2017, hope, and the next generation

There is something troubling to hear in the news of the sudden, but peaceful death of a pop music icon of your own generation when he is around the same age as you…because he died peacefully can be a little bit disconcerting especially when the news reports add that George Michael was only 53. Sorry, but only 53 conjures up the assumption that most 50-something people are NOT facing very soon the inevitable end of their lives because only 53 suggests that there might be a few more years left to live.

Meanwhile…

WTF 2016?!!

I’m not the only one who has been saying that literally all year long. Just hurry up and end already! Please!

Perhaps that is why the AP is feeling like their New Year’s poll of 1,007 people surveyed online accurately portrays the tone of Americans right now. Optimistic as we face 2017? We have a president-elect gas-lighting nations, Congress, media, Saturday Night Live and corporations alike on Twitter; and when he actually tries to act presidential reaching out to include all Americans, his Trumpers freak out.

Sorry, imagining the potential with this kind of, er, leadership, I’m just not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the near future. I’m trying. Really, I am trying. But I just can’t. I just can’t even. I, and a number of other people I know (regardless of our politics), seem to be thinking more in line with what Michele Obama said recently.

We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that — what else do you have if you don’t have hope. What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?

It’s true. What can I offer my young adult children, my teenaged son, my grand daughters if I can’t even begin to feel hopeful about the next four years…dear god please not eight years!!! It’s hard to imagine America while not having a grownup in the White House. Nailed it, Michele!

But thank you, Mr. President. Thanks Obama as you remind us of that generation right behind us, and I believe each successive generation, as long as we’re doing our job of being good models for it, they’re going to move this country forward in a better direction.

There is hope. Hope is right here. I’m willing to wait for it.

in the end, just a day

Checking my Twitter feed this morning, I found perhaps the perfect sentiment that sums up exactly how I feel this Christmas.

At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold.

If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe, with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do.

But if your life is full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively,

remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever.

Thinking back to my worst Christmas, I found it hard to believe that my unhappiness would pass. I was truly afraid of the future.

You never know what the future holds. Astonishing reversals of fortune happen every minute.

So if you’re sad, or lonely, or bereaved, or ill, separated from your loved ones or in any other ways suffering this Christmas,

I send you love and wish you luck and better times. Millions of us have been where you are now.

Remember Christmas is, in the end, just a day. It isn’t a test or a scorecard of you or your life, so be kind to yourself.

Merry Christmas!

~ JK Rowling

Looking back from where I am and where I came from, I can agree that during my worst Christmas ever, it was impossible to imagine a life where I would be happy…and full…and warm…and not afraid…and safe. But here I am!

Right here, right now, under The Big Top surrounded by some of my family circus and looking forward to tomorrow to spend more time with the whole circus together, I know that Rowling is right. Christmas is just a day. Just another day for me to give thanks because I am here.

Happy Christmas! Merry Hanukkah! Warm holiday wishes, y’all!

stronger joined together

It’s been a week now, and I am certain it’s going to be a LOOONNNGGG four years…with that administration that will take office January 20 and those who are probably already prepping for the 2020 election season.

UGH!

Anyone else struggling to think positively?

Already there has been too much ugly, too much anger, too much bitterness that divides…and I am not even talking about Trump supporters versus Hillary supporters. No. Family, friends, like-minded folk literally cannibalizing one another all because one is more right than the other…always.

It’s going to be so much more difficult I imagine before it gets easier. There is no getting around that truth. But we can, we should and we will get through to the other side…together.

We look different. We think, feel, dream, pray, love in so many different ways; but we are all humans together. Lovers, fighters, friends, family, black, brown, white, gay, straight, we are all together and so much stronger joined together.

Or we can focus on that which makes us different and separates us and could very well destroy us; because obviously there is only one right which is why family, friends, like-minded folk are fighting so damn hard against each other. 

Deep thoughts that came to me in the waning, but chaotic moments of the end of a long night at work. After lively o’dark thirty discussions about the election last week, and not just who our President elect is, because plastic bags are banned, recreational pot is legal, low level criminals will be freed and how about that death penalty and everyone on death row right now along with those god-damned safety pins. Sharp lines drawn, opinions expressed…but without name-calling or bridge burning because, just imagine, grown ups; and because we can and do indeed work together and work together very well, especially when we do what we do in my NICU.

We also put on some pretty kick-ass potlucks.

Diversity, tied together and making kick-ass potlucks together. Hurray for that! 

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.

~ Jacqueline Woodson

 

because the sun still comes up and the earth still spins

It’s the day after the day after now and it still feels like September 12, 2001…and September 13, 2001 today.

Around the corner from The Big Top is a beautiful park where every day, as long as it isn’t balls hot, people gather playing on the playground, running, walking, doing cross fit or tai chi, hanging out, playing with their kids or dogs, playing soccer, flying kites, having parties and even one wedding I witnessed one Sunday morning. It is a vibrant place. It’s a place where neighbors call out a friendly good morning each and every time we loop past each other while running or waking its perimeter. It’s an amazing park and I love this park. I love this neighborhood!

Yesterday, as I drove past it taking Daniel to school and later as went to pick him up, I was struck how empty it was. Running errands, picking up Abby’s birthday cake and Bill’s prescriptions, the atmosphere every where was subdued, dimmed even much like the remnants of early morning Valley fog filtered the sunshine yesterday.

It felt so much like September 12, 2001 literally everywhere. That day after I was so sad, so mad, so scared and so paralyzed, as was pretty much every one else I came in contact with. Now the logical part of my brain knows Presidential election and its results is nothing like the day terrorists murdered thousands of innocent Americans crashing jets into buildings. But the thinking part of my brain also knows that a little less than half of Americans who did choose to exercise their right and responsibility to vote voted for a man who some of his own supporters admit that they believe him to be crazy, and he may get us killed, but at least he is going to be truthful with us. Yes, there is that, Crystal. Thanks! Mr. Trump might have won the electoral votes but he did not win the popular votes of those who actually did turn out to vote. So I am mad. I am mad at Crystal and those who think like her. I’m mad at the antiquated Electoral College that only benefitted early American landed gentry and often does not speak for or represent the people.

The part of me that is feelings is feeling all the feelings right now.

Yes, the anger is directed at all the Crystals and the friends who protested voting for Johnson or Stein as well as ALL the media who gave this man a stage pretty much gratis for the ratings. My friends and family who shared for us all how they literally had to hold their noses in the polling booth and today are expressing all your shock, anger denial, bargaining and acceptance, I see you. I see you clearly right now. I’m frustrated with the Bernie Bros now smugly declaring that they told us so and that Bernie would have defeated Trump…NO!

I am overwhelmed with sadness for myself for feeling so happy and optimistic just two days ago imagining that I was a part of making history for women like me, like my daughters and for little girls like my beautiful grand girls. Sad as I tried to answer my son when he asked how could an ugly angry bully win.

Then there is the fear. Fear that almost suffocates. Fear for what will happen if this President-elect is able to make good on any of his campaign promises because so many of them will have a direct affect on my family, my children, my grandchildren and other people who I love. Fear that envelopes watching the world financial markets plummet because they are likely just a little bit worried over what we have wrought. Fear because so much hate feels empowered and emboldened right now to let their hate flag fly because their guy won. Fear over the truth that the checks and balances afforded by our Constitution are legitimately in jeopardy with executive, legislative and soon, judicial branches all representing one party.

And then I circle back to more anger.

Pundit cousin Joe Scarborough tweeted yesterday a quote from Lincoln admonishing us all to end the divisiveness and come around to support our new President-elect, With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, and I answered back to give us a moment because, after all, the far Right took YEARS to mourn their losses after 2008. 

Yes, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama both, with grace called for the same thing reminding us that is one of the things that makes America great; and they both are right. Too right. But this is painful, and it will be for a long time. Hope was beaten down, battered and bruised Tuesday and it HURTS! We will heal. We will get back up again. We will because that is who we are as Americans which makes our peaceful transfer of power every four or eight years all the more one of the hallmarks that makes us truly great.

Give me a moment. Give all of us a moment.

Let us work through the painful grief we feel right now.

You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that’s OK…

That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it. We try even harder the next time.

The point though is is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy. That’s how this country has moved forward for 240 years. It’s how we’ve pushed boundaries and promoted freedom around the world. That’s how we’ve expanded the rights of our founding to reach all of our citizens. It’s how we have come this far.

And that’s why I’m confident that this incredible journey that we’re on, as Americans, will go on.

~ President Barack Obama

an unraveling

Midlife is not a crisis. Midlife is an unraveling.

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close and whispers in your ear: it’s time. All of the pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armour could you secure all the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. The time has come to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.

~ Brene Brown

Not my words, yet these are literally thoughts that spin in my mind as I get up in the morning and try to stretch limbs that ache and protest just a little in a way that they have never before. They are words I hear within my inner dialogue as I wash my face and appraise lines that are named after years of stress, worry, smiles, laughter and so much living. This is midlife I tell myself…this is my midlife I say out loud as I see my reflection smiling back at me in the morning light.

No makeup, dirty hair, morning light filter and I am just fine. This is midlife.