Monday, May 31, 2010

Honor & Remembrance

Maybe you woke up as I did this morning, wondering who you would spend time remembering on this Memorial Day. (Did you? Have you?)

I don't have any veterans, past or present, in my family. My dad, who is still living, was in the National Guard stationed in Greenland in the late-1950's for less than one year, but I don't think that counts. (Does it?)

Unlike so many families across the nation, we are not one with a long history of service to this country. I don't know why, and frankly have never thought about it until now.

Perhaps there is an underground pacifist thread that runs through the bloodline that no one has bothered to tell me about. Or maybe joining a military branch is something that is proudly passed down through generations and generations of a family, beginning back before recorded history, and if you miss the boat, you miss the boat. I'm not sure. (Do you know?)

What I do know is this: I have never fully appreciated the sacrifice that men and women in generations past and present have made to defend our country and democracy. It's true, I just haven't.

This was not done with intent or out of malice, but with the unconscious disregard of one who is free and almost always safe from harm. One who has never gone to bed living in an actual war zone, wondering if a bullet or bomb will hurt or kill her children in the night. One who has never been told she can't question government through protest or whose freedoms are grossly restricted because she is female.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

This is all a very long way of thanking the women and men, far and wide, who have put their lives on the line for me and for this country. I deeply appreciate it.

Peace to all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

47.5 and counting...

I don't know how it happened. Okay, not true. I know how it happened. Aging: every year, a year older. So, here I am at 47.5 years old, wondering who hit the Fast-Forward button on the cassette of my life.

Yes, I'm a little perplexed by the number. In my heart -- you know, if I avoid mirrors -- I feel the same as I always have. I could be 25 or 20 or 15.

But the reality is that 47.5 is showing in my body and mind.

I have age spots that require daily camouflage with spendy concealer and foundation. The wrinkles around my eyes have me scrambling for anti-aging products.

Gravity is pulling my cheeks in a way that if I don't intentionally smile, just a little bit, I sport an air of disapproval.

I have exercise-resistant belly fat and an absentmindedness that makes me wonder if I have signs of early Alzheimer's.

Maybe the worst? I have hair growing places on my body that should be genetically impossible for a woman. We have periods for 20+ years and push babies out of our vaginas. You'd think by my age our "dues" would be paid-in-full.

But that's life's little insider joke, isn't it? When we're young, we don't believe we will age. We just don't. We think that this is something that happens to other people, that the aging gene skipped a generation. And then, 47.5 happens. The truth reveals itself.

So? So... I inhale, deeply, slowly. I exhale, slowly, and all the way. Then, I search my heart and draw from what I've learned along the way: to accept what is and feel genuine gratitude for the journey.