mom disappeared from view.  I don’t recall if she got the ball or not, but she definitely caught every bramble on her way through the thicket.
It didn’t matter too much who won or lost…I think the losers had to do the dishes or something like that…but it was great fun, and everyone played….even us “littleuns,” like my brother Bob and I, who could always be counted on to strike out; except for the one time when I bunted and actually got on first base!

It’s moments like Jack’s family gathering that give me pause to wonder what life would have been like had I not left for California back in 1980. Would I have stayed married…had the standard 2.5 kids (aside from my birth son)…learned to drive…gotten a house…learned to be “normal?”  Would I have been any happier…would I still even be alive?

That last one is an important question…I wasn’t doing so good mentally back then, and didn’t have any prospects of doing any better mentally, job or otherwise…depression was about the only thing that I had in abundance, …it helped me go crazy.

Of course I had and still have my family, who I love and always have loved so very much….but back then, I knew they couldn’t help me…. how could they? I didn’t know how to explain what was wrong…uh, hi everybody, don’t mind me I’m just not myself today…hmmmmm.

Depression back then was still some “fringe” thing… something sexy for Phil Donahue to talk about. My depression was oceans deep and had several undercurrents…making me feel out of control, into my cups, under the gun and over the top most of the time. In the real world people were supposed to just tough up, grin-and-bear-it.

But in my case, trying to keep it together was making me fall apart. I tried to find local help, even after coming back from visiting San Francisco in 1978, but all anybody wanted to offer was group therapy two times a month for one hour…been there, done that…no thanks.

I was just supposed to go to California…plain and simple.

So, maybe in an alternate universe, I’d have gotten the white picket fence and matching puppies, minivan and garden club membership….but in this place on the space/time continuum, yours truly drew a different course.
For better or worse, it is what it is…not every choice was a good one, but they were all mine.

And you know what? With all its’ ups and downs, good times and bad…I’m grateful and happy for what life continues to bring. I’m fairly sane these days; though depression happens it’s no where near as paralyzing, or debilitating as it once was.  I’ve not lost time in quite a few years, have experienced my share of miracles and no longer fear the new day.

In light of all that, what can I say about Fifty-Five and it’s being “the New?”
Oh! I know! Fifty-Five is the New Life!  Because there’s still so much more livin’ left to do!

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