When I was younger there were words I used to express what I thought of things. Whatever was good was cool or groovy or far out. I never really used far out very often but I did use cool and groovy.
Now I still use cool when I think something is good and sometimes even resort to groovy. But the words used today I just can’t seem to put my head around. In fact, I just don’t like them. Words like awesome (unless said by Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger) or Bro or word. Or sayings like “It’s all good.” Awesome is probably my least favorite.
Everything is awesome from winning the lottery to coffee being on sale. That word is used too much for my liking. It is originally from the 16th-century meaning causing or inducing awe. It became popular in the 1980s referring to Frank Zappa’s song Valley Girl. You know, surfer/Valley Girl type, a general positive adjective meaning anything from “good” to “incredibly amazing”.
I guess that could also mean cool in a more modern way. I do hear the word cool used every now and then. But not half as much as awesome.
So why should it bother me so much and why do I feel a need to write about it? Well, maybe it’s because I want the world to be a bit more how it use to be and not so much how it is now. I am definitely guilty of watching too much of the news and being on my computer more than I should.
I use to think a lot of information about things was a good thing, even cool, but now I’m not so sure. I know I need to be aware to be socially conscious but sometimes it seems overwhelming. There is too much to fix and it will never be done. Everywhere I turn there seems to be sadness and destruction. I find myself gravitating towards any romantic comedy or old musical I can find to help me escape from too much information about the world today.
I love watching CBS Sunday Morning for that reason. It seems to find a way to show all the good things in the world. Wonderful stories about everyday people and their kindness towards one another. Or the interview of an author or celebrity that is out of the ordinary and actually very informative in an inspirational way.
Maybe if I lived in a smaller city it wouldn’t seem so in my face. But this is where my work is and my family. Expecting a grandson any day now is also probably the reason why I am questioning so many things. Ok, awesome may not be so bad….Lighten up Grandma.
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. She has published 18 memoirs and her book, Bird by Bird, is an iconic book on writing. It was one of the first books I read when I decided to start writing. She is passionate, funny and thoughtful.
Her view of writing is right on the money. To quote Anne Lamott, “Books are as important as almost anything else on earth…unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
I have come to writing later in life. I am the same age as Anne Lamott. She has been a writer her whole life. She also has moments of writer’s block when faced with that empty page. She tells a story of her younger brother having to write a paper on birds and he waited until the last minute. He was close to tears overwhelmed with the huge task ahead of him. Her father, a writer, sat down next to him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
I recently applied for a scholarship for an online writing course. Not knowing what to expect I figured I would write the reason why I want to take the course. I wrote as I do in my blogs, from the heart. Needless to say all of my doubts where right on the surface. I figured it was now or never. Out of 1900 entries from around the world they chose sixteen people and I was one of them. Yep, at 64 I am on my way. Who knows where it will take me. But as Anne Lamott’s father once said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
Jasmine. The smell is intoxicating. Coming up my stairs on a warm spring night and smelling the beautiful perfume of this delicate flower makes me very happy. It’s not the same if you pick it or if it’s bottled as a perfume. You must smell it as it is on the vine. That is its strength. It has the control to act exactly as it wants. No one tells it when it can bloom and when it dies. It is on its own schedule. The blooms don’t last forever but the sheer knowledge knowing that it will return is enough. Now that is freedom.
I’m trying to look at my life like jasmine. I have the power in myself to control how I feel and how I act. I also have to take responsibility for when I screw up and when I am true to myself. When to walk away and when to know it’s better to stick it out. I’m still trying to learn that lesson and it’s not very easy. The demons and voices in my head still trying to win out. We are surrounded right now by a lot of crazy stuff. I can find myself going down that rabbit hole. Getting caught up in all of the fear and uncertainty of what another day is going to bring. Age does that. It makes you face things you use to put aside when you were younger. There was always time before to work things out (you told younger self) but now I can feel time. Trying to drown out the clock ticking by a fountain in my office. Sometimes it works and sometimes I find myself looking at the clock more than I should.
This year there is a massive amount of butterflies out especially now that we are getting a bit of warmer weather. There are so many of them I can hear their wings flutter. They are so beautiful and so precious. As is the jasmine. So I am stopping to smell the jasmine. I suggest you also my friends, take time to smell the jasmine.