As suggested in my last post, this one is inspired by this online essay.
When I read the title and the first paragraph I must admit I was certain they were going to ask the author to be best man at their wedding or something. And that the author was going to memorialize how his whole attitude toward love and marriage had changed as a result. Wow, two strikes right off the bat. One, there was no wedding, and two, the author is a woman.
To be honest, I nearly stopped reading there, which would have been strike three because I would have missed out. Thankfully, the very next sentence was:
“How would you describe your perfect day if money and time weren’t an issue?”
A simple enough question, right? It could even seem shallow from a certain perspective. But where that question lead the author was on an amazing journey of self-discovery and renewal.
Renewal is something I haven’t given a lot of thought. But her story made me wonder whether I’d have the courage to reinvent myself given the chance. This post was going in a different direction in my head the other day, but one night I heard my daughter K (the one who recently broke up) explain to her nephew why she wasn’t looking for a new boyfriend.
She said that we’re all like houses. When we invite someone inside and they “trash” our house we need to clean it up. You don’t want to invite someone into your messy house. But family is always welcome, because family loves you even when your house is a mess. What a clever way to explain how she’s feeling to a child. My daughter is wiser than she knows.
So, cleaning house and renewal – they could go hand in hand couldn’t they?
The first step I think is to identify the mess, the clutter, the stuff that needs to be cleaned out of my “house”. That could be anything from ghosts of my childhood to the resentments I hold onto to my regret over So. Many. Wrong. Choices. Identifying the crap isn’t difficult. I wish someone would tell me a foolproof way to clean it up. That tip would be worth its weight in gold…or um, dark chocolate at least.
Crap identified, and assuming I’ve found a nifty trick for getting it to the dump and out of my house – what does renewal mean to me?
Back to the essay’s example – how would you describe your perfect day?
Like the author, I’d start by waking up in a big comfortable bed – without pain thank you very much, and only after sleeping completely through the night without having to answer nature’s call umpteen times! Breakfast would include fresh cut fruit, wonderfully rich coffee and a real French croissant – you know the ones I mean – with the bottoms that crunch when you bite into them and there are little explosions of buttery goodness on your tongue. Of course neither the gluten* nor the calories would exist. Okay, so maybe that last part is pure fantasy. Hell, it’s MY perfect day isn’t it?
I tried to come up with what I would do next, I really did. What life-changing activity would make me happy? My mind wandered to daydreams I’ve had in the past about traveling the US by motorhome, going where and when I wanted. But that’s only fun in daydreams. In real life it’s a lot of damn work!
If time travel was a thing I would go back to when my hands worked well enough that I could knit for hours without pain. I miss that sense of accomplishment; seeing the finished baby sweater or afghan or socks was always a thrill. I made that! That isn’t something time or money will fix; my hands just aren’t strong enough any more. And any strength they do have is invested in my job.
Gardening entered my life last year and while it wasn’t the most successful, I did enjoy it – at first. This year it’s been a bit derailed by family obligations, not to mention laziness (I try to be honest with myself, I really do). I have part of one raised bed planted but nothing at all in the other. It makes me cringe when I step out the back door and see all the wasted space. And while the other bed has some plants, there’s no trellis for the peas or cage for the tomatoes. They’ve banded together, growing into each other for support. I can only hope the peas’ tiny tendrils don’t eventually strangle the cherry tomatoes. I wish I could say I missed working with the garden the way I miss knitting. Maybe the change I’d ask for in this area would be to enjoy it again, so it would seem more like fun and less like work.
Hmm, what else would my perfect day hold? The author talks about cooking with friends and laughing with her daughter. Those both sound good to me. When we visit my best “IRL” friend we usually bring take out but long ago when we lived nearer we’d gather at her place and everyone brought something to share. One time I brought a cinnamon crumb cake mix which we all liked and while it baked we got out the packet of icing drizzle. There were three of us menopausal women there that night, and wine may have been involved. Just sayin’.
The package of icing noted that it should be warmed to make the icing easier to drizzle over the cake. I’m sure the company intended that we stick the packet into a cup with hot tap water or something. But E thought she could warm it more, um, efficiently? When she stuck that packet of icing between her jean-clad thighs there was a dead silence in the kitchen for about a second, and then the three of us were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. And continued to laugh. And laugh. The menfolk thought we were nuts. But they were in the other room and can be excused this once.
It’s not as funny seeing it on the page, and my memory has lost whatever it was that E said when she was doing it (because I’m certain that made it funnier) but just reliving it in my head as I tried to put it down here made me grin like a fool. I would definitely cook with friends more.
Laughing with my daughter(s) has never been a problem. From the time my middle daughter played hide and seek in a round clothing rack at the store, popping out between the hangers using a different voice each time, to watching another daughter name the spider she found in our house, to shopping at Goodwill with K and making fun of clothing we wouldn’t be caught dead in.
I have to say, I think I have a pretty good life – in spite of what some of my whinier posts would have you believe. After almost 60 years on the planet I’d have a difficult time deciding what I would change if I could. Truthfully, the only thing I would change right this very minute if I could would be to clean my house – literally. Get rid of all the extraneous stuff: books I’ll never open let alone read (algebra textbooks for example); extra anything; clothing that hasn’t fit (either of us) in years; old stereo equipment we never use. You name it, I can probably find it in a corner somewhere.
That my friends, would make me happier – having a clutter-free home, where everything serves a purpose and when it no longer does it’s outta there!
So what would your perfect day look like, hmm?
*It is a sad truth that Janey seems to have developed an intolerance for gluten. Stupid gluten. You know what that means, right? No. More. Beer. Oh the horror!