Days for focus, concentration and development of important conclusions about life don’t show up on demand. I would like for that to be the case today, but it isn’t at all. I’m not blank, but I can’t figure some things out and I’m feeling emotionally a bit weary this week so I’m not sure I need to figure it out …
Reminded, as I drove away, many times I’ve met someone that first time – thinking particularly about those who’ve stayed and played roles in my life.
Did I know when first we met?
What signs, what similarities are fair ones, to compare ones?
Can we learn enough about anyone in an hour? In a hundred hours?
What about those times when we just knew?
Immediately knew – at first handshake, at first glance – that magic or mystery might unfold.
I started this yesterday – wandering my past, remembering first meetings, cool people – friends, lovers, colleagues, clients – innocuous tap on shoulder in a coat-check, falling asleep while waiting for my date, bumping into metaphorical joy. Face to face, on the phone, online – first encounters, strangers who cease to be, beginnings which became incredibly powerful parts of this life – those breath-halting moments.
Meeting men – never moment of sizzle – given rise to incredible opportunities, friendships, collaborations.
Meeting women has so often been absolutely about sizzle. Many went down that fizzle path – but sizzled still etched in memory. Hard to know, ever, what are those right signs might be, how to measure the first impression, first encounter, first hello, first farewell hug?
Reviewing my history – of those important to me, who have played a special role in my life (many still do whether we see each other or not) – I find no defining lesson in their beginnings, no formulaic ups, downs or turnarounds.
Some things take time. Some – you know right away.
Some, you never figure out …
So which was this?
Late lunch yesterday. Nice time, pleasant place, good food, fine company. Neither party appeared enamored – or disappointed.
Was the absence of a sign or feeling an indication or a sign of anything at all?
Through life, our obstacle courses of opportunities and people – sprinkled with money, bills, conflicts, joys, births, deaths, weddings, graduations. Propelled through series used cars, new cars and public transit from high chairs to wheelchairs, from sitting at the kids’ table to gracing some captain’s table, through great choices … and missed opportunities to run as far and fast as we can.
Along our way – defining moments, separating them from just ordinary moments – becomes increasingly difficult. Then, clearer again. Seems childhood and these getting older phases of life we become clearer in our vision and choices. Instincts are sharper. Those in-between competing values, overlapping and conflicting messages days are gone.
We chased what we thought we wanted without clear understanding of what we need, we chased what we think we need without realizing that a chase is not required – because we don’t have to travel to find what we need. It rests clearly and gently deep inside ourselves.
P.S.: today was a milestone day for my dad; April 3rd was the anniversary of the day he quit drinking. I was 5. He was 34. If he’d lived, today would have been 57 yrs. He deserves a toast. So, I’ll make some toast …
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -5C/22F, overcast, light snow from last night on top of yesterday’s melt made it slick – so Gusta and I agreed a short walk was in order ...
It is so odd, the things we keep. I have things I kept, because my parents kept them. If this letter was so important to my grandfather that my father kept it, how can I throw it away? Makes me wonder what my sister in Montana will do if she ever has to come to Memphis to deal with my things. The comedian George Carlin had a whole monologue about how we "are lost without our stuff" , MLD, Memphis, TN
Mark, reading about how much you are missing your father has helped me to reflect on how I would feel when my mom passes away. I spend more time with her last weekend, taking her shopping and to church as I know our time together will be short as she is getting older. Like you I will miss my mom when she is gone and will have a hard time adjusting to the loss. Hang in there... time will help you to deal with your pain, SP, Calgary, AB
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