Yep.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Gull @ Daybreak. 42° F. 6:48 am. September 24, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.
  • Quote Source: @jessecase (via Last Tambourine)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

A whole personal growth industry is predicated on getting us to compare ourselves unfavourably with others, because feeding those insecurities sells “reach your potential” webinars. But even knowing that, it’s hard not to let it get under your skin. Reading what I “should” have achieved gives me the same twitchy, defensive feeling I get from those “30 people under 30 to watch” lists, resentfully scanning pictures of fresh-faced overachievers. The sense you aren’t where you should be, and that others are, is a surefire thief of joy, and we shouldn’t let blokes who overuse fire emojis steal our joy.

If I had a platinum-tier subscriber level newsletter to sell you, this is what I would argue you should have achieved by my age (47):

  • A burning fury about some trivial aspect of your neighbourhood (lighting, bollards, men who trim between the paving stones with scissors).
  • Three to five relationships – romantic or platonic – that you feel lasting guilt about.
  • A part of your face or body that you don’t recognise any more. Whose chin is that? What’s that lump on my eyelid? When did my heels take on the texture of barnacles?
  • A miasma of pension dread.
  • An anecdote you cannot stop telling even though you know your interlocutor has heard it before. (Me: this was my grandfather’s knife. My husband: I know, you tell me every time you touch it.)
  • An alternative career you truly believe you would have been happier in.

But at 47, I have also found a way to deal with that self-flagellatory itch, so here it is, for your vision boards. Read the Guardian’s New Start After 60 or the New York Times’ It’s Never Too Late series, exploring later life changes. People, you discover, do awe-inspiring things at every age: there’s an 86-year-old water polo player in this week’s New York Times. But more importantly, they do the things they, not anyone else, wants: what fulfils them and what they enjoy. If you’re selling a seminar on how to achieve that, take my money.

—  Emma Beddington, from “Ignore those lists of goals to hit by age 30 – here’s what you should have done by 47” (The Guardian, August 10, 2022)

T.G.I.F.


Source: JFF Book Publishing (via Nini Poppins)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The years from late middle age onward are also marked by a steady erosion of ambition. The cause isn’t so much a loss of drive as a growing realisation that you aren’t going to change the world after all. You’re just going to die and be forgotten, like almost everyone else. The knowledge that your existence doesn’t really matter is sobering, but also sort of a relief. It’s certainly changed my approach to paperwork.

Tim Dowling, from “I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far.” (The Guardian, June 8, 2022)


Notes:

  • Post Inspired by: “My thirst for life gets deeper and deeper the less of it remains.” —  Anya Krugovoy Silver, from “Benediction” in From “Nothing: Poems by Anya Krugovoy Silver”, p. 23 (LSU Press, September 12, 2016) (via Alive on All Channels)
  • Portrait of Tim Dowling via The Guardian by Sophia Spring.

a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming

Most of us alive today will survive into old age, and although that is a welcome development, the price of experiencing more life is sometimes experiencing less of it, too. So many losses routinely precede the final one now: loss of memory, mobility, autonomy, physical strength, intellectual aptitude, a longtime home, the kind of identity derived from vocation, whole habits of being, and perhaps above all a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming, that there are things left in this world we may yet do. It is possible to live a long life and experience very few of these changes, and it is possible to experience them all and find in them, or alongside them, meaning and gratitude. But for most of us, they will provoke, at one point or another, the usual gamut of emotions inspired by loss, from mild irritation to genuine grief.

Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found: A Memoir (Random House; January 11, 2022)


Notes:

Walking. With More Disquiet.

55° F.  6:50 a.m. Wednesday, October 27th.

Cove Island Park walk @ Daybreak. 5xx days, like in a row. Who cares?

I walk.

Wind gusts blow off Long Island Sound. I mean it’s blowing. 

I climb up on the breakwall and prepare to take this shot. I can’t keep my balance. Camera shake.

I spread my legs. Tuck my elbows into my chest, and still can’t stabilize. Autofocus can’t lock on.

I release the camera, drop my arms, and rest.

I look out at the storm clouds accumulating on the horizon. I turn sideways to reduce the broadside impact of the wind, still trying to find my footing on the breakwall.

I’m on the final turn of Knausgaard’s new book: The Morning Star.  “Fifty was all right. I hadn’t yet grasped the gravity of the situation. Sixty’s another matter altogether.”

It’s change that’s uprooting your ballast.

This ship is bobbling.

Sleepless.

Restless. 

Peaceless.

Knausgaard continues.

Why did the world become unsettled? What tormented it? What was on its mind?


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. October 27, 2021. 55 F & Gusty. 6:50 a.m. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.
  • Post titled inspired by Fernando Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

When I was younger I thought my knowledge would increase with years, that it was steadily expanding like the universe. A constantly widening area of certainty that correspondingly displaced and diminished the reach of uncertainty. I was really very optimistic. With the passage of time I must admit that I know roughly as much as then, perhaps even slightly less, and with nothing like the same certainty. My so-called experiences are not the same as knowledge. It is more like, how shall I put it, a kind of echo chamber in which the little I know rings hollow and inadequate. A growing void around a scant knowledge that rattles foolishly like the dried-up kernel in a walnut. My experiences are experiences of ignorance, its boundlessness, and I will never discover how much I still don’t know, and how much is something I believed.

Jens Christian Grøndahl, Silence in October.


Notes:Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels). Portrait of Jens Christian Grondahl via Nuevo Periodico

Walking. Like who’s watching who?

The nocturnals. Or the insomniacs. Or both.

There’s a handful of us that walk Cove Island Park in twilight, before daybreak.

There’s the lady with the Lime Green winter coat. Knee length. Fur lined hood, always up. Most noticeable, besides the strobe-like-pulsing, lime green coat, is that you can see her across the entire length of the park. Her arms stiff and straight, swing up and high, then sharply down, and repeat. I watch her. I find it all hypnotic. Like a giant tropical parrot, with her wings clipped, trying to get airborne. She read somewhere that if you ball your fingers into a fist and slash your arms way up and sharply down, you will lose many more calories then if you walked like a normal human. She passes me, never makes eye contact.  I wouldn’t make eye contact either walking like that.

I walk.

I note that I hold my arms tight to my sides, then wonder if others look at me. “Look at him. Poor thing. He must have something wrong with him. His arms don’t move.” So I move my arms just a wee bit to and fro but it’s awkward. It’s somewhere in between Lime Green and a Robot, creating a lot of resistance so I can’t build up any momentum. Jesus help me. 

I walk.

There’s the runner. Always shares a perky good morning. No matter what the conditions. Man, ~ est. early 40’s, tight spandex-like bottoms. Large, big bezeled iPhone (Early model) strapped to his right bicep. A runner, he circles the loop 3x, big grin on his face as he passes. Reminds me of a younger Roper (Norman Fell), the landlord on Three’s Company. I watch him as he passes. Happy SOB isn’t he? When’s that last time I ran? It’s been months. And there used to be a time when I cared. And look at me, I could care less. God, what a slug. [Read more…]

Just now hitting his stride (@ 71)

Every music fan with blood burning in their veins has felt the sting of missing live shows since March, but the pain has been particularly acute for Bruce Springsteen, an artist who’s spent the past six decades onstage, yet says he’s just now hitting his stride.

“I’m at a point in my playing life and artistic life where I’ve never felt as vital,” he said on a Zoom call from his New Jersey home. “My band is at its best, and we have so much accumulated knowledge and craft about what we do that this was a time in my life where I said, ‘I want to use that as much as I can.’”

LZ: Like everyone else, this year hasn’t exactly gone how you’d expected. You’re putting out a record that you can’t yet tour.

BS: Oh, yeah. I think there’s going to be a process before people are comfortable rubbing up against one another again. But if somebody told me, “That’s never going to happen again” — that would be a big life change for me. That act of playing has been one of the only consistent things in my life since I was 16 years old. I’ve depended a lot on it not just for my livelihood, but for my emotional well-being. So if somebody said, “Five years from now, maybe” — that’s a long time. Particularly at my age. I’m 71, and I’m thinking, “Well I know one thing. I’m in the mood right now to burn the house down for as long as I can.” …

I think the projects that I’ve done that were summational in a sense — the book was, the Broadway show was, even this film — it’s sort of just stopping for a moment and taking stock of what you’ve done and where you are at a critical point in your life, which I think, once you hit 70, you’re there. But I look at it as, that’s what I’ve done up to this piece of my work. I still see vital work ahead.

~ Lindsay Zoladz in her interview of Bruce Springsteen, from “Bruce Springsteen is Living in the Moment” (NY Times, Oct 18, 2020)

Walking Cross-Town. With Time Lapse.

Photographs, Yes… Love ’em.

Time lapse photography, not so much. Haunting. The clouds zipping by, dragging me along, hands desperately clutching the relentless spinning flywheel of Time, all slipping from my grasp.

This same morning walk to train. This same Metro North train. This same commute. This same cross-town walk.

Always black shoes. Always dark socks. Always conservative neck tie. Always black coat. Always black brief case.

That overhead drone, its dark eye, rotating, whirring, peering downward, tracking my steps. My progress.

13 years ago, it was the first train, always the first train, the 5:07 am to Grand Central. DK and the Traders. I take the aisle seat for quick ejection. I graze through the morning papers, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times. Eyes active, skimming, inhaling pages, hungry.  I shift to the pile up of late afternoon and overnight emails. Respond to the Team – they begin to roll out of bed, checking their smartphones. DK’s emails flashing, flashing, flashing...Unread. Years of the same Strategy, pull them along in my wind tunnel. He’s up, he’s moving, and they’ll follow along, or….they won’t.

Train arrives at Grand Central. I’m up, and Ready, standing in the vestibule. The hiss of the doors, and I’m off. Accelerating down the tunnels. Passing other Suits. Pulse up, heart racing, I make the turn in the tunnel and approach the escalators to the exit: Escalators are for pu**ies. I take the stairs. 75 of them, straight up.  Fearless, I gobble them up two at a time, brushing by walkers on the right. Get to the top, breathless, I jog to catch the open door onto the street, catching the Walk sign, 5, 4, 3….

I’ve figured out the pace, the precise cadence to catch the next cross street Walk sign.  Foot steps brisk, moving.  Brief case swings in right hand, there are re-grips but the smooth, cowhide leather never leaves the firm grip of the right hand.

Eyes are locked on next street, the next cross walk, the next Walk sign. The mind, in parallel, rifling through the morning calendar.  The office, ETA of 12 minutes, if I hit that street and that street and that street, just right. 

And more often than not, I would hit it just right.

13 years ago, and now, This Week. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I suppose if there is a reckoning in middle age, it’s a tragic sense that you have been formed by things, and sent hither and thither by those things, and put in a frenzy and made to run around the place, and up and down the house in the service of those things, and they were not real. They were the product of your upbringing or conditioning or gender or social class. And I think there’s a certain point where suddenly the grip of all of that on you loosens. It’s like a stage set beginning to sort of crumble, and you start to see it wobbling, and I think you can get some really startling and frightening perspectives on identity once you start looking at it from there. The thought that you’ve wasted your entire life in the service of things that didn’t really exist – that you were in a prison where the door, in fact, was open, and you’ve sat there all this time . . .

~ Rachel Cusk, in an interview by Sheila Heti (Paris Review, Art of Fiction No. 246, Spring 2020)


Photo: Rachel Cusk in NY Times

TGIF: Schitt$ Creek

“Moira, it’s like on the inside I feel like I’m 19 years old, and then I catch a glipse of myself in the mirror, and I realize that I’m so…not.”

“Oh, Jocelyn, you’ll soon learn that we aging mortals are blessed with weakening eyes and memories so that we really don’t have to see ourselves. If you love the number 19, you go be 19.”

~ Schitt$ Creek, S5: E5 “Rock On!”


Don’t miss top Moira Rose clips on Schitt’s Creek: Click Here.

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week!

My #1 fear is the acceleration of days.

No such thing supposedly, but I swear I can feel it.

~ Jenny Offill, Weather: A Novel (Knopf, February 11, 2020)


Photo: “Angel A 27” by Phillippe Conquet

Thanksgiving morn. House full of sleepers.

light-night-house-family

Quiet has many moods. When our sons are home, their energy is palpable. Even when they’re upstairs sleeping I can sense them, can feel the house filling with their presence, expanding like a sail billowed with air. I love the dawn stillness of a house full of sleepers, love knowing that within these walls our entire family is contained and safe, reunited, our stable four-sided shape resurrected.

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment 


Notes: Photo: Mennyfox55

Riding Metro North. Stones, truths and time.

Sunday afternoon

I’m sitting on couch, wrapped in a soft hand-knit throw, reading Rachel Cusk’s new book “Coventry“: “I wanted only to be allowed to stay where I was; all weekend, the feeling of Sunday evening’s approach was as cruel and meticulous as the ticking of a time bomb.”

Weekend dripping away.  Work enters consciousness. Calendar. Meetings. The unfinished business.

Monday morning.

8 a.m. Dentist appointment. X-rays. Open wide. The pinch of hard plastic on the soft tissue inside of mouth. The squeeze of metal on molars.  The heavy cloak of the x-ray protective vest weighing on chest. All triggers the gag reflex. Then, cleaning. 48 minutes later, I’m released. I get up. Vertigo. Can’t find my footing. Woozy.

Cusk: “It is the body of a nearly forty-nine-year-old, but it doesn’t feel that way. I have never felt myself to be ageing: on the contrary, I have always had the strange sensation as time passes that I am getting not older but younger…This is not, of course, a physical reality.

I pay, exit, find my car and enter I-95 traffic in right lane. And stay in right lane, following traffic. Semi trailer to my left, an arm’s length away.  Decal below his rearview mirror trimmed in silver: “In memoriam of Armando.” Son? I stare at the lettering a-r-m-a-n-d-o, it slides closer to me. I return attention to the road in front. Damn it, it’s me! I turn the wheel right to veer back into my lane.  Cob webs heavy. Tailings of vertigo from Dentist chair. Fading sleep medication. So that’s what it’s come to. Old man in right lane, following traffic. Since when have you followed traffic, in the right lane, followed anything, or anybody? [Read more…]

And what a bargain it is…

Suppose you found a bargain so incredible
you stood there stunned for a moment
unable to believe that this thing could be
for sale at such a low price: that is what happens
when you are born, and as the years go by
the price goes up and up until, near the end
of your life, it is so high that you lie there
stunned forever.

~ Ron Padgett, “Bargain Hunt” (jacketmagazine.com, April 2005)


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: I wish. I do. I hope.

He starts singing. “‘Half my life is over, oh yeah. Half my life has passed me by.’” I roll my eyes, but he keeps going. It’s a bluesy tune and I’m trying to place it. Etta James? B. B. King?“ ‘I wish I could go back, change the past. Have more years, to get it right . . .’”

~ Lori Gottlieb, from her new book titled Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. Chosen as one of Amazon’s top 10 Books of the Month for April 2019.

Flying Delta 4135. With Sir & Siri.

This is Sir & Siri-inspired. No, not Apple’s Siri. But Siri Hustvedt from Memories of the Future (or in this case, my Memories of the Past): “While I was in the throes of living it was impossible for me to know whether a moment would be significant or whether it would vanish into oblivion along with so much else.

Three Saturdays ago. I’m on another gadget run to BestBuy. I was 25 feet from the door. A middle aged, heavy set man, say ~40, with hoodie and red sneakers, sees me approaching. He waits, and opens the door for me. I thank him, and he replies with an “Anytime Sir…  Sir?  Sir? Sir? Feel the same, as I did 35 years ago. Less hair. Gray. Paunch. Must be tired looking. Is it that obvious? Sir? I need doors opened for me?  I look back, he’s gone, I’m dig for my car keys: I’m going to remember this.

Marquette Michigan. Last week Monday. On a run to bank branch, one of the many errands to change titling on checks, accounts, autos et al. Today we’re here. Tomorrow, we’re gone. But traces of us remain. And we get busy, Erasing. Need a signature guarantee (not a notary, a guarantee with stamp) to change account names. “Sorry Sir. We don’t offer a signature guarantee service. Let me call a few places to see if they can help you.” He’s going to call Competitors?!?! See if that ever, EVER, happens in NY. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning

Our time always shortening.
What we cherish always temporary. What we love
is, sooner or later, changed…
Giving thanks for what we are allowed
to think about it, grateful for it even as it wanes…
And occasionally the bright sound of broken glass.
All of it a blessing. The being there. Being alive then.
Like a giant bell ringing long after you can’t hear it.

~ Jack Gilbert, excerpt from “Burma” from Refusing Heaven


Notes: Poem via Mythology of Blue. Photo: Maximus Audacious of Bell

I love the dawn stillness (on Thanksgiving Day)

light-night-house-family

Quiet has many moods. When our sons are home, their energy is palpable. Even when they’re upstairs sleeping I can sense them, can feel the house filling with their presence, expanding like a sail billowed with air. I love the dawn stillness of a house full of sleepers, love knowing that within these walls our entire family is contained and safe, reunited, our stable four-sided shape resurrected.

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment 


Notes: Photo: Mennyfox55

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