A mournful tune plays the harp with no strings …
While the off-key
Invisible woman sings
Something is happening in New Brunswick. This something has potential.
So often over the years I’ve met people who say they would love to take up music or art but they simply have no talent.
These days what they tell me is that they are too old.
Again yesterday I met someone who told me that he had always wanted to play music but he is now too old.
“Nonsense” I wanted to tell him as I often wanted to tell those who said they had no talent.
You are never too old for music or art.
Getting old means the time has come to finally stop that fast train to nowhere and get off and learn to appreciate the view of life from up close. If the view is fuzzy well then get new glasses.
Getting old is about realizing that no matter how great your pension or how much money and power and prestige you might have earned, these things just don’t look the same from this side of the lifeline as they did in your youth.
Then again, maybe yours was not a life of great accomplishments. What if you’ve lived a life far short of what you imagined, and never reached the goals you set when you were young? What if you’ve accumulated so much debt and responsibility that even a declaration of bankruptcy is not an option because too many people depend upon you?
What if you’ve devoted your life to your organization or community or church and you no longer feel there is place for you there? What if you never were able to build up that comfortable, secure family nest? What if the values you tried to instill in your children have experienced a severe melt-down and their lifestyles seem shallow? What if finally letting go those long-held dreams and aspirations for your children renders your own life meaningless? What if you hardly recognize your grandchildren because they have grown away from you in a new world you hardly understand?
Getting old is not about giving up and crawling away somewhere while you wait to die.
Getting old does not mean that you are destined to live your remaining years under the shadow of old memories … Grandpa aimlessly rocking away the last years of his life … Grandma strapped to her bed in the nursing home so she can’t fall and break another hip.
Getting old is more about realizing that the extreme sport period of your life might definitely be over. Maybe even curling and bowling is something your body can no longer handle. Getting old does not mean it’s time to haul out that old rocking chair and become the ghostly image of some decrepit grandpa. Getting old is about having courage.
It takes courage to step outside the little box of images that has been handed to you by your family, your profession and your society. It takes courage to defy those who would force you into some quiet, safe little corner. It takes courage to declare that you will not go quietly into the night.
Where do you find the courage to believe that life still holds great possibilities, that you can learn new skills when everyone around you is spending most of their time and energy dragging themselves back and forth between doctors and hospitals and clinics? How do you not feel guilty for wanting to be selfish and reject this culture of age-related illness?
Yes, it takes courage … and how do you convince yourself that as long as you are still alive you can still find enjoyment?
A first step might be to realize that each day is a gift to be accepted with enthusiasm and joy. If music or art is what brings you that joy … then why not gather up as much enthusiasm as you can and explore that path?
Dancing on tables? Hmmm … A bit of an extreme sport do you think?
Maybe Hanna could help.
Or the Dueling Fiddlers.
Lost? You asked if I am lost?
Nope. Not lost. Not I.
Yes I do have a map.
I’d be happy to share.
You might almost say
Sharing is my middle name.
Even the best of maps
Now and then
Here and there
Can use a little tweaking
Maps, these years
Are printed on paper
Not written in stone
As any civilized scholar
Might point out
Many paths lead to the same well.
The well is where the women used to go to talk
The well, if wells could talk
Might have many stories to share
Where are the women?
September is nearly here and both young and mature hopefuls will soon be leaving home in search of that age-old scholars’ dream.
Long ago this old gal had that same dream. Mine was to go to the best art school in New Brunswick. Being accepted was the first step. I’ll never forget that day I held the official registration paper in hand. That was the most thrilling experience I would ever have. I was in.
The year was magical. I had never worked so hard but I was determined. I loved everything about artschool. Sadly though, there simply was not enough money to get me through the year. By April, struggling to survive day after day had taken its toll. No, I was not drinking or smoking or wasting money. There was no money to waste.
Every year at this time I think back and wonder … Why … And a few years ago I wrote this little non-prayer to remind me that I did the best I could … I dedicate it to September’s new batch of recruits. Good Luck. Hang in there and fight hard for your right to a good education. Nobody is going to hand it to you.
Yes God, I know you did help get me into art school … As I told you … I really really appreciated that. I’ll always be grateful. But that was first year God. You know … After all are You not All-knowing? That is, after all, what the nuns taught. You gotta be kidding God. Nah, Nah, they would never ever lie.
So, you helped me get into first year. Then what happened? Second year was coming up … Well you know I could have used a little help there too. So why did you all of a sudden dump me God? … No … Oh no God … No faulty memory in this old gal … You dumped me … Well you let the civil servants dump me … Same thing … You let it happen. But You are the one I hold responsible. I had faith in you way back then God … I worked so hard … I did my best … Fact remains … You dumped me. Now You ask why I am not grateful to You? What is there to be grateful for? Dumped out of first year Art school … Forced back into the little box … No opportunity for anything … No chance of even the most menial of jobs … You are quite right that no fuzzy feelings of gratitude were about to waft Your way … Not from this lady… No siree …
Just received another message from PM Steve … Something about some woman … Nope never heard of her … Surprising how some women wield power in this country and you might never hear about them and even with all the neo-feminist activist groups screaming that women have no power.
Well as far as I can tell here is one smart lady who has managed to shimmy up that power pole.
Takes time though … Hmm well back in 2006 …
Then a few years later
My those clerks have been busy …
Hmmm … You don’t say! Member of the Senior Committee on the Review of the Financial Management Framework of the Government of Canada.
Whooooo now there’s a mouthful …
oh! Yes … The message from PM Steve … Well it starts out … “Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the appointment of Janice Charette as the new Clerk of the Privy Council, effective October 6, 2014.
Ms. Charette joined the Public Service in 1984 and is presently the Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet. Ms. Charette was previously the Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and before that Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. … ” I stopped at the little glow-worm section.
Hmmm … Wonder if she’ll get to decorate the new office … You know … Rearrange … buy new furniture … Shift people around … throw out the old … change names of departments …
By the way … Who did she replace? Wayne?
Replace the PM? … Do you think … ? Well then who will Canadians curse at when things go wrong? No no … Canadians don’t curse teams … That’s why we vote … We get an honest to goodness person to curse at … Everything fro bad weather to taxes … That’s what being Canadian is all about.
That and ignoring media that … Well even hockey has more fights out in the open … The Canadian way you know
Oh … Look … Here we have another Ms Charette … Pretty powerful position too …
Building The IT Empire so to speak
Nope … Never heard of her either … Considering … Hhhmmmmm any idea how many people are employed by Government Canada? And … What they cost … You know … Besides the salaries … All those trips and lunches
Well somebody has to pay … Can’t expect them to brown-bagit now can we?
Then there are all those grants … Hmm you know the ones that go to all us “lazy maritimers” as some forks west of here call us.
I imagine this Ms. Charette would know … After all if you are the Chief Information Officer … 2006? … Errrr 2009 sounds more likely …
… Oh and by 2012 … Well … Is she still there do you suppose?
I am sure that Russian Grannies love their grand-children.
I am sure that Russian Grannies want peace too.
What’s that you say? More than one way to look at things, even in Russia?
And more than one Russia?
Wonder what Russian Grannies think of big business.
Where do you suppose a Rusian Granny goes to get away?