Ding Ding Ding! Survey says – America might have a civility deficit. Duh. It appears rudeness, and incivility have become as contagious as the annoying common cold — and just as hard to cure. Aggressive language, insults, demeaning words flow like waterfalls from mouths of people from political leadership to the neighbor down the road. What could go wrong?!
We live in a hurry up world. From road rage on the morning commute to high decibel restaurant cell phone conversations, behaving badly has become a hallmark of a ‘new’ world. Self-absorbed communication and demands for instant gratification strain common courtesies to the breaking point. They say a fish rots from the head and this political climate brought a nasty stench. The rhetoric of this past election had no small part in the ever-growing, no-holds barred incivility. But, to be truthful, we all have a part in what has grown with abandon. And, as a Senator, who recently stated that we have ‘normalized’ bad behavior, said, “Enough!”.
Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength. Eric Hoffer
How did we get here? Do we have heftier passions than our ancestors? I doubt it. (Does Henry the VIII or the Inquisition ring a bell?) 2,000 years before us, there was still a heck of a lot of bad behavior. Is there more political division now? Monarchy or democracy, there have always been political divides but social media and TV ‘s in-your-face communication reaches audiences of previously unimagined proportions. Fake news, alternative facts, and blatant untruths roll by without impunity and nonchalant arrogance that do little to make us proud. Continue reading
Tragedy or comedy. Given a choice who wouldn’t pick the latter? But, we don’t always get to choose and when we get that big dose of suck, it can sometimes be impossible to even manage a smile. Yet, so many who have little reason to be amused, show us light every day. “Life would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny” said Stephen Hawking, a genius trapped in a wheel chair forever. Now, if he can find humor in what we would readily describe as a really dismal poker hand, we have every reason to create our own smiley face.
“ From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Dr. Suess.
People with the best senses of humor are life’s pied pipers. They are the ones who help us recognize and cope with life’s absurdities. Humor can be just what the doctor ordered, especially when the diagnosis is something we want to mark return to sender. A good laugh recharges your batteries. A sense of humor can improve your immune system, lower stress hormones, relax muscles and lower blood pressure. (Note to self: Remember that a good joke helps the brain on days when I walk upstairs three times before I remembering what I went there for.) Who knew humor did such a heavy lift?
“The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.” Mark Twain
There are many things that are funny; but these days, even when grief doesn’t make a personal call, there are many very unfunny things that fill our world, too. In fact, a whole lot is downright scary. These are times we need a little humor, or a lot, but when we are smack in the middle of the scary, a smile is mile away. Even when the problems of the world take a day off, the negative noise from the Beltway, can snuff out the fragile sprouts of humor. Continue reading
“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” Anon
Okay, maybe the title overstates it a wee bit, but let me ask a question. When you hear a song from the past, does it take you down memory lane? Can you picture exactly where you were or what you were doing when you first heard it? I thought so. That’s why, whether you rewind or forward, whether a song is happy or sad, music is the soundtrack of life. And life is what I need to focus on this week.
This weekend marks the 2nd anniversary of my music man’s death, and it would be all too easy to sing the blues. But knowing how adamant he was about not dwelling on the past or the negative, I’ll try to change the tune — without rewriting the song.
I can still hear my high school friend, Patty, and I loudly singing “He’s so fine, wish he was mine . . . doo lang, doo lang, doo lang” for whichever awkward heartthrob we pined for at the moment. My single days saw me rocking with gusto and gal pals to my fave, Don Henley’s song “All She wants to do is Dance”. Through the years there were many “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and though I wasn’t “Desperado” to jump into marriage again, someone snuck in who loved music as much as I do. And though I was more the lyrics fanatic, and he was more the singer of them, we both had music in the blood and we blissfully sung our hearts out. Maybe that’s why we never saw the train coming, but that was just as well. From opening night on, our bittersweet musical needed all the harmony we could muster.
“Once there was a time, like no other time before, hope was still an open door” Jekyll & Hyde
Hearing music in everything is what helps get you through all the times of your life, no matter how the rhythm changes. It can calm anxiety, help lull you to sleep, express feelings and fuel creativity. Like music, life is a series of high and low notes and it needs both to be complete. Song reflects the times of your life and give them context. The songs that have touched me most, the music that made me dance, cry and sing, they are the playlist of my life.
Didn’t we come together, didn’t we live together
Didn’t we cry together
Didn’t we play together, didn’t we love together
And together we lit up the world
Now and Forever – Carole King
I’m not old, at least, that’s what I tell myself. The number on my driver’s license would have a snarky response, as well as the fact that I can’t clean both floors of the house in one morning flat anymore, would say different. And with another age showing up uninvited this weekend, I’d better make up the guest room because it’ll take up residence.
“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” Charles Schulz foretold. In fact, some years those age numbers seem to actually burn rubber! Reminiscing with one of my Cub Scout grand boys, I told the tale of another scout and his Pinewood Derby adventure. Smart aleck mom that I was those years ago, I stuffed a fishing weight into the belly of my son’s little wooden hot rod before he sanded the heck out of the wood putty that covered it. Since there were no strict rules at the time, we were pretty free to think out of the box and did. Mixing creativity with built-in speed, he won the Derby handily that year. Made sense but doesn’t explain the acceleration that now propels birthdays so swiftly around the track. I’d say it was the junk in my trunk but oddly, the J-Lo butt has sailed and age-related gravity lightened that load. The only ballast left is the iPhone in my back pocket.
Gone are the Dixie cup ice cream and pin-the-tail games of kidlet birthday fetes. With life flashing before your eyes at an amazing rate, I’m darn lucky just to grab a brownie before the supply runs out. Watching my life replay at warp speed, gulp, it’s equal parts thriller, romantic comedy, chick flick, and tear jerker. I suspect it’s a lot like yours, give or take some emotional special effects. Whether or not I love everything that flashes on that big screen in my head, it all happened and it all made me who I am today, whoever that may be. But no matter how anyone would rate my life’s movie reel, it is entertaining, though not always in a good way.
“Some day, we will all die, Snoopy,” said Charlie Brown.
Snoopy answered, “True. But on all the other days, we will not.”
I’d like to say ‘I’m not getting older; I’m getting better’ but I’d have to ask — at what? If the answer is perception, sensitivity, awareness, I’ll take it. After all, if the best years of a woman’s life are the 10 years between 39 and 40, I’m way past my expiration date anyway. I need to hold on to all the good stuff about this age and the numbers to come. Continue reading