A week ago, the conventional writer in me felt compelled to post a 2021 year in review…..like 800-trillion other wordsmiths. I tried composing a few lines, but then I got bored. Yes, bored, despite the fact that ’21 was a significant year in my life. I lost my mother, one aunt, my eldest paternal cousin and another cousin was just diagnosed with a malignant brian tumor and underwent surgery this afternoon. We’ll know more later and earlier this year, another cousin had a leg so infected, it had to be amputated at the hip. He had other fairly serious issues as well, but is recovering physically, but not mentally or emotionally.
He’s in his mid 70’s and had a very successful career as a lawyer and a mental health care lobbyist in Austin. So, there’s a bit of irony in the fact that despite a decent prognosis, he just doesn’t want to make any kind of progress. He’s angrily refusing to be fitted for a prosthetic leg, he’s vehemently against physical therapy. I don’t know if he wants to die, but I feel certain he’s no longer interested in living.
A little background info if I may: His fiance was struck and killed by a car in the 70’s. He adored her and frankly, I don’t think he ever recovered. Loss for some is just too much to bear.
He and I share 20 other first cousins. We’re also the only ones in this generation who never married or procreated. I find it hard to explain, but I understand his reasoning, even as irrational as might be. It’s his life and every second he’s lived it has brought him to this moment in time. It’s his call.
And Santa brought me a lovely case of Omicron (Covid 19 Jr) for Christmas. I’ve had much worse cases of flu and other bronchial issues, but this variant is the strangest damn thing I’ve ever experienced. My symptoms, which were textbook in accordance with everything I’ve read on the subject, felt timed…almost programmed. I’m not paying tribute to Alex Jones’ conspiratorial schtick here. That’s actually how the symptoms felt and I’m not alone in this sentiment.
But I’m okay. Back on Prozac and feeling more level emotionally, which is why a standard issue year in review blog post being wistful here, attempting jocularity there just wasn’t in me.
So, because I have a lot of time on my hands. I read a lot, write a lot, much of it unpublished and I listen to a lot of music. Stuff from happier, thinner, younger times. I personally loved the mid 80’s—the helium infused hair, the shoulder pads, the music, the over-the-top attitude that engulfed the era. It was a very special time in my life. So, a few weeks ago I listened to a song I’ve always loved: The Whole of The Moon by the Scottish band, The Waterboys, but this time I listened…I mean really listened to the lyrics. Their profundity hit me hard. That’s when I decided the essence of this song warranted being my first post of the new year.
So, please indulge me if you will and listen to the song; the lyrics specifically.
These lyrics are actually quite deep. They remind me of how different our lives can be. What we pursue, what we think we want. Sometimes, getting out of your comfort zone to take chances in the world works, sometimes playing it safe and staying where you are is the right thing to do. I’ve been on both sides of these lyrics. I’ve seen the rain, dirty valley below….then, at other times, I saw Brigadoon, a lovely, mythical Scottish village that appears for only one day every 100 years.
We all go through those periods in life that are filled with ease and joy and the other times that simply put, are void of anything good. Those are those points in life when your find yourself begging the Big Referee overseeing the game of life, to throw a flag on the play for piling on. Then, sometimes, we make the touchdown, we hit the home run, throw three from the paint, kick the winning goal er even prevent a score & your team wins the game, THAT game, anyway, there’s always another game, another challenge, next weekend….next season.
Life is a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, a merry go round, it’s every amusement park in the world. The rapid ups, the downs, the accelerations make us scream: the other straightaways or slow tracks uphill offer brief reprieve.
And then there are those rides that go around and around at a tolerable speed & they feel safe, offer little risk. And that’s okay for some, but not for others. Those people willingly, freely, climb aboard rides with sternly written signs with warnings that read, “ride at our own risk”. So, with a bit of fear, danger and curiosity, we let our adrenaline propel us forward. We climb onto rides seeking that exhilaration to the point of excitement and sheer ecstasy……..at least, right before all those well documented affects of physical science wreak havoc on the body and you throw up.
Sometimes, someone is there to hold your hair back: sometimes you’re on your own. And yes, there are times when you throw up on the floor of the actual ride: smack dab on the shoes of person with whom you’re riding. The point is, the ride can be fast, thrilling or messy. Or it can be safe & slow, tidy and risk free . Sometimes, both: just like life.
A few minutes later, it’s over. If we hated it, it lasted forever. If we loved it, it was over way too soon. We either can’t wait to ride it again , or make a vow to never to come anywhere near entire the amusement park a second time. It’s always an either/or scenario. No one ever walks off a roller coaster that’s been designed to go farther, faster, higher than any coaster before it, without a defined opinion or at the very least, walk away without changed by the experience in some capacity. The embarrassment of walking around a park wreaking of vomit could be one example.
Thrills & horror.
Excitement & fear. Safety & contentment. All are defined differently by everyone. So is complacency, safety, security, daring, boredom….even curiosity. Like this song, it’s all about the perspective of our experience. It’s about life & how we choose to live it: either close up & in person, risking chance after chance, willfully seeking change….or…we run from anything that might infringe on routine, while being content to watch from the sidelines at a safe distance, out of harm’s way. It’s a judgement call you have to make based on factors you deem necessary at that particular time.
It’s just life, and when translated into reality, it simply means ‘choices.’
But I’m trying to say with all the feigned optimism I can muster—here’s to Brigadoon.