The iconic Clock from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris – the Museum was formerly a train station, so clocks are everywhere, and my message for you is time-oriented…
Here I am again, inside the chaotic and dangerous inner sanctum of the pandemic, except I have finished another trip around the sun. I had a birthday, in spite of covid. My heart goes out to all those people whose life journey has ended much too soon. I grieve for you and your families every day. It is like Russian Roulette, this disease. Chances are that you might get it in some random, thoughtless nanosecond when your guard is down. I hope not. Never lose your focus and your awareness of what you are doing, where you are doing it, what your hands are touching and the quality of the air you are breathing. We are all stuck together here in this moment in time, and I care about you.
They say you should write about what you know, and I know all of this. Later birthdays are difficult under even normal circumstances, but when you get up into numbers that are in the clouds birthdays can be stunning and sobering. It seems the older you get the more you think about the past. I try, teeth gritted, not to do that. I make it almost my mantra to live in the now.
The nights are the most daunting. Oh I can fall asleep just fine, but waking up at 3:42 am every morning is predictably infuriating. I know I am not alone.
For weeks, months, even years our “getting older” minds are awakened in the pitch blackness to worry about THINGS. We waste the wee hours on trivial pursuits – what was my dog’s name when I was 6 years old? How come I never liked that one curly-headed kid in my biology class? Isn’t he famous or something now? Why did I have to learn about where babies come from in an idiotic, intellectually insulting book that my mom handed me much too late? But more often the worst case scenarios dominate our thoughts. The hot water heater is on its last legs. It will probably quit when I can least afford to replace it. Probably Christmas Eve. That pain in my leg is probably something really bad. I don’t feel comfortable going to see my doctor during a pandemic. I will just wait it out and worry about it again tomorrow night. Are blue whales really making a comeback?
The things you wake up to worry about are often suddenly replaced, in your waking life, by a different big worry thing, worse than all the other things that you ever anticipated, that surprises the heck out of you. Oh my god I never even thought of that! The entire furnace goes out plus the hot water heater! You find out that pain in your own leg is just unimportant arthritis but someone else you dearly love has a far more dire health issue. How silly of you to have been worried about your mere leg, you say. Those stakes were not high-value worrying at all. Just your leg. What a waste of time.
Once in a while the thing you were so worried about never ever happens and you are shocked by a wonderful something that distracts you completely from worrying and renews your joy and optimism. That can happen. One year my daughter amazed me with the news that I was going to Paris! For my birthday! Well that surprise shot right up past everything on the worry list to top notch #1 most wonderful of things. A whole different list! Both my kids are always telling me I am going to live to be a hundred. (But is that supposed to be a good thing? Do I really want to?) They seem to have gotten a call from somewhere, from someone who knows, because they are so sure. But usually when my birthday comes, every single year, I can’t help but wonder how many of them I have left. My sweet daughter says, enthusiastically, “Mom you are not done yet! You still have things to do! Things to see! Start thinking about what you would like to do on your eightieth!” So I wonder if someday when I am 97 or a hundred, the two of them will quietly slide over to me and tell me, in a kind quiet voice, in my totally deaf ear, “Mom it is time now. Get your stuff together. You are done. “
With this blog post I am beginning a new-ish direction with my blog posts – I realize I will be losing a chunk of younger followers with this move but that is ok. I feel the urgent need to write what I know for sure about being older, starting out now, in the time of “cholera”, and continuing on into any time and place I want to go, for that matter. The experience will be bittersweet. Funny as hell one moment and tragic comedy in the next, but forever real. I hope to touch upon all subjects that we seniors are dealing with. Health, spirituality, love, romance, hobbies, self-worth, travel, inspiration and basic everyday living. I invite you to come along, no matter what your numerical age or your mental age, because I believe you all will find something of relevance here.
I will include an image with each blog, either a photograph from my own travels or a painting of my own creation, (often smaller and more affordable than my usual painting size). Prices will be listed.
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