I’m not actually here for the sightseeing

-seen in Westminster Abbey

My father was 50 when he passed away. His family history, his executive career, his musings to be Mayor of Toronto amounted to nothing; he simply died. I’m turning 50 in just under a year and my slithery lizard brain is whispering “Your time is running out… have you done anything at all?”

When a scene hits a high note, or if a scene isn’t working, those are cues for the actors to “sweep” and end it. The lesson here is that we have control over sticking it out or walking away. Recognizing that we can let something go either because it’s already peaked or because it’s no longer serving us is a revelatory lesson.” Maggie Fazeli Fard. “LIFE, UNEDITED: 10 Things I Learned About Life in Improv” experiencelife.com

My mother loved Mexico. Her retirement plan included winters in Mexico. The tech bubble burst broke the back of this vision, reducing it to several weeks each winter in Mexico. She went once, renting a condo and having a lovely time. The next year her as yet undiagnosed neuropathy prevented her from taking much pleasure in the trip and the year after that she was too ill to travel at all. She never saw Mexico again.

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted -” Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”…

Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies. -Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Jonathan Byrd played a house concert in Midland when Morgan was 14. I had just seen him at Eaglewood Folk Festival and brought his CDs home. The concert turned out to be the same night as Morgan’s Academic Awards night for Grade 9. I absolutely wanted to see Byrd and I knew that in a few years Morgan would choose the concert over attending Awards night. But I couldn’t even propose the choice to Morgan then; it would have given the message that I was not much interested or invested in her academic success. I’ve actually never seen Byrd since.

“While I was on the space station, I used Twitter to ask hundreds of thousands of people what they would like me to take a picture of. Resoundingly, the answer was “home.””  – Chris Hadfield. “We Should Treat Earth As Kindly As We Treat Spacecraft”  Wired.com

“In the view from above can you still see Rome, every mother, every child, every street, every home… every god, every devil, every virtue and sin. Everything we know on the head of a pin.” Danny Michel, “Samantha In The Sky With Diamonds”

When you work for a Bank, you spend a lot of time considering and mitigating risk. My days at the Bank involved making financial plans and handling risk. It would be foolish to do this for clients and not to look at your own plan and how the Bank feeds your need for security. There’s the bi-weekly salary, benefits, stock ownership plans and a pension. There’s an annual bonus. If I hadn’t worked at the Bank, I wouldn’t be in Europe right now. But, maybe if I hadn’t worked for the Bank, I wouldn’t have felt the need to go to Europe?

“In India when they train elephants, they’ll take a baby elephant, tie it to a flimsy rope and tie the rope to a flimsy green twig. They’ll do this for a few weeks. When the elephant grows up, their handler can tie the elephant to a tree sapling or small green twig, with a flimsy rope and the animal will not try to get away. Conversely, if you tie the same elephant with a strong chain to a large tree, the animal will break the chain or uproot the tree.” Deepak Chopra, “The New Physics Of Healing”

My bags are packed…

Kipling considered being packed in my bag so I had to explain baggage allowances to him. I mean, I’m underweight in both suitcase and carry on and between the two could actually pack my pooddle-cross senior rescue dog. But part of the point of all of this is to be in a situation where I’m only beholden to myself for the first time in my adult life. No spouse, no children, no pet, no committee or boss or houseplants even.

Actually I think I’m going to betray myself on that and join a Folk Music Ontario committee this weekend. When I return to my life and my dog and my houseplants (if they live) I’ll be joining a few more things. I’m so involved in this life, but not committed. No more skimming the surface. I think. Maybe. We’ll see.

In the meantime I had to say goodbye to my doggie today – it didn’t phase him. I said goodbye to my daughter this morning and to my son this afternoon and then I sat in the hotel lobby and tried not to cry. They’ll be fine, good, great. They have interesting, exciting lives. They have excellent, loving partners who keep them supplied with support and hugs. And with computers in our pockets, how far away can anyone actually go?

We’ll see.

Four days of folk music and then indefinite Europe.

I’m ready to go.

Early September is Like That

How do people in more temperate climates know that time is passing? Our nights are now cooler, and longer. We spend summer so fevered, rarely sleeping, jazzed up on the anxiety to make each ray of sunshine count. Now we can occasionally stay in at night, maybe read a book. Get a good night’s sleep. Soon, we’ll put on socks.

And now the children go to school. New best friends are chosen and first day outfits are selected and the future writers caress the clean, lined pages of eager notebooks. And teachers go back to teaching and parents go back to day-care drop-offs and everyone resolves to be their very best this year.

Angst and separation echo through September. I flashback to leaving my daughter at Junior Kindergarten and smiling bravely for her, saying how exciting it is she is in school now! and look at all your new friends! and isn’t this classroom fun?!

Then walking around the corner out of view of the classroom windows and crying my young mom eyes out. It is so hard to send our cherished children into the world to fend for themselves. How will she get through the whole day with no hugs?

I don’t think this gets much easier. They grow and are more resilient and are independent and it’s amazing and an honour to behold. But it’s painful too! – the flashback to first year University, dropping off the same daughter at residence and smiling bravely, saying how exciting it is she’s in University now! and look at all your new friends! and isn’t this dorm room… cute?!

Then driving around the corner and out of view and having to pull over because the tears have blinded me. How can I drive five hours away from this cherished child?

This September, my son is releasing a new app. He and his business partner have a huge launch event planned for tomorrow. I can’t pack his lunch for that. I can’t remind him to… to what? I don’t even understand most of what this venture is! He’s doing a Very Big Thing and it’s like I’m watching it over Skype.

The feeling is the same. The angst, the anxiety, the excitement, the pride. The requirement to do nothing while this cherished child walks forward into the world – and increasingly both of them walk into worlds I’ve never seen before. I never want to say “Be careful!” because you don’t write and launch cutting-edge technology by being careful. But if I could cast a protection spell, I would.

(What proud Mom would spend the day before this Big Deal Day writing about mom-experience and not link to her son’s site? here is his amazing networking app )