Something I know from racking up a lot of yesterdays is that most people don’t want to learn from the life lessons I’ve learned. Oh sure, someone might listen to me when I say don’t order spaghetti on a first date, but other than that, probably not – and for that matter, go ahead and order spaghetti. I had a date when I nervously jabbed a fork in my salad and sent the bowl flying across the room into an innocent waiter. The whole restaurant laughed. You can’t buy stories like that when you’re holding hands with someone special and laughing at your memories together.
I told a young couple once that the most important thing about making a relationship work is to stay engaged with each other. They thought that was too obvious and thought that would be easy. Of course it was for them. They were young and in love. Years later, they’re separated. It’s sad. Why couldn’t they learn from my experience that flying salad bowls aren’t enough to keep a relationship together unless you make an effort to keep laughing about it together?
I write a lot about yesterdays on this blog. It helps me center myself. In reminding myself of happy times, I can remind others to think happy thoughts too. I mentioned to an old lady recently that the longer I live, the more I realize that everyone has a story and pain. She nodded and gave me a little smile that made me feel like I passed a test I didn’t know I was taking.
My mom is buying property next to the house where I grew up. I have a lot of memories of that land, some good, some bad. I’ve been thinking a lot that I have a choice about what I’m going to remember and how that’s going to affect my now and my future. I’ve written about some of my conflicted feelings connected to that land last year here and here.
So, should I think about the bad man who once owned that property or my friend who died too young, or should I think about picking raspberries and making stuff from old farm equipment? I can still hear aluminum pie tins tinkling above blueberries and crows calling and feel the warm summer sun as I lay on my back and look at the blue sky while I listen to Dad talk about how much lime to put on raspberries.
It’s a choice. We can be as happy or as miserable as we want to be. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. If we’re grieving, all we feel is our pain. We aren’t thinking about how fortunate we are to have had someone we loved enough to grieve over. If our bodies hurt, we aren’t thinking about the times when all those nerve endings were exploding in ecstasy -- but we can rise above emotional or physical pain, and all those happy memories give us tools to use when we need them.
The sky is mostly blue today and it’s warmer than it usually is in March in Ohio. I’m going to walk that property where I have all those memories and remember good things. I’m deciding to have a happy day.
In Penny news, my geriatric puppy seems to be recovering from her emergency surgery last week. She’s still got a cone on her head so she won’t pull out her stitches, but she’s eating pretty well and can do her business outside. Yay! Let’s hope she lives a long and happy life!