Friday, August 28, 2009

" Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

" Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

This past year I have had the privilege to move seven states away for home to attend graduate school as an adult learner. Perhaps it is in direct correlation to the stock market collapse annihilating everyone retirement account, oddly enough, Jimi feels this has been the best investment of time and money we could have spent during the past year. Two weeks before I left for school my husband received the news he was not going to have the position that precipitated our move from Pittsburgh to Western New York in 1999.

Early in September while I was getting acclimated to being a student again my husband and I watched the invisible empire of our future retirement melt into a puddle of spilt milk. The world wide economic collapse leaves millions of baby boomer who eyed the exit door with visions of a grand retirement chained to their desk for a few more years. The ripple effect has generated frustration in the younger population who count on natural attrition of the older work force to open opportunities for their advancement up the ladder of monetary success. What we have now with a stagnant economy are disgruntled baby boomers who cannot afford to retire and six unemployed college graduates chasing every one job opening.

Maybe it is because I am 52 years old. Perhaps because I was with a graduate student population between 22 years old and say close to forty year old. Maybe it was because information was coming at me so quickly that I was over thinking everything. This past year has been a significant time of reflection for me.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my life choices, my husband, my children, my extended family and my friends and my aging pet one of whom died during my absence. Through the wonder of email and phone calls my family kept in touch with me regularly. It hurt to hear Barry tell me, " Mom you are out of the loop being down in Georgia." Often I felt like an observer of my family from a point after my death. Kara would call me as she walked around Wegmann's planning holiday meals from our traditional recipes. I dictated from memory the ingredients needed and specifics on how to achieve flavorful results. Over the phone I knew every detail about the holiday meals I would not be able to fly home to attend. Little by little I felt more like I was dead than alive.

No matter how many times the other student and professors tried to convince me it was better to stay in graduate school and focus on my art twenty hours a day I was not buying their vision of success. Feelings of being trapped, frustrated and anger permeated my art as I planned my escape back to life as I knew it. To the life I had designed for myself many years ago. With the force of a cannon I joyfully left the life of a graduate student. My exodus was easy after it was highly suggested to me that I was trying to get out too quickly. You think ???
I should slow down stay, stay at least until next November was not on my radar.

Death is a normal part of the life cycle. People are born and die everyday. World birth date statistic estimate 353,015 births per day balancing the 146,357 people around the world who die each day.

Looking through this incomplete list of well known people who died within the last twelve months it is interesting that death has no respect for age, beauty, or economic status.

Summer 2009 seems surreal with the death of Michael Jackson and Billy Mays dead in their early 50's. Granted they both died as a result of drugs, non the less, it is a relatively early time to reach the end of ones life. The deaths of Jett Travolta, Natasha Richardson, Farrah Fawcett, Les Paul, Senator Ted Kennedy, Dominic Dunne... all have a message to us who remain behind.

At any minute of the day we all have an equal chance to be the next on the list. This kind of thinking could be deemed either very depressing by some people or very liberating by others. I align myself on the camp with the optimists. Unlike an animal we humans have the conscious knowledge of our impending death.

Along with the saying " Money and time can only be spent once, choose wisely." I taught my children that "with every privilege comes responsibility." My children learned at an early age never to tell me that they were bored. Boredom shows a lack of imagination and initiative.
Live like you are dying making use of the days that remain. Freedom comes with how we intend to use each day, hour, minute or second of our marvelous gift of life. We may not all have equal status and economic power, however, it doesn't cost anything to smile, stop to let someone cross a street or reach a item down in a store for someone in need. Don't waste a minute, you never know if it will be your last.
Picture top right is a Dress for the Autumn of My Life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails