|Sometimes I save meaningless things and then later, they seem cryptic and a little spooky. Like this scrawled Google Hangouts message. What does it even mean?? We may never know, much like we may never know what life means. You're welcome.|
I think when you start reaching a certain age, you begin looking for loops back to the past. You’re kind of desperate for those full circle moments, because we’re all seeking meaning, aren’t we? Even in the midst of the inevitable dawn of realization that we won’t ever really get to know “what it’s all about,” we’re searching for meaning. Can I loop this moment back to something that happened in my childhood? That’s me, anyway.
For instance: take the harmonica. I mean, really, when it comes to my kids trying to play the harmonica (or me for that matter), take it far, far away. But when I hear it in a song, I go limp. It’s Neil Young (even when it’s not), and I’m closing my eyes, and I’m back in my childhood home on State Route 222 on the hardwood floor in the living room, and soon, it’ll be time for me to flip the record, if I’m deemed calm enough in the moment. And those songs now, they really have taken on new meaning. It’s a full circle moment, and it’s satisfying.
And then there are those moments that aren’t so satisfying. Like when I lose it a little bit with my kids. That’s a full circle moment, too, or the threat is there, at least, and it doesn’t feel so good. But I think it’s important to recognize those moments, too. You can’t break a chain if you don’t recognize a chain when you see it. And so I try. But I don’t always succeed, and it’s sobering, because a new realization that’s come with age is that the generation before me had chains to break, too, and only now do I realize how often and how hard they were also trying. Another full circle moment that injects some meaning into my life, but I’m not sure how to embrace it.
Forgiveness is a roadblock for me, and I’m a little ashamed about it. I think I’m probably a pretty kind person, at least it means a lot to me to do kind things when I can. But true forgiveness, letting-it-go and moving on… my compassion seems to just wash away sometimes. I get disappointed in people too quickly, and it’s unfair and often, hypocritical. And I say this knowing that it makes me vulnerable to people who might say, in the midst of a disagreement, “Hey, look, even you have admitted that you are unfair sometimes…” because that’s happened.
But I say these things in this space from time to time because I know enough about the human condition to know I’m not alone. When you reach down and pull out something ugly, most of the time someone else will nod in silent agreement. I get a fair number of private messages from strangers, and I barely write on this blog, so I feel pretty confident that a vulnerable voice is sometimes a voice that needed to be heard. I put myself out there because I feel really strongly that most people really are trying. To be better. To start over (again). To move on. I’m trying on all of those fronts, and more, every day. What’s it going to hurt to admit it once in a while?
I used to feel more worried about that vulnerable state, but you know, once you’ve exposed yourself accidentally to a city bus driver and you’ve passed gas that your coworkers have mistaken for an electrical fire in an elevator, it becomes pretty clear that the universe would like you to just get over yourself and find comfort in the imperfection.
Anyway, I started this whole, rambling mess before any of the news of this day. It was the day we found out Prince died (and Chyna, too, which seems like its own sad dichotomy but I am out of philosophical wax for the moment). So I’m making note of this sad and unexpected bit of news, which has surely affected my overall tone here. It’s kind of weird – I spent a while today trying to relearn the little bit of ukulele I started learning a while back. I woke up in a Neil Young kind of mood (not that he has anything to do with the ukulele), and I thought about how I’m glad he hasn’t died yet like every celebrity ever seems to be doing lately (BE CAREFUL PEEWEE), and then I hoped I didn’t jinx him by even thinking the thought, because I’m ridiculous sometimes, and then I got out my ukulele and tuned it and attempted to play “Red River Valley” a few hundred times. Not that this has anything to do with Prince. I was just feeling very musically-led today.
Well, that’s about all the ranting (and/or raving) I have in me right now, and I’m realizing now I literally didn’t mention a single thing actually happening in my life, so I have given the reader nothing except a little peek into the head my brain calls home. I hope you were offered tea, or at least a place to sit down. Please leave the harmonica alone.
This is pretty much obligatory, and I didn't even realize it until I finished this post and realized this song has surely been churning along in my subconscious throughout the whole thing. This must be how people accidentally commit plagiarism. Thanks, Joni. You be careful, too!! Everybody just remain indoors.