I work as a cashier at a big box store. It's one of those super stores that is a department store on one side and a grocery store on the other. Most of my colleagues are either very young, or 50-ish (I'm not sure what that says about the employment situation here, but that's a subject for another day). Consequently, I ring up many purchases of alcohol. "May I trouble you for your date of birth?" I ask anyone who looks over 35. To anyone middle aged or older, I might ask, "are you sure you're over 21." It's fun to make a joke, but frequently I get this wistful, wry answer, "I wish I was 21 again...".
Well I don't wish I was 21 again.
Don't get me wrong. It was an interesting year. But I really like who I am right now.
There is a book called "Be Here Now" by Baba Ram Dass, aka Richard Alpert, Ph.D. It was very big back in the day. When I was 21 I interpreted it in a sort of twisted Carpe Diem way... When I had only one year of college to complete, for example, I quit school to live an urban commune. It seems to me that I could have said "right now, I'm in school and I'm moving to a commune." But that was then, as they say, and this is now.
What I am learning today, and I hope I am continually learning, is that I pretty much like the person I am now, and while I am certainly a version of my 21-year-old self, I am definitely not the same girl I was way back then.
Having said all that, I could do without the aches and pains. I went to the doctor today because of a pain in my foot...turns out I have a Bunion and a Bunionette. The doctor, a young woman with some unrelated foot problems, empathetically recommended a particular shoe store. It won't make the pain go all the way away, but it was a great excuse to buy new shoes.
When my mother was in her last months on the planet, she celebrated her 88th birthday. A dear friend asked her, "if you could be any age you've been, what age would you wish to be?".
Mother asked, "how old am I today?"
"Eighty-eight" was the reply.
"Eighty-eight", my mother answered.
What's the lesson in that? Baba Ram Dass has nothing on my mother... Be Here Now.
Right now, I am a plumpish old girl with bunions (and a bunionette) and two pairs of new shoes.
Right now I am a healthy woman who is running at least 2 1/2 miles, four times a week.
Right now I am an employed person with pretty good insurance.
Right now I am breathing.
- ► 2012 (14)