Posts Tagged With: youth

 
 

Forever Young

Friday Letter to my Kids – July 17, 2015 –

Dear J, J. L, and L,

A month ago, consistently and often, well-meaning sales associates, grocery baggers, repairmen and strangers insisted on offering me their senior discounts. What a sweet gesture to want to help me save ten percent on my purchases and services. Unfortunately, I always walked away from such encounters deflated and more tired than I already felt. I didn’t think I looked all that old.

Then one day in less than four hours I was referred to as “young lady” a dozen times. I wasn’t sure how to take that either. I’m no spring chicken, so the reference felt a little odd. I should have accepted it as their way of being polite without making me feel old.

Surely there’s a balance between “senior discount” and “young lady”. I’ll let you know when I discover what it is.

Mom circa 1957

Mom circa 1957

Yesterday morning I spent some time with my mom, your Grandma M, looking at some of the many photo albums she’s compiled over the years. Next time you’re up her way you should ask her to show them to you. (They’re in the living room closet nearest to the front door on a shelf, if she forgets.)

One album my sister N had put together for them as a gift. That album had  photos of your Grandma and Grandpa as kids and as teenagers, as newlyweds and as young parents. I wanted to snap photos of all the photographs but restrained myself to just a couple.

Those pictures bore witness to the my mom as a clarinetist in her high school band and as a smartly coiffed, high-stepping majorette. She also competed in the first Miss Morgan beauty pageant with four other contestants. Ooo la la! I’ll bet  you didn’t know that about her.

Dad circa 1956?

Dad circa 1956?

We stumbled across some postcards with a 1947 postmark that my dad and his brother had painstakingly written to their mother (your great grandma M) who had apparently gone to Illinois to visit someone who’d had a baby. Grandpa’s handwriting improved drastically when he became an engineer and had to hand letter blueprints for the DOT. You’ve probably seen his distinctive penmanship, which could pass as a typesetting font.

Some of my favorite photos in the albums were of Mom and Dad’s courtship days. Such smiles! Such innocence! Such true love!

The photo albums sparked remembrances located mostly in the recesses of my brain, such as:

  • my Dad riding a tricycle with his knees on the back stand and his hands pedaling, quite a feat of dexterity for an adult
  • my Mom hanging sheets on the laundry line or holding my hand on a hike
  • my Dad riding motorcycles on mountain trails
  • peeking in on my parents when they hosted a card game night at our house, laughing raucously with their friends like they never quite laughed with us kids
  • Mom holding a newborn baby after each of my five younger siblings were born
  • Dad’s ear-piercing  whistle that we could hear from the bottomlands of the local park

They were quite a team, raising such a gaggle of offspring. Almost sixty years later, they depend on each other like never before. Dad tries to fill in the memory gaps and missing sequencing ability that Mom’s strokes have destroyed. He makes breakfast every morning for her and she provides background music on the piano throughout the day. She insists on her independence as much as life allows. He still teases Lulu the cat as if he were a sixteen year old. She still makes jokes and laughs at the funniest things. Dad still has a wanderlust and needs to go somewhere every day in the car, even if it’s just to town or the grocery store.

Despite what my eyes show me when I visit them, in my mind they will always be forever young,

They’ve seen a fair bit of the world, from Russia to Cancun and a lot in between, which for a couple of western kids born in the 1930’s says a lot about their willingness to try new things and step outside their comfort zones.

In my mind, my parents remain that young newlywed couple with a future laid out bright and wide before them. There’s no other way to think about it. Anything less is unfathomable; forever young and together forever.

It’s what I’d wish for each one of you. May you also be forever young.

All my love,

Mom

p.s. Here’s a cover version of that famous song by Bob Dylan. Listen and enjoy a wonderful song.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Categories: Family, Friday Letters to My Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Bicycle Heaven

It’s Gratituesday! I’m grateful that I’ve rediscovered my bicycle.

About four years ago I told myself I wanted to “access my inner twenty-year old.” I didn’t think that’d be very difficult, since mentally I mostly feel twenty years old anyway. In fact, when I accidentally catch a view of myself in a mirror I’m always surprised by the older face staring back at me. I sometimes don’t even recognize who it is.

Now I’m thinking I should have stretched a little further and tried to reach my inner sixteen year-old. That chick could haul herself up a two-mile hill on her ten-speed bike and still ride another twenty miles. A fearless, nearly worry-free young woman zipping around traffic, taking a break at the local college campus duck pond, she could eat three Dunkin’ Donuts with no concern whatsoever for their calorie count or nutritional value. She didn’t care what anyone else thought about her either.

What a life. What a woman!

Where did she go?

She’s still in here. I found her a few weeks ago when I bravely strapped on my bike helmet, hefted my leg over my mountain bike’s seat and set out on a short two-mile ride. She and I rode four miles instead and felt amazingly free and energized.

Then we rode the next day, a bit further, a bit faster.

Last Friday that inner sixteen year-old and I went almost nine miles and had energy to spare.

A short break to admire the view.

A short break to admire the view.

We prefer trails and winding paths to roads and sidewalks and will search those out in the weeks and months ahead. Will she and I attempt any mountain trails? Nah, probably not. I do, after all, still have the body of a middle-aged woman, one that hasn’t been very well cared for or pampered. But it’s healthy enough that it can take me and the inner sixteen year-old out on some adventures, beyond the walking paths of the local bird refuge, beyond strolling the city park.

Something crazy happens when I’m sitting in the seat of a bicycle. I can’t define it or decipher it. Freedom, maybe. Youth, perhaps. Self-sufficiency, could be. Whatever it is, I don’t feel like I’m “acting my age” when I’m pedaling a bike. But that’s not important. Who says I can’t ride? No one.

Oh, and don’t worry. No spandex is harmed or used in the making of this wondrous experience. I go more for the rugged-mountain-biker-who’s-been-lost-in-the-woods-too-long look. And I do slow down when I’m in the vicinity of rabbits. They seem confused by humans on bicycles and can dart in front of you with no warning. (A very similar experience to driving a car around Phoenix.)

I’ve had people laugh at me on my bike.Yeah, it happens. I don’t have a svelte biker’s body, hardly. (Hence, no spandex.) But I have the soul and heart of a young girl on her aunt’s hand me down 1950’s bike. That girl discovered something wonderful when the wind blew her hair out of her eyes as she propelled herself anywhere she wanted to go.

That young girl, that teenager, this middle-aged woman, we’re all grateful for two wheels, a well-oiled chain and pedals to take us anywhere we want to go anytime we want to go there.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Categories: Exercise, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Toast to the Younger Generation, Some of Them Anyway

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for those good kids, the ones that disprove the “teenager’s are all rotten theory.”  I know some amazing teens who are respectful, kind, thoughtful, conscientious, giving, selfless, happy, easy-going and still fun to hang out with. They continue to step up that way even when others their age revert to two-year-old behaviors of selfishness, tantrums. disrespect and disruption.

I want to hug these out of the norm happy wonders of the human race! I want to thank them for trying so hard. They deserve kudos and congratulations. They give me hope for our future.

gratitude wallpaper_16:9

(Photo credit: dontstealmypen)

These kids volunteer without complaint. They show up for assignments without whining. Listening without interrupting or texting is one of the most respectful things I’ve seen. They smile or wave at grownups without getting embarrassed. They say “thank you” and “please” and “sure, I can do that.” They show up to class on time, prepared, with homework done. They babysit siblings and neighbors and can be trusted to be responsible and reliable. They don’t back talk or make snide remarks or respond with sarcasm or a demeaning tone. They use appropriate terms like “Sir, Ma’m, Mrs. Ms.” They express appreciation to others. They want to make a difference where they can.

Being in the “betweenness” of childhood and adulthood isn’t easy. It looks easy to the adults because they have selective memory of their own teen life being all fun and hanging out. But if they’re honest with themselves they’ll also remember how tough it is trying to figure out who they are, what they want to become, where they’re going, how to manage the maze of hormones and emotions and angst and homework and social insanity.

If you are a teen who’s giving it your best shot, trying to make good decisions, working to help your family, being a good friend, being respectful to the adults and others in your life, pat yourself on the back, buy yourself a shake, give yourself some well deserved credit. And know that you’re noticed and appreciated and yes, even loved!

If you have a teen in your life who is one of these great people, please let them know you appreciate how hard they work at being a good person. Let them know in real, tangible, out-loud ways, that they are wonderful and cared for and doing a great job.

Don’t blow smoke and make something up either. Praise the real things you’re seeing. And don’t sandwich it between criticism of what they aren’t succeeding at. Just let it be out there all by itself. Here’s a few suggestions:

“You are doing a great job at being kind to your brother.”

“I love how you hold the door for people!”

“Thanks for helping out with dinner today, it means a lot to me when you step up like that.”

“I know it isn’t easy holding down a job while going to school, you’re da’ bomb!”

“I appreciate how respectful you are to your mother and other adults.”

How glad I am to see such good stuff happening in the lives of young people. I’m making it a priority to send out more appreciation, live and in person to these good kids. I hope you’ll join me.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Hope, People, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A View from Younger Eyes

I once fancied myself a poet of sorts. I let go of that idea for a long time. Then, I recently came across a book of collected poems by my younger self. Each poem was typed, then cut out and carefully pasted into a blank book.  The gold lettering, hand-pressed to the outside cover and spine, still looks pretty good. It’s the most professional look I could manage given the technology of the time.

Now I could key in an address, get out my credit card and order up a professionally printed, bound, self-authored, illustrated book. Maybe someday.

There’s an honest quality to the typewritten page. The corrected type speaks volumes. The indentations that punctuation make into the paper  give the poem a tangible finality.

The temptation to edit and polish the poem before sharing it was strong. But, I like the unjaded, unedited perspective of youth. To quell the editor in me I simply photographed the poem from the page in my book to share right here.

- Kami M Tilby

– Kami M Tilby

I’m not sure I have it in me anymore to write poetry. It’s a stark, open-bellied, sense of exposure  to write a poem. There isn’t any excess verbiage to hide behind, no explanatory prefacing. It’s like a literary photograph. The writer must say, “This is my perspective, this is what I saw, nothing more, nothing less. Take it or leave it.”

Categories: Outdoors, Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“When You are Old” An Unexpected Perspective of Love

When You are Old by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

One of Yeats’ lesser known poems. I especially like the perspective from a life well lived.

I find that poetry is best enjoyed when read aloud. The cadence and the roll of the words across your tongue add a dimension of beauty and depth. Try it.  Then read it out loud a second time a bit slower and you’ll find it warming you from within.

If you’re really brave, read it out loud to someone you love, a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent, yourself.

I think everyone should have a poem or two about love tucked away in their memory. Silly,  poignant, freeing, flowing, sad, gleeful, tender. Even a limerick will do if it’s one that can bring a laugh to your day or a smile to your lips.

If  you have a favorite poem about love I’d be delighted if you’d share it with me.

Categories: Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Excerpt From An Old Journal Entry

I am a thousand thoughts racing feverishly around in a brain filled with too many lists, too many clocks, too many people, too little time.  A startled face appears when I look into a mirror and realize the person whose blue eyes look back at me looks nothing like the person running around in my head.

I think to myself, “Who are you and why are you looking at me like that?”

I am awash in wanting to make tangible all the racing thoughts, the flowing seeds of ideas, the recipes of change and reordering. I am often lost in a field of wanting to create and tangled in a sea of half-begun.  Everything around me is a partially completed creation.

I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. I am afraid.  I am committed to noncomittment.  I hide behind all the thinking and not doing and am not merely hidden from others, but lost to myself.

“I am trying,”  I tell the person looking back at me from the mirror, “someday all this trying will come to something.”

Then the person in the mirror asks, “Come to what?”

I answer with silence.

I have reached the age where it seems incomprehensible that I am still attempting to answer this question of who I am.

Shouldn’t I have more answers by now?  Shouldn’t I have a book or two filled with answers?

Should I still keep asking the questions?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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