You shall begin it serenely
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks feeling like a total dick, if you must know, and guilt does not at all inspire me to leap into your lap with a bouquet of wistful observations.
One effect of this pixular silence, however, is that I’ve taken the chance to spend several hours plodding through my archives fixing links that were broken during the move and skimming through the last nine years of my online life. I used to write a pretty good post once in awhile, so the journey was both heartening and discouraging, in the sense that I haven’t really delivered too much lately. (Well, yeah, except for my portion of a 250+ page manuscript, okay, I guess that might take some of the oomph out of a gal.) Does anyone remember the original tagline for this site? “A place to think about your sins.” I am nothing if not susceptible to overthinking. I used to blame it on my Catholic upbringing, but now I think I’m just blessed with a certain type of human nature that swings toward guilt.
My husband Jack, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal. Somewhere I have an old Polaroid of him in that I took in my kitchen when we were first dating, and when it dried I took a Sharpie and in the white space below the photo I wrote what he would go on to repeat to me many times over the years: “Guilt is for suckers.” It was kind of a shocking philosophy for me at the time, but believe me, you can learn a lot a guy who knows how to let go of his mistakes and move on.
Last week my brother Tim and his family came out to visit, and I let Jackson have a couple of days off of school, so (one) we could all fit ourselves into my brother’s rental car and drive down through L.A. morning traffic to Knott’s Berry Farm in a surprisingly nimble fashion, and (two) so we could recover from (one).
I had a bad feeling about the trip, so I don’t know if it was a case of self-fulfilling prophecy or uncanny intuition, but just thinking about it now, eight days later, makes me want to put my head on my desk, or any cool, forgiving surface that would melt away the nausea and fatigue from a day spent tromping around a hot amusement* park. I was feeling a little hormonal and carsick to begin with, and within the first hour of our drive I learned an important lesson: the first step to beating carsickness is acceptance. Just roll down the window, hang your head out like a dog, and believe with all your heart that if you just went ahead and barfed up your banana, everyone would understand.
* If ever a word needed scare quotes.
The second thing I learned is that it’s okay not to complain. It’s okay to suck it up and let everybody else have a wonderful time. Eventually you may find a shady piece of cement to sit down on where you can meditate on all the people in the world who feel ill and overheated and who won’t receive any breaks at all today. You can remind yourself that you’ve slept sitting bolt upright many times before and in worse situations**, and forty-five minutes later, when your child and his teenage cousins emerge from the Perilous Plunge you will emerge from the cool shade feeling almost somewhat refreshed.
** Did I tell you about the time I slept in my car because of bears?
And when everyone’s feeling particularly wrung out and jolly, you may also get to ride shotgun on the drive home.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (a member of Jack’s tribe, no doubt)
(If you watch that video to the end, you’ll see my son float by. He’ll be in the next-to-last row,
screaming processing the experience.)