Treasure the Simple, Value the Complex

As I was unpacking for my second year of dorm life, the wife of one of my professors stopped by and peeked in to see how I was doing. She brought a dozen chocolate chip cookies, which I no doubt quickly devoured, and looked around with a smile.

Cargo Overload
First,  it no longer fits in your car.

“I always get nostalgic when I see you kids unpack,” she said. “It reminds me of a time when life was simpler, and you could pack everything you own in the back of your car. Pretty soon you’ll start gathering necessities and the load will get bigger and bigger.” She paused.  “I miss the simple times.”

I wondered what load she was talking about, the furniture, books, dishes and clothes that filled her home, or the burdens of raising a family, managing a career and keeping the love alive in her marriage.

I’ve been working to clear out as much of what I own as I can, to keep that load as simple as possible. It’s a lot more practical that way, especially when you anticipate another move sometime in the future (I rent, so it’s inevitable). As for the rest of my life, I’m not sure if I’ve missed out by not having a few more complications.

I’ve never been married, never had children. The reasons I’ve stayed away from those commitments aren’t clear to me. Growing up, my parents had a troubled marriage, but plenty of people with a similar childhood have gone on to raise families of their own, some successful, some, not so much.

It gets lonely sometimes without the connections that come from having your own family. On the other hand, I have friendships that go back as far as those college days, including that professor and his wife. Even before social media made it easier, we kept in touch.

Every path has its moments of beauty as well as treacherous turns.

With my mental health issues (I have bipolar disorder, which is well-managed but ever present) a simple lifestyle seems to suit me better. I get overwhelmed easily, and need my space. Don’t get me wrong. In no way, shape or form am I telling others with the same disorder, or anything similar, to stay away from marriage and family. It may be your salvation.

No matter how we try, life isn’t simple, and we need others to be there in both trying times and moments of joy. I thankfully have the support I need in my life, and I’m well aware the loneliest women are those in unhappy marriages. It’s hard to reach out and admit your husband is failing you.

Every path has its moments of beauty as well as treacherous turns. The load gets bigger as we get older, but the simple can be found. Treasure the simple, value the complex.

Life is made up of both, and the balance we have in our lives is often what we’ve sought out, what we’re comfortable with, perhaps how we can be most successbigstock-little-girl-with-umbrella-in-t-86027189-convertedful. Yes, we need to evaluate from time to time if we should challenge ourselves and take on new ventures, whether they involve moving up or down the simple-to-complex scale.

Frankly, however, life has a way of doing that for us most of the time. We make our decisions according to our needs. So for now, I’m taking a deep breath, picking up a good book and having a simply restful evening.

Simple

Image Credits: (Moving “Van”)  © James Group Studios Inc — AdobeStock; (Girl in Rain) © lavitrei — Bigstock

Hey, Cupid! Over here! I SAID OVER HERE!

On occasion well-meaning friends will say, “I just don’t understand why you’ve never gotten married. You’re so blahdadeblah and blahblah!” Come to think of it, it’s almost always my newer friends who say this…hmmm…

Cupid's StruckWell, yes, I am all those things, but I’m also something else: really slow on the uptake. Always have been. I do not pick up on clues from or about men, and since I don’t, I’ve never had any experience in responding to them. My imagination doesn’t even go there.

I need a good wing man, but typically those who might fill that role are so stunned or amused by my oblivion they don’t step up.

I’ve been chatting with a really nice man at my church lately. Nice, good looking, successful. (You don’t know how remarkable it is I’m aware of all those things and their “value.”) Today, it’s quite possible he threw out the hook for going out to lunch after the service. I just stared at it. In all fairness, it’s been a long dry spell.

As he was walking away, I cried out inside. Bad enough I missed my chance, but it probably stung for him, and looked like rejection.

It wasn’t. It was sheer stupidity on my part.

This comes close on the heels of meeting a man who, as it happens, was also introduced to a friend of mine several months before (not for a set-up or anything, just in the course of the day). I mentioned to her I’d talked to him for a little while (it actually was a long while), and her eyes lit up.

“What?” I asked.

“He’s a good-looking man,” she said, with a raised eyebrow and knowing nod.

He is? I thought about it, and darn if she wasn’t right. Now, we all know the relative value of looks in a relationship, so it’s important to note this guy is pretty nice, too. Charming. I did notice that, although it had taken some time to register.

I had had plenty of time to flirt with him, but it’s just as well THAT didn’t happen. Like I said, those skills are not highly refined. I might end up looking like a sad character on a popular sitcom.

I have before. I know, we all have. But for most it ends up alright and another stage of relationship mortification begins.

It’s more likely than not I’ll never see that second man again, and I have no idea if the first man can be convinced it was me, not him. Sounds like a line.

So Cupid, a little extra help here. You’ve been doing pretty good, is it too much to ask for another chance with someone of the same ilk?

Hey, you little fat-cheeked pixie, don’t just fly away! Get back here! NOW! DAMMIT CUPID! Okay. Be that way.

Uh, yes, oblivion perhaps isn’t the only thing keeping the men away.

Cupid Take Aim
Wait, wait, before you shoot that arrow…must love cats!  I’m not giving up Walter and Mimi!

 

 

Image Credits: (Clouds) © Pakhnyushchyy – Fotolia; (Heart Background) © karandaev – Fotolia; (Cupids) © vectorartisfree.com

on aging–don’t make me say it–gracefully

I’m glad fall is near for one simple reason: I look so much better in fall & winter clothes.

I’m not particularly thrilled my ego is that sensitive, but at the same time, I dread the day I no longer care about my appearance at all.

time and tideIt would be nice to start caring a little less as a I get older, and I think I probably already do, or I’d be in a panic as I watched the signs of aging creep in on me. I don’t recall ever believing I’d get this old. Not that I thought I’d die young, I just didn’t think I’d ever age. Yes, logically I knew I would, but my mind generally wouldn’t go there.

It still doesn’t, until I look in the mirror and can no longer deny it. I’m in my 50s. How the hell did that happen so soon? It’s not going to get better, so I need to figure out how to deal with the disappointment. Just why does it bother me?

Part of it, I suppose, is being single. Like it or not, how you look affects your ability to captivate the opposite sex, and I’m not feeling the same power I used to. Not that I ever felt powerful, but still, on a good day I felt competitive.

So to keep from getting lonely, I need to look good? I don’t think that’s a truth I want to start believing.

But here’s the other thing: aging gracefully is a requirement for people older and wiser than I (believe I) am. The driver’s license isn’t letting me get away with thinking I’m any younger, but wiser is harder to assess, and I just don’t know if I measure up.

I don’t want to be an old fool. I know a few of those, and becoming one probably scares me more than anything else.

There is one piece of wisdom I’ve acquired. All the plastic surgery in the world isn’t going to keep you from looking older. It has its benefits for some, but it’s not likely it will ever be something I’ll consider. I’m looking for other alternatives, including attitude, to take its place.

Attitude, and hair color.


Image Credit: (clock) © Jakub Krechowicz; (water) © JulietPhotography; (sky) © Kirsty Pargeter; (wood) © Filip Miletic–all, Fotolia