Sunday, November 9, 2008

Musing Regrets

Because I’m a bit of a recluse, people who know me often don’t converse with me face-to-face for months on end. And so when they do, they see changes in my looks, relative to the senior years of life, that are quite melodramatic. Particularly because for the last forty years, I did NOT look like I was getting older. I looked like I was getting ‘better’.

But now ‘better’ is out the window. I’m just getting ‘older’.

I can no longer hide the ripeness of maturity. I suppose, I could if I made more of an effort, but when I do the math, I need to budget time wisely.

Daily bathing, cooking, vacuuming, laundering, and bed-making take double the time that these tasks used to take. And then there is the time I need for writing, knitting, and reading, and self-reflection. Add to that extra time for cleaning my teeth and more frequent bathroom visits and I have no time left to color my hair, moisturize my skin, and apply cover-up to darkening age-spots. So with beautifying routines virtually eliminated, with each passing day, I sport a few more gray hairs, a few more crows-feet, a few more age spots, and a few more coarse hairs on my chin (though I watch cautiously for the latter and pluck them out promptly). Pluck. Pluck.

But the age of maturity, with its crows-feet, wayward chin hairs, etc… are the signatures of sage wisdom, fullness of experience, and expanded comprehension of every stage of life prior to my present one. Though outwardly only superficial transitions, nevertheless they prove, that I am no longer a raw recruit of anything – physical distresses, emotional anguish, or even philosophical questioning.

There’s no denying it. Life is wisdom. And so, assuming this is true, that would be me. Big wisdom that cannot be denied. With my chin hairs, crows-feet, graying hair, and age spots – I am there.

Yes, There I am. At the place of knowing. Big faux academia – you betcha’! [Accreditation - Roberta Smith, ELD, SR]

I know this is true because this week I was asked the same question, by not one, but two individuals. The question being as their eyes focused on my gray hair, crows-feet, age-spots, and ultimately on the 4” coarse looping hair on my chin –

“As you look back on all the years of your life, what do you most regret?”

The question startles me. But why, when the truth is, since retirement I’ve pondered the question of regrets more than I ever wished to? But still, in all that pondering, I made deductions without words. And now I am compelled to give voice to these deductions.

My response comes from someplace external. Some place outside my own mind. I know that because it is so surprising, even to me.

Unwittingly, it must have come from the muse that sits on my shoulder and prompts me to tell so many of the imaginary and fantastic tales I oft tell you on this blog. The same muse that often playfully tugs at my keyboard fingers when I am writing and leaves me bloody downright surprised at the thoughts that spill onto the page.

And so, my muse gives me a friendly little shoulder nudge and I hear myself saying, ‘I regret most those situations where I did not do the best I could.’
I love my muse. And believe me, I am not trying to be self-righteous here, but that bit of muse-wisdom smartly trims my list of regrets down to next to nothing.

Wonder how old muse is?


Pauline said...

An interesting post, Roberta. If regret serves to spur one on to better behavior then it is useful, I suppose. I always try to move regret along into resolve as regret is a melancholy companion. Is your muse also you conscience? Suddenly my shoulders are feeling quite crowded!

Roberta S said...

pauline, thank you for the comment. You are right. In my youth when I was oh so competitive, and took life so seriously, 'regrets' were a melancholy companion . But I don't anymore. Now I chuckle about most everything.

I don't know if my muse is my conscience. I just know my muse is forever pressing me to sidestep practical considerations in favor of idealisms. And the thing about idealisms, is these are things that stir the heart. I like having my heart massaged and stirred -- gently, of course. Don't want any ripping or tearing going on.

I know you also have a muse. Shoulder-crowding is not your imagination. I read your poems (and my heart is massaged and stirred). You just can't write that kind of phenomenal stuff without a muse or two prompting you along.

Pauline said...

I agree - three cheers for idealism. It always gives us something to strive for, doesn't it? And like you, there are times when what I write startles me ("I wrote that? Gosh!")

I just read an interesting bit penned by Neale Donald Walsch and want to share it with you-

"...there is a difference between being 'right'
and being 'accurate.' Accuracy can be very helpful, and therefore welcome. Righteousness rarely is either."

I find you always come down on the side of accuracy and it's refreshing.

Dick said...

I'm beginning to find that idealism - or maybe more passion for truth - in age is the purer and more potent for being the right side of experience. This is no bad place we're in now. So sod the crow's feet and facial hair - there's an energy and focus to your writing, Roberta, that indicate that heart and soul are on full charge. Profites-en while you may!

joared said...

Think of the time you're saving for conferring with your muse if you dispense with all but the bare minimum of age-disguising activities such as covering those skin age spots. Devote your time only to those most important tasks such as pulling unwanted chin hairs. What, no mustache hairs?

Who needs to be right all the time when all that's necessary is just to do your best? Do you regret you didn't write this sooner?

Roberta S said...

pauline, thank you for that added comment. Much appreciated and well worth pondering.

Roberta S said...

Thank you, dick (with a humble bow/curtsy) :)

Roberta S said...

Hi joared. Thanks for visiting. OMG - did you have to go there? Yes, I do have a few mustache hairs.

...more time needed for plucking. :)

WheelDancer said...

As long as you keep putting out these pearls of wisdom for our plucking, it's all good. In the age of the internet where any fool can blather on, your muse offers the perfect blend of seasoned thinking and wit to top off my morning coffee.



Roberta S said...

mark (wheeldancer), I am totally honored by this supportive comment. Thank you.

shara said...

I very much enjoy reading your writing, the way it flows so much like conversation. my grey/black hair, age spots & whiskery chin hairs agree. (or they would, if they were inclined to speak.)

Roberta S said...

hi shara. Thank you for reading and thank you for that kind comment.

brad4d said...

Pauline? who said that quote between accurate and right? what a great suggestion, to credit our muse . .
the source of self-actualization being accurately passed on . . individualized . . maturely . .

Roberta S said...

I hope Pauline finds this comment and reads it, brad4d. It's a lovely quote that I really like, and I think you do too.