Something New

My column for this week’s paper incorporates a couple of blog posts I wrote in the last week or so but in a new way–so thank you for persevering through some repeated “wisdom” slanted a new way:

September

September (Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi)

   The nostalgia that September and the new school year brings is so palatable, you can almost taste it. It is something that probably 98% of us share. Yet we tend to remember school in idealized terms—the new clothes for the first day, the new books and pencils, the sharpened pencil crayons and shiny new math set all meant that we had a new chance to begin again. And beginnings are exciting. Every September during our school age years was another chance to be the brightest and best. I had a spotty academic career—I lost a few years in teenage angst, but I came back, brought my grades up and spent what I look back on now as wonderful years at university.

            I was perhaps an odd duck when it came to school. In grade school I was always in the top 10, usually the top five in my class. But high school changed that and it took me a few years to adapt, to realize that I had to study. I still got by because I could write a mean essay—but that did not bode well for French class, math, science, or an ill-fated attempt to learn shorthand (I thought that would be easier than Latin—but it wasn’t for me). I still regret not putting a little more effort into those classes—but it was history and English, political science and sociology that caught my interest and by grades 12 and 13, I was back to getting good grades, once I got to leave behind those pesky subjects that did not come “naturally”.

                I am again excited come this September—but this time for my youngest son, who will be taking a “graduate” course at college in communications and public relations. He has a business marketing college diploma under his belt, but he was not all that enamoured with the course. His new program looks exciting in the syllabus and I think it is right up his alley—and I am playing the encouraging parent to the hilt—or at least as much as I think he can put up with. He too, though, is pretty happy about the new courses.

            We all need a challenge. When we went to school, each year was a new challenge, but as adults we have to set our own course, find new things to conquer, new things to learn. The latest challenge I have set for myself is to learn to “Let It Be”—those wonderful words of wisdom from the Beatles. And in doing so I am going to put this little exercise to work. It comes from the book, “One Minute Mindfulness” by Donald Altman. His subtitle: “50 simple ways to find peace, clarity, and new possibilities in a stressed-out world,” caught my attention, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want peace and clarity?

            Anyway, the exercise is this: “For one minute during the day, let go of one belief or behaviour that you typically cling to. If you always eat all the food on your plate, leave some and learn how to let it be. If you normally expect your partner to do something in a certain way, try to take on the task yourself or surrender to the way it is even if you don’t feel it’s as it should be. Let it be. Every day, let one more thing be, just for the fun of it.”I do not always eat everything on my plate so it is the second half of his exercise I have to concentrate on: Let it be. Not as simple as it sounds. At all.

            I have come to the realization that just because something purports to be simple, it does not mean it is easy. Simple and easy are not synonyms even if my thesaurus disagrees with me.  Simple and wise concepts are sometimes the hardest things to apply. They seem straightforward. How much more straightforward could something be than to “Let it be”? But how many of us can actually incorporate this into our lives?

            While I will not be returning to a school of mortar and bricks this September, I will be continuing my education in an ongoing effort to improve myself, my situation in life, and my endeavour to do what Oscar Wilde calls the rarest thing in life: to live. Here he says it in his own inimitable way: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

            I don’t think Wilde was having a good day when he said this, although I do not think he was known for his sunny disposition as he had challenges of his own. So I will take his words and combine it with the Beatles’ sage advice, and learn to: “Live and let it be”, rather than take the James Bond attitude, “Live and let die.”

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm  Comments (14)  
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Three Years Ago Today

English: Entrance to St. Augustine's Church un...

Snow Day: One Tree Hill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three years ago today: It was a Monday. There was a rain snow mix, and the roads were bad so no buses were running. How do I know this? Just ran across my daybook/calendar for 2010, and from the notes I made that day I am getting a sense that time moves on in some ways, and not in others.

It moves on in that in 2013 the fact that whether or not the buses are running for school is no longer an immediate issue in my life as both of my sons are now out of high school. One is at college, the other is in a rock band just waiting for his big break.

I had a council meeting penned in for that Monday night, February 22nd, 2010. Things have stayed the same on that front as I have a council meeting on the Monday coming up.I noted that the meeting was only an hour and a half long. That no longer happens, as the municipality has eliminated one meeting a month, so now the two meetings on the second and fourth Mondays run at least three hours. That is a lot of doodling!

I was working for a magazine at the time, as I notice a reminder telling me to write up the articles due for Our Homes. I no longer work at the magazine. It is a choice I made that I sometimes regret (miss the money) but mostly do not.

For some reason I did not make a note to write my column and write up council news for the newspaper. Maybe for once I did it ahead of time. But that is doubtful—I usually work to deadline and that means writing my heart out on Monday morning.

I made note of where my husband was working that day (as a contractor he works at a variety of places) and that my eldest son was at work. At the time he worked in the printing press of the newspaper that I write for. (Yeah, yeah, I know I am not supposed to end a sentence like this—don’t bug me Robin!) Times change–as he no longer works there.

I am supposed to call Salisbury—but I think that is a note for my husband as I do not remember who Salisbury is. I also have a note to  email Charlene. Charlene is in my Writers’ Group so I was probably supposed to tell her when the next meeting was, or the prompt we were supposed use for our writing for the meeting. Hard to say three years down the road.

So that was my day three years ago—which proves that some things change and some things stay the same. The weather today is very much like it was three years ago, except we are getting inundated with snow right now, and the mix is coming this afternoon.

And since I have to work in BLISS, as it is the topic of the year—I find it very blissful that I do not have a council meeting tonight—as the weather looks foreboding. The good thing is–I no longer have to worry about whether the buses are running or not.

So what are you finding blissful today?

M ~ Mighty Mouse

Mighty Mouse in Ralph Bakshi's adaptation

Mighty Mouse in Ralph Bakshi’s adaptation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided that since my sister wrote me in an email that my “M” posting confused her because she was trying to figure out how “M” actually figured into my post about James Bond–that I would do a real post about “M”. So here goes:

My eldest son’s nickname is Mouse. It was given to him when he played basketball in elementary school and followed him all the way to grade 12. He was on every basketball team there was at the schools he attended. Junior elementary. Senior elementary. Junior High School. Senior High School. (Get ready for some bragging: in High School he won Most Dedicated Player when he was on both the Junior and Senior Teams. One is sitting on my bookshelf above where I am writing this as we speak).

He was given the nickname Mouse I think because they thought he was quiet. This confused me. He was not quiet at home. He was not quiet in class, though never a real disruption. He just was not quiet as a mouse anywhere that I came into contact with him. Now he was exceedingly polite to his teachers and his coaches, but he was not quiet. (Have I made my point here–the boy was, and as a young man is not QUIET).

We have an apartment attached to our house which he uses for band practice and just general hanging around in when he is here. He calls it the Mousetrap. His band is called Rodents & Rebels. Now I ask you, how did sweet little (but not quiet) Mouse become a Rodent? I guess Mouse was just not scary enough to go with Rebels.

There you have – my real post starting with a real M for Mighty Mouse–my non-quiet son!

Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (22)  
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