Maurice Sendak, in one of his last interviews, shares advice for all of us: Live your life, live your life, live your life.
I cry a lot because I miss people….
Brene Brown speaks to me. She opens her mouth, and I nod. Sigh. Smile.
I’ve read all her books, and I’ve downloaded her recent Daring Greatly to my kindle. She makes her research approachable, inviting, and meaningful.
This interview with Jonathan Fields from The GoodLife Project touches on so many important ideas: vulnerability, writing, parenting, teaching, and what makes a good life. It’s worth watching.
I spend a lot of time staring at the ocean, too.
That might seem wasteful or self-indulgent, but to me, it’s time well spent. Some of my best thinking happens at the beach. The regular pounding of the surf lulls me into a kind of meditative state where my mind is clear.
Even the simple routines of anchoring the boat on the salt pond and then carrying lunch, books, and chairs across the barrier beach provide a way of grounding me. I step onto the hot sand, leaving my rubber flip flops at the end of the path. Block Island sits straight ahead on a clear day. Quonochontaug to the left and Weekapaug to the right flank the long stretch of shoreline.
Settling in, I am grateful beyond words for this opportunity to connect with the sand, surf, and familiar sights again.
Edited: I discovered a lovely wordfor this: Uitwaaien
I recently turned 60, and I am feeling old. I can’t run as fast. My arthritis kicks in regularly. And I have trouble sleeping most nights.
But getting older is also changing the way I see the world–and myself.
For example, I am beginning to hate the word “nice.”
Being nice started early in my life, when I heard my mother (even when she wasn’t around), saying: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So, I became quiet.
Not a bad philosophy I suppose, but if you’re not careful, being nice can translate into don’t confront, don’t disagree, and don’t speak your mind. All dangerous.
When I left the newspaper I worked for in the early ’90s, the editor said: “All the niceness has now left the office.” She meant it as a compliment, but I knew better. Journalists need sharp edges.
Turning 60 also means letting go of lots of baggage, like worrying what people think. I have a long way to go, though. Last night when someone complimented me on a recent story I’d written, I made excuses about an editor changing the first paragraph because I was over the word count. Instead of simply saying, “thank you,” I felt the need to explain why it wasn’t perfect.
The old ego kicking in again. You’d think after all these years……
My goal for aging gracefully is to practice humility and “be enough.” Ben Franklin once said, “a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
Hey, I might even start sleeping better.
It’s not writer’s block, but something keeps me from putting pen to paper these days. Time visiting my mom in Rhode Island? Perhaps. Fallen trees across my backyard from vicious storms? Could be. Temperatures hovering at 100 every day? Probably.
My gut says my head is elsewhere. Yes, my body talks to me all the time, and I usually listen. But these days I’m hearing voices that say, “Don’t worry, you can write later,” and “You’ll remember that thought. No need to write it down now.” Inevitably, I don’t write or remember.
After I run a few errands, I will plop myself down in my studio and write. About the black clouds and hail we raced home last night. About the warm blueberry cobbler I made with coconut flour. About the lump in my throat when I opened the door to my dad’s workshop last week. I hadn’t been in since he died. Seeing his shirt hanging from a nail, hearing the radio station pop on as I flicked the power switch, and noticing ancient paint and turpentine cans lining the wooden shelves–these all need some kind of form and structure.