Thursday, December 27

By Degrees

Last Sunday at church I over heard a beautiful young married telling another of equally enchanting status that returning to school and getting her degree would take so long she would be like, gosh - "in my 40's or something really old like that!" The added emphasis shot from her lips like semi-automatic bullets. I almost tripped into their laps. I think I sputtered "thank you" while both girls fretted about my reaction. "Oh, sorry! We know 40 isn't that old or anything..." yeah, just old enough.

Old enough to be what?
Dead? Stiff and calcified? Totally useless? Beating a hasty retreat, I was wondering what in the world she thought was going to take 18 years to earn a degree in ~

I admit I'm feeling slower in the morning because things ache, and I am super annoyed I can't see anything without stinkin' reading glasses, but I hardly feel like I am so old. I can remember being young and amazing like it was yesterday -

Case in point: leaving the Cameo Wedding Reception Hall on East McDowell 7 Nov. 1975: I'll have you know the geometric patterned polyester slacks and white patent leather shoes of this dashing groom were the height of male fashion. The corduroy jumper and RED wedge shoes of the bride were considered very flashy. You can't see it, but the pukka shell necklace was also "in". The vinyl purse was a cheap imitation for leather, but you couldn't tell right away. Too bad her hair is so curly, or you would agree it was the required waist-length to be truly sensational. Mostly I see in this yellowing Duke photograph a brilliant, double confidence that the world was about to be conquered.

I make no apologies to beautiful young things who see their life expanding in front of them forever and ever and ever. I did that, too. Now it doesn't seem like forever, but it feels a lot more "bite-size". I hope I have more control over my perceptions about what is obtainable, what is worthwhile, and most of all - what is required to get there. I got all A's the last 3 semesters at Phoenix College being the only granny in class for all but one. I loved every minute of it because it was so thrilling to learn.

I didn't conquer the world after all, but I'm not 40, either. I'm better than that. I hope I finally lose weight and buy some cute clothes this New Year. I hope I take my grandson Jack on many more stroller walks this year, that I will hear him call me "grandma", and that I will see all my children happy and approaching life's challenges with creative strategies. I hope I can plant things that don't die, learn how to make tamales and publish one or more of my projects that have sat burning a hole in the file cabinet for way too long. I hope I will always feel the rush of obliging control that ebbs from the tip of a brand new watercolor brush, the heart-racing from music or the magic of "beautiful language", and always feel gratitude for odd, funny little things that happen on a daily basis no matter what.

It is a very good plan to learn by experience as much as possible, and by observation when that option is preferable. Happy New Year to biting quickly into life a little at a time and taking longer tasting it.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

YAY for all A's!! Going to school as an adult has a whole different motivation than it did at age 18. YAY for you!!
Love the photo --I remember 1975. There was a lot of polyester fashion being worn around our house. Also, corduroy jumpers - I made one on my own sewing machine -- and, of course wedge shoes. How could anyone not love the 70's?? The hard thing about polyester is that it NEVER wore out. You could hope for a stain that would render it unwearable, but our parents wouldn't replace an article of clothing that was just as perfect as the first day it was worn. I have a bright green polyester dress from my childhood my mom saved for me. Who knows how long I was forced to wear that thing, but it looks brand new!!