A World of Pure Imagination

February 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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Sitting on the floor of my brother’s apartment, I play with his son, my nephew.  Just shy of 3 years old, he’s so smart.  He mimics everything I say.  He loves to play with toy cars and trains.  He knows all the types of cars he has — mail truck, fire truck, dump truck, everything.  I watch him and can see his imagination running wild, and I yearn so badly to feel what he is feeling as he learns all about the world.

As a kid, it is so easy to use your imagination to build a world around you.  From role playing, to building forts, to creating families and characters  with dolls and creating different situations for them to tackle.  We play games, pretend to be airplanes, are afraid of monsters under our beds.  Our world in reality may be small, but in our imaginations, the world is full of endless possibilities.

As we get older, we stop playing these games and our imagination morphs into something else.  I was into witchcraft as a teen and after seeing The Craft and Now & Then one too many times, I kept a spell book, read tarot cards, held seances in the nearby cemetery.  I was going to bring Judy Garland back from the dead.  When I wasn’t being a witch, I was dreaming of boys and my future husband. Who in my class would I marry?  The world was small, still, and I was still shielded from life’s harsh realities.

I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but I was a writer. I was a poet.  I was going to somehow make my name known to the world with my words.  The pain that I felt between the real life tragedies and the teenage dramedies I created, I had something to say.  It is in my writing that I am able to connect back to the imagination that lives deep down inside me.

I know it is there.  We don’t ever lose our imagination, but the realities of life put a damper on what we think is possible.  We see obstacles, timelines, responsibilities, impossibilities.  All of those silly ideas we had as kids seem so unfathomable.  We lose the optimism that comes with having a great imagination.

It is true that there are some things we cannot control. This is something I have to remind myself of everyday.  But my fantasies, my dreams, my imagination, these are the things I try to push to the forefront.  Because a world without imagination is a world without light.

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Responsibility — What’s that?

February 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing up, I was never much of a trouble-maker.  I was certainly not a goody-two-shoes, but I was never sent to the Principal’s office, never grounded, and never arrested.  I found the balance in having fun without completely breaking the rules.  Sure I trespassed, cut class, snuck out of the house, drank underage and all the typical stuff, but I typically did what was expected of me — I was an Honor Roll and AP student.  I also had fairly lenient parents who were more likely to make me feel guilty than to punish me.  Disappointing them and telling them when I was in trouble was always much worse than any punishment was.

I think this is why I had a great reputation with my friends’ parents.  Many of my friends would often use me as their safeguard when they wanted to go out and do something their parents didn’t approve of, whether it was staying over at a boyfriend’s house or going to a club.  I was mostly open and honest with my parents about my activities, so I had few restrictions as long as I was careful. For my friends, they needed someone their parents could trust to help them save face.  I became that person early on — the “responsible” one.  My friends may find this laughable, but I was playing a good game.

When I got to college, I was fairly advanced in terms of teenage vices.  While several of my new friends had not yet drank or been intimately active, I was ahead of the curve.  I wasn’t an expert drinker in the least but I was always very good and pretending to be sober when I needed to.  I could hold myself together pretty well. I had learned early on from my mistakes.

These skills have come in handy throughout my life, and to this day when I go out, I always know when it’s time to go.  But responsibility only gets you so far when others are involved. Somehow others have not developed this same sense.  In my mind, nothing good happens in a bar after 3 am.  This is when all inhibitions are lost and if you are lucky the worst that happens is you end up in the bed of a guy who has a giant tattoo on his back that you somehow didn’t notice the night before.  But the outcome could be much worse than that.

I may sound like an old person when I say this, but look how long I’ve survived.  There is definitely a way to balance being wild and adventurous with a sense of responsibility.  Maybe one day others will catch on, but maybe not.  Whatever works for them, but I’m happy to play the role of the “responsible one.”

My Body, My Health: Observations in Aging

January 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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When I was 22 years old, I found myself sitting at my desk, new to the working world, scratching my legs furiously.  My skin had gotten so dry, no amount of lotion seemed to offer any relief.  It was at this point when my colleague, then 29, told me about the 7 year theory — every 7 years your body goes through a series of changes as part of the evolution of aging. This was probably the turning point for me in terms of being aware of my health.

Since then I’ve been keenly aware of some changes and that is just one of several lessons I’ve learned about my body and my health. Here are a few other things I have learned.

1. Your body will begin to reject food you once loved.  That stomachache you got from eating 3 slices of pizza was your body telling you that you went too far.  And sure, McDonalds sounds like a good idea now, but you will regret it an hour later.

2. Face makeup does have a purpose.  I was never one to wear foundation, powder or moisturizer or any of that stuff, which probably was a good thing because I never had a problem with acne, but I get it know.  For starters, it’s not just the cover up.  Face moisturizer more than anything is a necessity in keeping skin healthy and elastic.  The truth is, skin doesn’t stay elastic or bright.  With age comes exhaustion, permanent circles under the eyes, the infant stages of wrinkles awaiting in the shadows.  Some beauty products can help if you don’t overdo it.

3. You will recognize sickness more readily.  That tickle in your throat will strike the worry chord and before you know it, you will be at the store stocking up on Mucinex and NyQuil.  You will allow the sickness to run its course because ignoring it will only make matters worse. Related to this…

4. You will medicate your symptoms.  I was never one to pop pills at the first sign of discomfort.  If I had a headache, I’d drink water and take a nap.  Nowadays I find headache, stomach and allergy medicine in every purpose I carry. This one I say with some caution.  There are certain instances where I am still very reserved about medication — mainly in relation to sleepless nights.

5. Drinking alcohol will become harder and you will stop fighting it.  Just a few years ago I blogged about how I still party the way I did as a young 20 something.  I have watched that change over recent years.  I still enjoy a nice glass of wine and drink some liquor on occasion, but the end goal has changed.  Once I get the buzz, I usually stop while I’m ahead.

6. The numbers on the scale go up, even if physical changes seem undetectable.  It’s an evil little trick, but somehow those 5 pounds snuck up on you and things will never be the same, because…

7. Losing weight only gets harder.  Sure you’ve cut out soda and junk food, but that’s not enough.  Even working out every day may not be enough to make those pounds go away, but you need to do it anyways because it’s more than a story of weight — it’s a story of health. And lastly and most importantly,

8.  Becoming in tune with your body and its needs grows increasingly important.  Like most things in life, it’s not about some expert’s advice on how you should live your life, save your money, parent this way, etc, etc.  Assuming you are healthy for the most part and don’t have any addictive vices that would change things, your body will tell you what it needs. Your body will tell you when it’s time to stop something.  When I was younger, I didn’t listen to my body several times and got very sick because of it.  Just like a dog, your body has ways of communicating that are non-verbal.  Take the non-verbal queues and tune in.

Getting older is not always a beautiful thing, but much of it is mind over matter.  Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to strengthen it and don’t give up on it.  It’s the only one you’ve got.

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